Sydney & New South Wales Plan To Open To Tourists November 1, And Australia Is Freaking Out

Australia’s federal government controls who is admissible to the country. Each state within Australia controls its quarantine procedures, and also whether each state is open to travel from other states.

And an announcement by the Premier of New South Wales, Australia (where Sydney is located) has thrown the country into something of disarray.

New South Wales says,

  • They plan to fully re-open November 1
  • Both to Australians and tourists
  • With proof of full vaccination and a negative PCR test
  • And no quarantine will be required on arrival

Politicians in both the federal government and other state governments are losing their minds.

It follows earlier reports of ‘robust’ exchanges between the Prime Minister and the NSW Premier over Covid financial support, where he allegedly referred to Mr Perrottett as “a f***wt.”

There are also concerns that the NSW Premier is adopting a “let it rip” approach now that the state is nearly 80 per cent double vaccinated, with the target expected to be met this weekend.

But Mr Perrottet insisted he wanted the world to know the state was “open for business” and the days of living in a “hermit kingdom” were “over.”

Australia has had its borders mostly shut for a year and a half.

  • Residents could not leave the country, except to go to New Zealand for a period of time (and they were threatened with prosecution if they used New Zealand as a jumping off point to travel elsewhere).

  • Australians couldn’t return home to their country without first getting one of a limited number of slots for state quarantine. Thousands have been trapped abroad throughout the pandemic.

  • Even various state borders have been intermittently closed.

New South Wales cannot on its own admit tourists to the country, even when they arrive in Sydney. However allowing those who do enter the country to skip required quarantine may mean that other Australian states keep their borders closed to New South Wales residents.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Feel sorry for the provincial victims in Queensland, WA, SA, the Territory, Tassie and poor old Victoria ( Melbourne is the most locked down city in the world run by an Authoritarian dictator, unaccountable to anyone and a compulsive liar ) . NSW open for business and getting on with it. Not sure NSW residents really want to go to States anyway that are run by these radical Left-Wing Authoritarians and dictators getting off on scaring the bejeezuz our of the poor bastards who live in these places. NSW is the biggest state with the biggest Economy, it is the engine room of Australia and carries tour provincial cousins financially anyway. Sydney is the crown jewel of Australia anyway, the Emerald City is its nickname. If the other states want to remain locked up, good luck with that. Clowns!

  2. Gary, since the federal givt is the one controlling international borders, what is the point of all this?

  3. Sorry folks, don’t get too excited!
    Applies only to Australian citizens and PR visa holders for now. Things are changing by the day though, so if it passes the ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ test,opening up may happen quickly.

  4. Australia and NZ must be high if they think tourism will rebound next year. Nobody trusts them to keep the border open when they lockdown an entire city after a single positive test and then use law enforcement to beat up anyone who protests. Sorry, no tourists for you!

  5. @ Gary

    Well, you almost got there – at least you understood that international border control is a federal issue.

    The Prime Minister has since poured cold water on this one – entirely to be expected – it was never up to the state premier of NSW to make such a unilateral move.

    Incidentally, those reports of a sweary shouting match between the PM and Premier were at an earlier time when the Premier was previously the Treasurer of NSW.

    The Premier of NSW is brand new and staggering into the role…;)

    Folk should reference the federal government for matters on international borders and check the relevant federal government websites for check the operant border rules.

    Incidentally, 680,000 Australian have returned home during the pandemic.

    Residents could / can leave the country with an exemption (I know many people who have done this with relative ease).

  6. @ Robbo

    Not to burst your histrionics but…

    QLD, WA, SA, NT, TAS, are states / territories, not provinces, and Australia is a federation of such.

    Each controls its own health care under relevant state legislation.

    Currently there are no restrictions in QLD, WA, SA, NT – no need to feel sorry for any of us who live there. A 3-day lock down started today in Hobart, but it too was otherwise free of any restrictions. All of these are virtually free of community transmission of COVID.

    The methods used to control COVID are indeed subject to checks and balances and thereby accountable – your rant is about actions being “unaccountable” factually incorrect and thereby ignorant. Such measures are only legally allowable under state legislation in times of health crisis and can be challenged through the court system. Such court challenges have all so far failed, but would be sustainable once vaccination rates reach high targets.

    NSW government is gradually relaxing restrictions in line with vaccination rates – these are higher than in most other states and territories. This reflects the fact that (1) the Delta ave hit NSW first and (2) the federal government directed vaccines doses preferentially to that state. VIC government has announced its plan to do likewise once it attains similar vaccination rates.

    The power house economy in Australia is currently West Australia (thanks to high iron ore exports).

    The states of TAS and SA are not run by left wing governments at all – yet these right wing states they have used the same measures to control COVID as the left run states of WA and QLD. Your political rants have no basis in fact, illustrating your brainwashed political prejudice.

    Now the brand new Premier of NSW has today made announcement about opening international borders, which has been spectacularly put down by the PM (since it’s the deferral government which controls international borders). The NSW premier has made an utter fool of himself.

    What was that about clowns, mate?

  7. Whenever US politics start to get boring, it’s nice to know our friends in oz can easily keep the entertainment going.

  8. Yes it is a complete freaking melt down here. I have sleepless nights in complete panic. I’m not sure how we will cope unless we get some more clickbait post from US based travel blogs.

  9. For the time being, Australia has closed itself off from foreign tourism and business travel (conferences and the like). It is its right to do so. Given the culture there, I don’t actually expect that to change any time soon, and I think Boraxo above is correct. However, I am already seeing US-EU business travel getting put on the calendar early next year.

  10. I remember when they were gloating about how well they did with covid. They’re not so smug now that they’ve been prisoners in their own country for almost two years while Americans have been able to travel from the beginning.

  11. @ Boraxo. You nailed it . . . no further discussion required. Nice to read a bit of critical thinking rather than the normal emotional outburst. Thank you.

  12. Watching the absurdist Australian sh!tshow has finally made me feel good about my own government – still not good, but at least now clearly not the worst.

    Looks like no tourists allowed, but who would want to subject themselves to the arbitrary tender mercies of Australian politicians if “cases” rise – as they inevitably will – and they wet their pants locking down again . . . but this time with you inside their prison fence. Hard pass.

  13. @ Hutch

    So glad that it’s not just me waking up in the middle of the night and grabbing my smart phone just to get the latest “thought-leading” news and commentary on my own country on a US-based travel blog – apparently I’m locked in my house (which I’m not), having to wear a mask (which I’m not), unable to leave my country (which I can), unable to leave my suburb (which I can), unable to shop (which I can), unable go to a bar or restaurant (which I can), throw a party at my place (which I can), travel to most of the country without quarantine (which I can), unable to go to the funeral of family who died of COVID (which I can – only I don’t need to, since none of my family or friends in Australia died of COVID), watching my personal wealth crash (which it didn’t – my investments steamrolled 40% in one year), stuck worrying about suicide rates, which accelerated because of the lockdowns (which they didn’t)….etc….US travel blogs – where news and views get confused, but never fail to amuse.

  14. @platy
    then why do you read this blog?
    so everything we see in the news is wrong?
    is it not true that Melbourne has the longest lockdown on earth?
    Isnt it true that the Australian incoming tourism industry is decimated?
    you can stay in your former penal colony run now by modern day gestapo, we will be fine

  15. Aussies soooo sensitive when foreigners opine about things here. Literally everything Gary wrote is true (and I do live here).

  16. @ Doug

    Hopefully you get your news from somewhere more reliable than a travel blog prone to shite stirring hyperbole and superficial insight.

    At least you picked up that it was the federal government who is responsible for international border control (nice job).

    The various Australian state governments have achieved their goal – to limit COVID and thereby hospital admissions, ICU admissions and mortality. We don’t have 725,000 dead bodies to count like the USA.

    Now that vaccination rates are reaching assigned targets controls will be relaxed.

    Most states and territories (QLD, NT, WA, SA, plus TAS in a 3-day lockdown) remain virtually free of COVID and life goes on normally on a local level. The various vaccination levels will determine when final restrictions are lifted.

    Job losses in the tourism industry have been estimated at around 5% (available dataset: March 2020 to March 2021) by The Australian Bureau of Statistics. Much of the losses from inbound tourism were picked up by a surge in domestic tourism.

    @ Gary trots out histrionic statements like “Politicians in both the federal government and other state governments are losing their minds” – I guess that’s relatable to somebody who makes childish commentary about penal colonies and the gestapo.

    @ Gary also missed a key aspect of recent COVID policy change – dropping of outbound travel restrictions (ironically one policy that some herein have gleefully criticised).

    Again, ironically, Australian leaders are trying to push forward the timetable to relax any localised COVID measures and open borders as vaccination rates accelerate. The promising news is lost in the boot kicking and prejudiced commentary from some.

    FWIW the first dose vaccination rates are excellent (over 90% of the over 16s), so it’s not long until the national road map advances.

  17. @platy
    I am sure your fellow melbourne residents, and the dozens of thousands that were stuck for months outside their home country are as happy as you about the handling of the situation
    The other day the sack of garbage whore excuse for Queensland premier said that people would be happier to travel inside queensland than anywhere else in the world, this after coming from a tax payer paid trip to tokyo
    I am not a trump supporter or a crazy republican, in fact I am a life long democrat, and yet I think your country has become a joke

  18. @ Doug

    LOL…nobody with half a brain gets their news from “SkyNewsAustralia” (or “YouTube” for that matter)- are you sure that you’re not a crazy right winger?! Your credibility is already shot to pieces when you get your “news” from Murdoch and social media. Please grow up…if you want to debate with intelligent adults learn how to research a topic at source.

    Some 680.000 Australians returned home during the pandemic (Australian residents / citizens have never been denied the right of entry to the country) based on the data of arrivals and departures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (the sort of data that SkyNews would never bother to research hand publish since it’s outside the scope of their right wing political agenda) – the figure you are attempting (and failing) to quote is based on an ever-changing list of folk who have registered their interest in government assistance (as people travel back to Australia – others register).

    I live in QLD – we have had just 4 days of lockdown in home city in the last 500 days, thanks to our state Premier – interestingly the very premier who you describe in the most disgusting of terms – it’s telling that certain Americans dance around getting all self righteous about their “freedoms” including freedom of speech and then utterly abuse that freedom through hate speech and misinformation – speaking of a female political leader in the terms you have written is vile and shameful stuff, mate – I do hope that you treat any women you contact in your life with some sort of respect

    People in Australia just cannot understand how a prosperous country like the USA can mess up so badly and then try to shrug off 725,000 COVID dead. It’s beyond our comprehension.

    The Olympics in Tokyo was also attended by the federal government’s Minister of Sport Richard Colbeck, but you don’t ever see his attendance being questioned – you do realise that Brisbane (Queensland) was awarded the right to host the Olympics and that necessitated the attendance of our political representatives? Or have you been completely brainwashed by the right-wing BS from Sky News, which will denigrate a left leaning politician (the QLD premier) and promote a right leaning one (the federal minister) through its blatantly evident bias?

    Incidentally, people have been happier to travel in QLD than overseas. Here’s one point of evidence. When the travel bubble was implemented between Australia and NZ, flights were added to the schedule, including our own Cairns to Auckland. A group of us booked up to support the initiative – all of the flights on that route were cancelled – only a few seats were sold (even though the federal government provided a subsidy on the airfares). Oh yes, and that premier regularly visits our local community to consult with local tourism folk outside of her official schedule.

  19. @platy
    I was right, I was guessing you are a white aussie, not a redneck, but close to that(cairns qld)
    rich or retired, married to another white, don’t travel much outside Australia…I know your type
    we have many like you here in Canada, cancer to society, cheering lockdowns
    I am dual citizen and I agree the US was a mess but what you guys did is horrible, your ukranian or Russian human excrement of a premier should be shot
    millions around the world lost respect for Australia, and you know very well flights were capped and many many aussies were stuck abroad, but again, you are a white entitled anglo POS so why would you care?
    is the BBC also right wing? the ny times? all media thinks you are a joke

  20. @ Doug

    Oh, mate, you are special, aren’t you.

    No, I wasn’t born in Australia, I migrated here and am a dual citizen and have family spread around the globe (Middle East, Europe, North America and South America) and my best buddy is from Canada and I have lived worked studied in a number of countries and travelled extensively. No, I’m not rich or retired. No, my wife isn’t white Australian, she migrated here from yet another country. No, we don’t need to cheer lockdowns here, we don’t have any where I live and haven’t had for 99% of the last 500 days. No, Cairns is not so redneck anymore, but fast becoming gentrified due to migration from capital cities to regional ones (thanks to COVID).

    And, no, our premier wasn’t born in Russia or the Ukraine (actually in a suburb of Brisbane, Australia) – but, hey, let’s enjoy being a racist under the false presumption of free speech and absent of fact, eh? Like, I said, you are special.

    Regardless of whatever media opinion may circulate, the facts remain. QLD COVID deaths stand at 7 out of population of 5 million, thus 1.4 per million. In the US they stand at 2,232 per million. in other words 1,600 times higher. Canada has done better than the US (746 deaths per million), but still 530 times worse than QLD – according to the BBC, Toronto has had one of the longest lockdowns in the world. Ouch. Some parts of Canada are now struggling with COVID despite promising vaccination rates. Not good.

    Now a gentle reminder, mate, free speech has its limits even in a jurisdiction such as the US and Canada – ignorance is one thing, inciting hatred and proposing violent acts against a political leader is not smart especially in someone exhibiting such levels of irrational hatred, racism, and such an extreme attitude towards women.

  21. @palty
    several australian friends said queensland is the pits and the redneck capital; of Australia….
    her comments after she came back from tokyo and her arrogance show how disconnected she is
    I have friends in sydney and Melbourne who are liberal and yet have a very different opinion than yours
    you adore government, good for you
    wear a mask forever, stay in your basement, and light candles to that piece of human excrement you have as premier
    it has nothing to do with her being a woman, I actually think your prime minister is a clown as well, there you go, and if she dies tomorrow the world will be a better place
    happy now?
    now go back to your basement otherwise your adorable police will come knocking

  22. @ Doug

    LOL…it’s the Chief Health Officer who makes the calls on COVID restrictions in QLD under the Public Health Act 2005…facts give credence to opinion.

    Your sexist (calling someone a “whore”) and racist (demeaning people from the Ukraine and Russia) comments are on the record herein, as is your profound ignorance on the topic at hand (we don’t have lockdowns, masks and mostly no basements here in QLD) and vile attitude and dislocated hatred towards other people on the other side of the planet.

    Your posts are a great example of why the better travel blogs are moderated, rather than rely on hate speech to fuel click bait.

  23. @platy
    “the better travel blogs are moderated”
    And yet you’re here commenting.
    Find better ways to occupy your time and stop spewing ignorance.

  24. @ Baron

    I guess you just proved my point (I take it you support such sexism, racism, and incitement to violence? It’s not just Doug herein, but others).

    You will never find this sort of vile commentary on any Australian travel blog (go look for yourself at Executive Traveller and Point Hacks).

    Nor will you find such wantonly misinformed articles on other countries by the actual blog writers.

    Be well, sir. Travel safe.

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