The Federal Government Now Reckons All International Travel Might Be Off Until 2021

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has, would you believe, encouraged Australians to start planning new domestic holidays despite there being no definitive end to the coronavirus lockdowns in sight.

Senator Birmingham appeared on ABC News Breakfast this morning and relayed the message, hinting that international borders will remain closed for quite some time, possibly until well into 2021.

Despite that, Birmingham suggested now was the time for Australians to start daydreaming and planning for a domestic holiday within the country, even though movement restrictions around the country have no set end date, unnecessary travel is currently subject to massive police fines, and state borders are to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Birmingham stated that while “this is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for some time to come,” nonetheless “there may be a slightly earlier point in time where it becomes feasible to think about domestic travel again. We’re not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, planning, thinking about the Aussie break that you might take when we finally get to the other side of this.”

The Tourism Minister also stated that anyone who, for argument’s sake, has an overseas trip booked for December this year may want to reconsider those plans.

If all that wasn’t confusing enough as is, Birmingham firmly stated that it would be an “unlikely step” for the Government to subsidise domestic flights on Qantas and Virgin in a bid to stimulate domestic tourism once movement restrictions are limited. That comment came less than an hour after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack appeared on the same show and stated firmly, on the record, that he spent this past weekend speaking directly to Qantas and Virgin about doing exactly that.

What a world.

For what it’s worth, Birmingham’s destination suggestions for this speculative, dateless, pie-in-the-sky travel planning includes areas affected by previous drought and bushfire catastrophes.

So at least there’s one good idea in amongst all this.