Australia to Drop Pre-departure Testing for International Arrivals

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Australia has become the latest country to drop pre-arrival testing for vaccinated international tourists.

Just three weeks after Australia fully lifted its travel ban on vaccinated overseas visitors, the government has announced it will scrap its pre-departure testing requirement next month.

Greg Hunt, Australia’s health minister, said that when the country’s emergency COVID-19 restrictions lapse on April 17, they will not be renewed.

On February 21, Australia opened its borders to international travellers, provided all fully vaccinated arrivals show a negative COVID rapid antigen test within 24 hours of boarding their flight, or a PCR test within 72 hours before departure.

Under the updated policy, travellers will only need to show proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination. However mask mandates will remain in effect on both domestic and international flights.

According to Minister Hunt, because “the vaccination requirements and the masking requirements remain, the medical advice is that [the test is] no longer required.”

Unvaccinated travellers will need to continue to apply for travel exemptions.

Restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels into and within Australia – imposed more than two years ago on March 15 2020–will also end on April 17. Following that announcement, Royal Caribbean announced several Australian cruises for 2023 and 2024 sailing out of Brisbane and Sydney.

Australia has become the latest country to drop pre-arrival testing for international tourists, joining popular tourist hotspots like South Africa, Canada, the Netherlands, and India. Others have gone even further and eliminated COVID-19-related border protocols completely, including Iceland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

In the year to the end of January 2022, international tourism to Australia was down 97 per cent compared with 2019.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Australia welcomed 9.4 million international visitors annually, with tourism providing one in 20 jobs. Get inspired to visit Australia by checking out what to see and do in Australia’s capital city of Sydney.

Andrew Taylor

For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.

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