Tourist Spot

Australians prepare to travel again, but majority want details of one country’s ‘Covid record’

International travel is slowly increasing in Australia, but new research shows a majority of Australians will be influenced by a country’s ‘Covid record’ when choosing a destination.

YouGov’s survey of over 1,000 Australians found that 92% wanted to travel overseas in the next two years.

But a whopping 89 per cent also said how a country fared during the Covid crisis would impact their decision to travel there.

In addition, three-quarters of Australians are more concerned about health and safety when traveling than before the pandemic, according to research from Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

International travel is slowly picking up after Covid, but the pandemic is likely to affect holidaymakers’ choices of where to go according to new research (Picture: Perth)

The insurance company’s chief executive, Jo McCauley, said while the effect of Covid on travel decisions was expected, the data revealed how much of a proportion of people were affected.

“It’s no surprise that people are more cautious about travel, but what’s interesting to see is the extent to which these concerns are having an effect,” she said.

“Covid has impacted the way we approach travel, including our method of planning our vacations. It made us more aware than ever of things that could go wrong.

Below, Daily Mail Australia takes a closer look at how some popular vacation spots fared during the Covid pandemic.

Fiji

Fully vaccinated travelers may visit Fiji without prior permission and must present a negative RAT test from the previous day.

The wearing of masks and social distancing requirements have also been removed.

The country’s isolation, its proximity to Australia and the low number of Covid cases throughout the pandemic will likely make it a popular destination for holidaymakers.

Virgin Australia offers flights to Nadi from under $500 while Jetstar has them from under $300 – although the two airlines won’t be stepping up scheduled flights for at least two months.

Fiji (pictured) has had a low number of cases throughout 2020 and 2021 and its remote location could make it a popular vacation spot

Fiji (pictured) has had a low number of cases throughout 2020 and 2021 and its remote location could make it a popular vacation spot

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is among the most vaccinated countries against Covid in the world, with every person having received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Financial Times.

Visitors no longer need a Covid test to travel to the UAE – vaccinated or not – and direct flights on Emirates or Etihad from Australia can be found for less than $2,000 return.

Australian website Smart Traveler warns that while drone and missile strikes may occur in the country due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, major cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are considered safe.

The cities impressive skylines, shops and hotels have made it a popular choice for Australian tourists in recent years.

Dubai (pictured) has grown in popularity with tourists in recent years.  The United Arab Emirates has direct flights from Australia and the country is considered safe due to very high vaccination rates

Dubai (pictured) has grown in popularity with tourists in recent years. The United Arab Emirates has direct flights from Australia and the country is considered safe due to very high vaccination rates

Italy

One of Europe’s most popular vacation spots thanks to its rich culture and historic landmarks, Italy was the first European country to be significantly affected by Covid,

The first cases were detected in January, a state of emergency was declared at the end of this month and the country entered confinement on March 8 for more than 60 million inhabitants.

At the height of the pandemic, Italy had the highest number of cases in the world and in 2020 recorded the highest death toll since 1945, when the country fought World War II on its soil.

The country is still experiencing a high number of cases with a 7-day average of around 51,000, but 85.2% of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

China

China was the fifth-busiest destination for Australians in 2019 with 608,000 Australians flying, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

But with the country’s extreme ‘zero Covid dynamic’ policy still in place, mass testing requirements and lockdowns can quickly arise and deter travelers from going there.

Political tensions between China and Australia have also increased since 2020 after Australia called for an investigation into the origins of the Covid pandemic, triggering a series of trade sanctions on items such as coal and wine in answer.

“Direct flights between China and Australia are limited. China has suspended all visas on arrival, including transit visas,” advises the Smart Traveler website.

“You may be allowed to enter China if you are a foreign national with a valid residence permit for work, personal business or meeting.”

China (pictured) has a 'dynamic Covid-zero' policy which could see large-scale restrictions imposed in the short term

China (pictured) has a ‘dynamic Covid-zero’ policy which could see large-scale restrictions imposed in the short term

POST-COVID AUSTRALIAN TRAVEL ATTITUDE SURVEY

92% of Australians plan to travel within Australia or abroad in the next two years

75% of Australians planning to travel in the next two years will be more concerned about health and safety when traveling now, compared to before the pandemic

89% of Australian travelers say a destination’s Covid-19 record will impact their decision to travel there

80% of Australian travelers now rate travel insurance as a high priority for international travel and 65% now rate domestic travel insurance as a high priority.

36% of 18-24 year olds do not consider travel insurance a high priority for international travel

Source: YouGov and Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

India

After the UK, India recorded the longest average visits by Australians at 23 days, according to the ABS.

While more than 426,000 Australians visited in 2019, that number could drop significantly after the country was hit by the Covid Delta wave.

The most infectious and dangerous variant seen had grown in the “petri dish” of the underfunded Amravati healthcare network in central India, according to Bloomberg.

Indian authorities have also been criticized for not stopping the spread sooner and allowing the variant to become the most dominant Covid strain on the planet in 2021.

“The charity view is that they didn’t want to sound the alarm without having more conclusive evidence,” Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, told the publication.

While many Australians have family in India, tourists visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra or the Red Fort in New Delhi might think twice before booking a ticket.

Brazil

Rio De Janeiro’s beaches were a popular spot for vacationers before Covid, but travel could be affected after the country’s disastrous handling of the outbreak.

President Bolsonaro was sadly skeptical of the virus who frequently spoke out against lockdowns and masks, and told Brazilians to ‘stop complaining’ about Covid.

So far, more than 600,000 people in the country have died from the virus.

Rio De Janeiro (pictured) is a popular destination, but Brazil's disastrous handling of the Covid pandemic could affect it as a choice for travelers

Rio De Janeiro (pictured) is a popular destination, but Brazil’s disastrous handling of the Covid pandemic could affect it as a choice for travelers

Brazil is currently listed on the “reconsider your travel need” list by Smart Traveller.

“At Level 3, the risk of Covid to you may be higher than at Level 2 destinations and authorities may implement measures to manage outbreaks which may affect your ability to move freely, including abroad. inside and outside the country,” the website advises.

“Be prepared for extended stay or disruption to international travel, including return travel to Australia. The ability to provide consular services may be limited.

There were emotional meetings at Auckland airport in April as New Zealand reopened borders for quarantine-free travel for Australian citizens and returning Kiwis

There were emotional meetings at Auckland airport in April as New Zealand reopened borders for quarantine-free travel for Australian citizens and returning Kiwis

New Zealand

The land of the long white cloud was the number one tourist destination for Australians in 2019 and will likely regain that crown when international travel increases.

The country’s proximity to Australia and the abundance of cheap flights make travel easy.

On top of that, Covid restrictions across Tasman are finally lifting, allowing open travel after Jacinda Ardern abandoned her Covid-zero approach.

Smart Traveler says case rates are similar to those in Australia, but travelers are warned that a full course of a valid Covid vaccine is required to pass through the airport.