Overseas travel in early 2021 ‘challenging, not impossible,’ says Tourism Minister

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Federal Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, says it’s not impossible that international travel could be back on the cards next year, but to do it in the first half of 2021 would be challenging.

Such travel will depend on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

“Then of course the manufacturing rollout, distribution, uptake, all the other factors that come into how it is that a vaccine could change the way we look at things around this pandemic,” Senator Birmingham told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“It’s not impossible… I think the first half may be challenging.”

READ MORE: Travel to Europe unlikely until 2022 but experts say low chance of catching COVID-19 on flights.

This statement was supported by Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, on Channel Nine’s Today show this morning, where he said international travel could be back on the cards as early as June.

“Our base plan is that we will probably get a significant amount of the international operation up in the next financial year, which is between July and June,” Mr Joyce said on the program.

“We always were assuming 50 percent of it. It is dependent on the vaccine but the news on the vaccine is looking really, really positive.”

READ MORE: Greece sees 99% drop in travel revenue during April lockdown.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, says international travel could be back on the cards as early as June. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett.

The plans come as 17 flights are scheduled between Melbourne and Sydney today after NSW reopened its border to Victoria following a four-month closure.

“This was the second largest route in the world before COVID-19,” Joyce said. “Today, people who haven’t worked since March are going to be on an aircraft for the first time. This is really good for news for them.”

“We’re hoping that we get better news with the Queensland border at the end of this month and the Western Australian border as soon as possible, so we can get even more of those people back to work.”

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