Australia's borders unlikely to reopen before 2021

The country has said it is unlikely to welcome tourists before the end of this year

TOPSHOT - Sunset hues fall on the landmark Sydney Opera House as it is seen in a reflection from Circular Quay, usually packed with tourists, in Sydney on June 16, 2020. / AFP / Saeed KHAN
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As a number of countries around the world begin preparations to welcome tourists once more, Australia’s tourism minister has said it is likely the country’s borders will remain closed until 2021.

Simon Birmingham said that shutting the borders had been a large factor in the success of Australia's handling of the Covid-19 crisis, and confirmed the country would not be reopening any time soon, according to ABC.

“I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off. Just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first,” Birmingham told the National Press Club.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 17: Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham delivers his address to the National Press Club on June 17, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

When asked if he thought that Australia’s borders would remain closed until 2021, he said: “I think that is more likely the case".

However, there is a proposed exception which could allow quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand, but that is yet to be confirmed.

At the time of writing, Australia has seen 7,391 cases of Covid-19, and 102 deaths.

It follows the lead of South Africa’s department of tourism which also predicted that its borders would remain closed to international tourists until at least 2021, however, the country’s tourism industry has hit back encouraging the government to look at September as a potential reopening date.

It looks as though the UAE will be ready to welcome tourists back in 2020, however, with Emirates releasing a video this week showing how the airline and Dubai was preparing for the return of visitors.

"We've been waiting, dreaming, looking forward to when we meet again. We've also been preparing, getting ready, knowing the time to see each other comes closer with every rising sun," the Dubai airline says in the video.

"We promised to welcome you with open doors, to make your journey extraordinary and your wellbeing, our priority. We said we needed a moment and it will only be a moment more. Dubai, Daarna, home."