Welcome back, Canada: More updates from Australia as reopening looms

Welcome back, Canada: More updates from Australia as reopening looms

TORONTO — Australia can’t wait to welcome back Canadians.

In a statement following yesterday’s news that Australia plans to reopen to fully vaccinated international travellers starting Feb. 21, 2022, quarantine-free, Tourism Australia’s Managing Director Phillipa Harrison sent out a message specifically to the Canadian market.

“The announcement … enabling fully vaccinated travellers from Canada to Australia quarantine-free from 21 February is a significant step in rebuilding international visitation from Australia’s international tourism markets across the globe,” Harrison said.

“Australia has long been a popular outbound destination for Canadian travellers, with 190,000 visitors travelling to our country in 2019 pre-COVID, and we are really excited that we will have the opportunity to welcome back visitors from Canada, one of our key international markets, as travel resumes,” she added.

“NOW IS THE TIME TO THINK BIG”

While Australia has had a truly unprecedented border lockdown for close to two years, the destination has worked hard to stay in touch with the trade. In a December 2021 interview with Travelweek’s deputy editor Cindy Sosroutomo, Tourism Australia’s Chris Allison, Acting General Manager of North America, talked about his optimism for 2022.

Now, with the news about Australia’s February 2022 reopening to international tourism, Allison hopes Canadians will make the most of the new quarantine-free travel opportunities.

“There is no doubt the last two years have been incredibly challenging, and many people had to put off taking holidays as a result,” said Allison yesterday. “However, with travel back in the cards, now is the time to think big.”

Allison adds that Australia is one of the top aspirational travel destinations for Canadians, who spent almost $900 million on their travels to the country in 2019. Australia also enjoys more than 50% repeat visitation from the Canadian market – and 46% of those have visited more than twice.

“Australia’s relative isolation from the rest of the world, coupled with its sparsely populated land and natural wonders, have never been more precious and desirable, and now with two-way quarantine-free travel, Canadians will jump on the opportunity to fall in love with Australia all over again now,” says Allison.

He says Tourism Australia will be working with its trade and distribution partners on dedicated marketing campaigns “urging Canadian travellers to visit one of the most unique destinations on the planet with its diversity of people, places and experiences.”

A new tourism campaign welcoming Canadians back to Australia will launch in the coming weeks. Allison says Tourism Australia will be working with a range of key distribution and airline partners to drive booking and drive recovery for Australia’s hard-hit tourism economy by providing tactical offers aimed at stimulating travel to Australia from Canada.

TOUR OPERATORS CHEER

Goway is cheering the news of Australia’s reopening, as reported yesterday at Travelweek.ca. “Today brings exciting and welcomed news with the announced reopening of the Australian border to international Globetrotters,” says Bruce Hodge, Goway’s Founder and President. “Downunder has always been and remains central to our worldwide offering of travel ideas and one of our most popular destination choices for our Globetrotting family of travellers.”

More than 300 ideas for travel Downunder can be found at Goway.com.

Goway has also posted a fun and informative 3-minute video – a Goway ‘Travel Service Advisory’ video – hosted by Don Forster. In the video Forster shares the news of Australia’s reopening along with important and helpful information about timelines for required rapid antigen tests and PCR tests.

Intrepid is also heralding the reopening news with expanded Australia offerings, with a focus on First Nations Experiences.

Intrepid says it has deepened its commitment to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with more than half of trips featuring First Nations experiences. The new tours also include more active and wellness itineraries, as well as trips that highlight local food and wine.

“It’s wonderful news that Australia will be reopening its borders to vaccinated travellers from February 21. Our new trips delve deeper into Australia and its diverse cultures, histories, landscapes, food, wine and more,” says Zina Bencheikh, managing director EMEA, Intrepid Travel.

“Australia is home to the oldest continuing culture in the world. Our First Nations experiences give visitors an amazing opportunity to learn about cultural traditions that have been passed down through the generations for thousands of years.”

NEED-TO-KNOWS FOR AUSTRALIA-BOUND CLIENTS

  • Effective Feb. 21, 2022, visa holders who are fully vaccinated with two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine can travel to Australia quarantine-free, without the need to apply for a travel exemption. Travellers must present proof of vaccination status. An Australia ETA visa is required for Canadians heading to Australia.
  • While Australia is reopening, each state has different COVID-19 travel rules. Western Australia, for example, currently will allow only 265 international arrivals a week and requires a 14-day quarantine period.
  • Arriving travellers to Australia must present a negative rapid antigen test or PCR test taken within 24 hours of departure (unless a medical exemption applies).
  • For requirements for travel into specific states and territories in Australia, visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website | State and Territory Information.

MARKET PROFILE: QUICK FACTS

  • Pre-pandemic, Canada was Australia’s 14th largest source market for international visitation and 13th most valuable for spend.
  • 190,000 Canadian travellers visited Australia in 2019. The majority, 145,000, were visiting for leisure purposes. Some 44% came for a holiday and 37% were VFR.
  • 50% of leisure travellers from Canada are repeat visitors to Australia, of which 46% had previously visited the country more than twice.