A new timetable released by Australian Chamber Of Commerce’s Tourism Restart Taskforce is calling for Aussies to be allowed to travel to New Zealand and the Pacific as early as July.
The taskforce meets with the government once a week to discuss reopening the tourism industry. On Wednesday, it submitted a proposal to the ACT government for a “proof of concept” flight between Canberra and Wellington scheduled for July 1.
Travel to the Pacific is also included in that timeline, with international travel to “safe” countries scheduled for September.
However, these dates are “aspirational”, and not anywhere near set in stone – despite several media reports to the contrary.
“The aspiration for the domestic and the NZ Bubble restart is in July – which, like any of the industry timelines, is dependent on health advice and Government restrictions allowing it to happen – these have not been granted,” John Hart, Chair of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“Tourism is a large employer and we need to ensure that the restart process works to an ambitious timetable to ensure that the maximum number of Australian can be reengaged in tourism jobs.”
The general timetable had already been approved by Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham at their last meeting on May 22.
Planes don’t usually fly directly between the two capitals, but Hart said airlines would need to change their routes to based on what destinations are safe to fly to.
Thankfully, Aussies and Kiwis won’t have to quarantine for 14 days, if all goes to plan. So weekends away are not out of the question.
The timetable released by the taskforce lists a bunch of different tourist activities, such as dining, visiting attractions, domestic flights and international flights, based on whether they’re in “hibernation”, ready for “immediate restart” or due for a “medium/long-term recovery”.
International travel to “safe countries” beyond the Pacific bubble likely won’t restart until around September, the timetable said.
Meanwhile, international to all other countries will likely restart very gradually closer to December.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters on Wednesday that she’s also keen to restart flights between the two countries.
“We are working to move on this as quickly as we can,” she said.
“We are both very keen on it … across both sides of the ditch.”
However, no airline has put its hand up for the first flight to New Zealand just yet. So regardless of what the timetable says, we’ll still have to wait and see.