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Another week of doom and gloom for tourism in Australia

January 13, 2021 Aviation, Headline News No Comments

The bad news rolls on in Australia – the week ending today (Friday, January 8) with Queensland announcing a three-day lockdown in greater Brisbane to stop the spread of a mutant COVID strain.

January 2:  Victoria records 10 new local COVID-19 cases as Victorian health authorities battle to contain a cluster “directly linked” to the outbreak in New South Wales. NSW records seven local coronavirus cases as the state works to get on top of a growing cluster linked to a Melbourne restaurant. Victoria closes its border to NSW.

January 3: NSW makes masks in indoor settings mandatory.

January 4:  Thousands of Australians including many employed in the tourism industry face a pay cut of up to $100 per week as employee wage subsidy JobKeeper is wound back.  Qantas astonishes the industry by announcing it has reopened bookings across its entire overseas network from July 1, 2021. This includes flights to the US and London, having previously pulled those flagship routes from the schedule until at least October 2021.

January 5: New South Wales looks to double testing numbers in a bid to keep its virus clusters contained and Victorian contact tracers issue fresh health alerts for locations in Melbourne’s south-east.

January 6:  Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says it will be the government that decides when international travel can resume; he noted the government is working on travel arrangements with countries that have low infection rates.

We have to do more to keep the highly infectious coronavirus strain currently sweeping across the UK away from Australia, according to a leading epidemiologist.

January 7: The Qantas move to open bookings for overseas flights in July is again questioned – however, the airline is simply trying to remain competitive and secure bookings, aviation experts say.

Victoria is unlikely to lift its hard border with New South Wales until at least the end of the month and cruise itineraries continue to be put on the back burner. P&O Cruises Australia says New Zealand cruises will hopefully now resume from mid-2022. The company had been planning to restart them in April this year.

Despite the decision by Qantas to open international bookings in July, experts say we are unlikely to be travelling to the US or UK this year.

Australian domestic cruise bookings are still scheduled for April 30 this year, the company added.

Aviation expert and chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions Neil Hansford says it is very unlikely anyone from Australia will be travelling to the US or UK this year. “You won’t get to the northern hemisphere until well into 2022.

“If anything opens this year it will be a New Zealand bubble, the Pacific Islands and possibly Japan and Korea and maybe Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam, which are handling the virus very well.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls for an urgent meeting of the national cabinet on 8 January to discuss how to prevent Britain’s new highly infectious coronavirus strain spreading to Australia. The national cabinet meeting is expected to discuss a proposal that anyone travelling from London is tested before getting on a plane to Australia, while epidemiologist Tony Blakely says testing of airline crews should be mandatory.

January 8: A Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner has tested positive to the mutated strain of COVID-19 from the UK which is 70 per cent more infectious.

A weekly update by Ian McIntosh

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