Australia is hoping to reopen its borders by this Christmas, the country's minister for trade, tourism and investments said on Wednesday (Sept. 22).
"I do empathize with the Australians who have been denied the opportunity to travel overseas this year," Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said at an event hosted by the National Press Club of Australia.
"It's another reason why everyone should get vaccinated and we have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up – at this rate by Christmas at the latest."
As reported by CNN, there are certain things that need to happen in order to get tourism up and running again in the Land Down Under.
One of Australia’s benchmarks for reopening is passing the 80 per cent national vaccination rate. As of Sept. 22, about 38 per cent of Australians had received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Australia's tourism board released a domestic tourism ad over the summer to encourage citizens to get their shots so the country could move on with normal life.
The "It's Our Best Shot for Travel" campaign launched domestically in Australia on Aug. 16 across various media platforms.
Proof of vaccination will be required for visiting Australia when the time comes to welcome back international visitors.
The country also plans to test a vaccination certification system with other countries, with Singapore, Japan and the United States already being on the list, CNN reports.
Australia’s borders have been mostly closed to non-citizens and non-residents since March 2020.
Tehan said the government is also exploring the idea of opening travel bubbles with some countries to reduce quarantine time and the hope is that home quarantine will be operational before Christmas.
"People will be able to freely travel outside Australia with no restrictions" under the plan, Tehan said.
But Australians would, of course, still be subject to the rules in the countries they visit.