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Australia to open borders to tourists

The Australian borders will reopen to vaccinated tourists and other visa holders for the first time in almost two years.

“If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The reopening, on 21 February, will be welcome news for many sectors including international education.

Australia has had some of the world’s strictest border controls throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

In March 2020, the government closed the borders. It barred most foreigners from entering the country and put caps on total arrivals to help combat Covid.

Some international students and skilled migrants have been permitted to enter the country since last December.

On Monday, Mr Morrison said those entering Australia when the borders fully reopened would need to provide proof of vaccination: “That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it,” he said.

Unvaccinated travellers who have a medical reason for not being jabbed will still need to apply for a travel exemption and, if successful, will be required to quarantine at a hotel.

After nearly two years of closed borders and a lack of tourist dollars, this announcement is certainly welcome news. But don’t expect full planes just yet.

There are still a lot of unknowns and cautious travelers.

Now is the time to prepare, so get your house in order and ensure you can provide these international guests with the best possible experience possible. You need to invest in technology to ensure you not only free up your tasks from the mundane but to create and drive a fantastic guest experience.

The reality is that your reviews are stale. After all, you haven’t had many reviews for nearly two years. We know through research that guests book their accommodation based on other people’s experiences. Unfortunately, many international guests have not had the same level of restrictions in terms of travel, and therefore many do not understand the lack of reviews. On a plus, though, everyone is in the same boat.

So this is your opportunity to drive reviews, drive booking and drive growth. Seize the opportunity, it is unlikely to occur again in our lifetimes, or at least we are all secretly hoping that.

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