Australians keen to head overseas after getting the COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait another three years, according to a new report from economists.

Deloitte Access Economics' quarterly business outlook report has warned international travel for Australians is not likely to open up widely until 2024.

Deloitte economist Chris Richardson concluded hotel quarantine will remain for incoming travellers to Australia for some period of time.

"That keeps international travel - both inbound and outbound - pretty weak in 2022, and it may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024," he said.

The report, which was published before the vaccine rollout was delayed by new recommendations that the AstraZeneca vaccine not be given to people under 50 due to the risk of blood clotting has also affected Australians' ability to travel overseas again.

While Australia has created a quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand, COVID cases can and are expected to force authorities to either pause or suspend travel across the ditch, depending on where future COVID outbreaks occur.

The bubble is set to open on April 18 at 11.59am with New Zealand Airlines and Qantas selling flights to and from the two nations.

Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

Tourism New Zealand Interim Chief Executive René de Monchy said the border opening supports the recovery of New Zealand's international tourism industry and is valuable for both nations.

"We aren't expecting Australian visitor numbers to return to previous levels for some time, and expect the first to travel will be those reconnecting with family and friends," he said.

Prior to COVID-19, Australians made up almost 40 per cent of international arrivals to New Zealand and contributed around 24 per cent or $2.7 billion of New Zealand's annual international visitor spend.

Accommodation Association CEO Dean Long the opening of the trans-Tasman corridor is a very welcome step in the right direction but the reality is while it's good news for the travel sector, there's very little immediate benefit for our tourism sector or our hotels and motels.

"With the end of JobKeeper and given the massive holes in the market especially in Australia's international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne, the flow on benefits for our hotels and motels, and the many small businesses who supply them is negligible," he said.

"There's no doubt it will be a big kick along for consumer confidence but it doesn't erase the need for tailored support for our accommodation sector. The reality is it's great news for our travel sector but not so good for tourism."

Mr Richardson also said governments around the world are doing everything they can to get their populations vaccinated.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dumped Australia's vaccine targets, saying there is no way to know when every Australian will be vaccinated.

The government had been previously working towards an October 31 deadline to complete the national rollout.

"The government has also not set, nor has any plans to set, any new targets for completing first doses," he said on Facebook.

"While we would like to see these doses completed before the end of the year, it is not possible to set such targets given the many uncertainties involved.

"We will just get on with the job of working together to produce, distribute and administer the vaccines as safely and efficiently as possible."

 

 

The delays on international travel come also come after Department of Health Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy recently said he was hopeful international travel would occur from 2022.

But now Dr Murphy has said he is doing everything possibly secure more doses of the Pfizer vaccine to get the nation vaccinated as fast as possible.

The government secured an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer jab last Friday after medical experts from ATAGI advised the government of the links between rare blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The decision forced the government to issue a last night statement that the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to those over 50.

 

Originally published as When Aussies may travel overseas again



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