Reopening to the world “a light at the end of the tunnel”

Cellar door and wine tourism operators are among Australian businesses rejoicing at the prospect that they will once again be welcoming international visitors to taste their wines as the international border re-opens to vaccinated international travellers on 21 February.

Australia’s reopening to the world signals the next critical step in the management of COVID-19 and positions the wine and tourism industries to supercharge our economic recovery, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“We welcome today’s announcement of the full reopening of Australia’s international borders to all vaccinated travellers, including tourists, business-related visitors, and other visa holders,” she said.

“This move brings to an end fortress Australia. This is the light at the end of the tunnel that small business, tourism operators and the events industry was desperate to see.

“The need is urgent – Australia’s visitor economy contributed over $60 billion to Australia’s GDP pre-COVID, and provided jobs for more than 1-in-20 Australian workers.

“Businesses in all states and territories have been devastated by the loss of tourism, including in regional areas. Some have had to shut their doors forever.

“This is welcome news for small business owners all over the country. However, as tourism operators kick start into gear in [places like] Launceston and the Barossa, those in Broome and the Margaret River are still facing indefinite and crippling uncertainty.

“In two weeks’ time it will be easier for a Londoner to visit the Great Barrier Reef than it will be for a Melburnian to travel to Perth. This is a blight on our international reputation and devastating to WA’s ability to attract both investment and talent.

“We strongly encourage WA to send a clear signal by setting a date to safely reopen and sticking to it.”


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