Australia welcomes first international tourists in almost two years

A total of 56 international flights are arriving in Australia today (February 21) as the country opens its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from overseas for the first time in almost two years.

Sydney airport is the destination for 27 of those flights, from countries such as the UK, US, Canada, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Japan.

The Qantas Group will fly more than 14,000 passengers into Australia this week as quarantine and border barriers for international tourists come down.

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group chief executive, said bookings had been strong since the Australian government announced the country was opening to international visitors.

“The thousands of international tourists arriving this week and many more over the coming months will help kickstart the tourism industry which has done it tough for the past couple of years,” he said.

“People are very keen to come back to Australia, and we continue to see strong bookings out of the US and UK, as well as South Africa and Canada.”

Travellers can enter all states except Western Australia, which remains closed until March 3.

Australian tourism minister Dan Tehan said the return of double vaccinated international visitors will reinvigorate Australia’s tourism sector which supports 660,000 jobs.

To celebrate the return of overseas tourists, Australia rolled out the welcome mat, with special events planned at Sydney airport.

The first visitors in Sydney were greeted with gifts of Vegemite and toy koalas and kangaroos, and a DJ playing Australia’s favourite tunes.

The minister added: “International tourists will come here to see our iconic attractions, sample our world-leading food and drink, learn about our Indigenous culture, and enjoy the Australian way of life.”

Tourism Australia has launched a international marketing campaign to coincide with the reopening of international borders.

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