The European Union has officially opened its doors to non-essential Australian travelers. But that doesn’t mean Aussies will be traveling to Europe any time soon. As the government’s “Smart Traveller” website clearly states:

“All overseas travel from Australia is currently banned, with few exceptions.”

So it doesn’t matter that Europe is once again welcoming Aussie tourists. Their government is not prepared to let them go. That is, unless they are granted an exemption, which is pretty tough to get.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, exemptions are given to individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria:

—travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid 

—travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)

—travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia

—travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business

—travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 

—travel is in the national interest

I don’t think going to visit the Parthenon or the Colosseum qualifies. So how much longer until Aussies are able to satisfy their burgeoning wanderlust?

Right now it’s not looking good. The other day Prime Minister Morrison was asked whether he thought international travel would be opened back up before next summer (that’s the summer of 2021). His answer was not one that most globetrotters probably wanted to hear.

“We hope that we might be able to come to an arrangement with New Zealand earlier than that,” he said. “Whether we can do that with other Pacific nations, I know there’s interest from that perspective as well. And a number of other countries have expressed an interest, given our success [containing the coronavirus] in Australia … that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would be invitations we would take up.”

“But no one really knows,” he continued, “and that’s the problem. And that’s just the uncertainty we have to deal with.”

So, it looks like Aussies will have to limit their travel to domestic trips or (hopefully) New Zealand for the foreseeable future (if you’re short on cash, maybe you can hitch a ride on an Equipment Hunt prime mover). On the bright side, it sounds like a vaccine will almost certainly be available before the summer of 2021.

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