SYDNEY – Australians are being told not to reach for their passports just yet – maybe not for quite some while.
That’s bad news for Bali – a favourite holiday destination for Australians and an island which has seen its tourism business collapse due to travel restrictions brought on by the coronavirus crackdown.
Australia’s tourism minister Simon Birmingham told ABC's News Breakfast, “I wouldn't put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December.
“This is a time where, unfortunately, people can't undertake holidays and they won't be able to go overseas for quite some time to come.”
Instead of Bali or Phuket, the minister has urged Australians to start “dreaming” about their perfect domestic getaway.
“We're not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, a bit of planning,” the minister said.
So, it’s likely to be Byron Bay instead of Bali and Perth instead of Phuket for Australians this year – and that’s assuming the domestic airlines have returned to near-normal schedules.
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have stood down thousands of workers and slashed services across the country.
Inbound travel into Australia has also been hard hit. International visitor numbers to Australia slumped by 26% year-on-year through February as the coronavirus pandemic started to spread around the world.