After nearly two years of enforcing some of the strictest coronavirus lockdown measures anywhere in the world, Australia reopened its international borders to vaccinated travelers this week, hoping to revive a tourism and hospitality industry that was essentially suffocated by the pandemic. With over 50 international flights scheduled to land yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated well over one million people had visas to enter Australia within the first 24 hours of the border’s reopening. Australia’s reputation for extreme suppression and rigidity during the pandemic, as well as ongoing strict vaccine and testing requirements and mask mandates still in place, leave some tourism operators and travelers wondering how quickly the country’s tourism industry can be resuscitated. Tourism Australia’s managing director Phillipa Harrison indicated she expected tourist numbers could take two full years to reach pre-pandemic numbers.
The state of Western Australia, sparsely populated but representing a full third of Australia’s vast land mass (and the venue for this month’s Travel Video share), will not reopen until next week on March 3. This state, already devoid of evidence of human habitation for the most part, essentially shut down to international travelers and even vaccinated Australian citizens during most of the pandemic. We last visited Western Austraila, home to more than 7,000 miles of rugged coastline and the famed Kimberly region’s dramatic sandstone gorges and limestone cliffs, over three years ago when we shared photographer Dan Proud’s beautiful film called The Kimberley, Australia (click here). Mr. Proud, a native of Queensland, Australia himself, is at it again in the Kimberley region in this month’s Travel Video share entitled Uncharted. The name is apropos for one of the world’s last largely unexplored wilderness frontiers. In Mr. Proud’s words: “I’m drawn to this place where you’ll see no trace of modern man. A place still full of mystery and national treasure, of ancient landmarks and undiscovered beauty. This is uncharted country. This is Kimberley, Australia.”
We’re pleased to welcome Australia back to the world of international travel and tourism. Please enjoy!
The Avant Team