“We can’t live here in hermit kingdom”: NSW to ditch quarantine for international arrivals from 1 November

“We can’t live here in hermit kingdom”: NSW to ditch quarantine for international arrivals from 1 November

The NSW government has announced that fully-vaccinated international travellers will be welcomed into the state from 1 November, without having to quarantine in hotels or at home.

In announcing the major policy change at a press conference this morning, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state’s residents will “be travelling to Bali before Broome”, and that the NSW government will work closely with the Commonwealth “to ensure protections are in place so we keep people safe [as we] rejoin the world”.

“We can’t live here in hermit kingdom. So many businesses [here] rely on tourism for business and trade,” he said, according to ABC News.

Any travellers who aren’t fully vaxxed will still have to complete hotel quarantine; however, only 210 spots will be available each week, according to ABC News.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the reopening date of 1 November will allow airlines time to add extra flights to NSW.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic got serious in March last year, all states and territories have only let overseas passengers in if they complete a 14-day stint in hotel quarantine, paid for out of their own pockets.

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a home quarantine trial for eligible international arrivals last month, but Perrottet wasted no time looking for ways to fast-track it when he took over the state’s top job, and has now decided to scrap the hotel quarantine plan altogether.

The big policy change means that NSW is the only Aussie state to announce quarantine-free international travel, despite all of its interstate borders remaining closed.

Melissa Elf, general manager of travel management company FCM in Australia, said Sydney was the economy’s beating heart in Australia, and not having to quarantine on arrival would mean the world to businesses.

“Having to quarantine for any period of time when travelling from overseas for business has been a big obstacle for companies wanting to do deals with Australia, and I commend NSW for taking the lead on opening us to the world. Australia is open for business once again,” she said.

“Intrastate travel has been incredibly strong for businesses throughout the pandemic, especially in Queensland and Western Australia, but this announcement will give global business the confidence to fly into Sydney without the hindrance of any form of quarantine.”

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said the clock is ticking for the federal government to introduce rapid testing in aviation, following the NSW government’s latest reopening announcement.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said aviation workers were desperate to get back to work after 20 months of debilitating shutdowns and stand-downs, but every measure needed to be taken to keep the industry safe.

“After the worst year in the industry’s history, we all want to see international flights resume, but scrapping quarantine requirements without a plan to COVID-safe the industry isn’t learning to live with the virus; it’s reckless,” he said.

“Rapid testing must be rolled out industry-wide to reduce the risk of transmission and keep planes in the sky.

After over a year without work and with little support from the federal government, the last thing aviation workers need is for domestic transmission linked to international arrivals to shut the network down again.

“The Prime Minister must commit to government-funded rapid testing across the network immediately. We cannot see a repeat of the national vaccine rollout shambles where action was finally taken when it was too late. Scott Morrison needs to act on this today.”

At the same press conference, the NSW Premier announced that regional travel for Greater Sydneysiders won’t be permitted until 1 November, despite initially promising the ban to lift once the state hits the 80 per cent vaccination target (which is expected to be reached this weekend).

The date has been pushed back due to concerns by regional mayors over low vaccination rates in their respective areas.

Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW chief executive Michael Johnson said the delay of travel in and out of the regions until 1 November is extremely disappointing to accommodation hotels after months of sitting empty.

“Hotels across regional NSW have taken hundreds of bookings, hired new staff and bought stock based on an announcement the state would open up at 80 per cent double vaccinated,” he said.

“It is also a blow to CBD hotels who have been closed or operating at less than two per cent occupancy, with most staff stood down since June.

“Our members, many of whom have received little to no government support, need certainty. They cannot understand why they now have to cancel much-needed bookings from fully vaccinated guests at the last minute.”

Featured image source: YouTube/ABC News

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

    Latest comments
    1. About time at least one leader was willing to stand up to his convictions. We can’t “live with” covid but then expect travellers to quarantine when they arrive in our Country. We are either OPEN or we are NOT.

      Let’s see if Vic follows the NSW lead. If they do then it will only be a matter of time before all the other States are forced to follow suit or miss out on the international visitors

Dominic Perrottet home quarantine hotel quarantine international arrivals international travel Michael Johnson Michael Kaine nsw NSW Government NSW Premier quarantine tourism accommodation australia Transport Workers Union twu

Latest News

  • Attractions

Wackadoo! Bluey’s World is set to open in Brisbane

Wackadoo! The eagerly anticipated Bluey’s World is set to open in Brisbane, on 7 November, offering families an unforgettable Bluey adventure with tickets on sale from tomorrow. Bluey’s World is a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience that will take visitors into the Heeler’s iconic family home, backyard and beyond – for real life. Get ready to play […]

  • Destinations

Listening to whales, followed by Ales and Prawn Tails on the Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is preparing to welcome more than 40,000 humpback whales that are making their way up the Australian east coast on their annual migration. The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s premier whale tourism destinations, built on its long-established whale watching cruises and Sunreef’s pioneering Swim with Whales experience, which celebrates its 10th […]

  • Aviation
  • Travel Agents

Webjet relaunches partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale

Online travel agency Webjet has have relaunched their partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale, available until 2 June. To give customers a greater breadth of choice and price point, hundreds of new flight options to Aussie favourite destinations have been added, including Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok via AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Thai AirAsia […]

  • Luxury

Why luxury clients are opting for immersive experiences over material items

The Luxury Travel Collection’s (LTC) inaugural business owners Soiree took place on Hayman Island last week. The event saw luxury leaders gathering to find out more about the key trends shaping the industry. The Immersion Day, held on Thursday 16 May 2024, followed the growing luxury client trend of valuing immersive experiences over material items. […]

  • Conferences

Empowering underserved communities: Expedia Group’s drive for more inclusive travel

Expedia Group has used the EXPLORE conference at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas to highlight initiatives that empower underserved communities worldwide.   In a groundbreaking move towards fostering diversity and inclusion within the travel industry, Expedia’s Global Social Impact and Sustainability Team is dedicated to shaping a travel landscape that is safe, welcoming, and accessible […]

  • Cruise

P&O rescues Rotary volunteers after collapse of Air Vanuatu

P&O Cruises Australia has answered a plea for help from a group of young Australian Rotary volunteers, stranded in Vanuatu following the collapse of Air Vanuatu. The students, many of them teenagers from Albury, NSW, were volunteering for a youth project run by the Hive Rotary Club Australia when the airline abruptly cancelled all flights, […]

  • Destinations

Intrepid continues expansions with launch of first DMC in Jordan

Intrepid has increased its presence in the Middle East with the opening of its first destination management company in Jordan. Based in Amman, the local team will operate Intrepid’s range of nine experiential small group tours in Jordan from this summer, with a view to expanding the range for 2025 and beyond. Zina Bencheikh, managing […]

  • Appointments

Minor hotels appoints Puneet Dhawan to key Asia role

Global hotel owner and operator Minor Hotels has appointed Puneet Dhawan as head of Asia as the group plots its growth in Asia and India. From July, Dhawan will be responsible for the performance of all Minor Hotels properties in Asia, working in close collaboration with the Minor Hotels senior leadership team and will report […]

  • Appointments

Abercrombie & Kent and Crystal appoint Evon Ler to director of sales, Asia

Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group have announced that Evon Ler will join them in the new role of director of sales, Asia. She will work closely with Tony Archbold (VP, Sales, APAC, Crystal) and Susan Haberle (VP, Sales & Partnerships, APAC, A&K) with trade support across the region. Ler comes to the A&K family with more […]