Timetable for post-coronavirus tourism restart released and first flight date revealed

The Australian Chamber of Tourism has put forward a proposal for the first flight between Canberra and Wellington on July 1. Credit: Australian Chamber of Tourism / Getty

Australians may be allowed to travel to NZ and the Pacific from July 1, and other countries deemed “safe” from September, according to a timetable produced by the Tourism Restart Taskforce.

The taskforce meets once a week to discuss and agree on a plan to reopen the tourism industry, with government representatives often in attendance.

At the last meeting on May 22, the taskforce approved the timetable covering domestic travel and events, and international travel. Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham was in attendance and presented to the meeting.

On Wednesday, it submitted a plan to the ACT government and industry groups for a “proof of concept flight” between Canberra and Wellington departing on July 1.

“We are saying that New Zealand travel will commence on July 1 and from 10 September we will consider whether other bubbles can commence,” John Hart the Chair of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Tourism said.

The timetable is “aspirational” and the final decision will rest with the NZ and Australian governments but several key departments are now reportedly working towards these dates.

According to the timetable, Pacific nations will be included in the proposed NZ bubble.

The Australian tourism restart calendar. Credit: Australian Chamber Tourism

If approved, the first flight on July 1 will carry government officials, media and business representatives, Hart said.

Passengers will not need to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine and will be cleared to go home.

“We have done a lot of discussion with the NZ side and they are saying we are good to go,” Hart said.

View of Wellington. Credit: Piero Damiani/Getty Images

“These two cities have had a very low incidence of COVID and several days and weeks with no cases, they are sister cities, capital cities and both hubs of business.”

Canberra to Wellington is not a standard airline route, but Hart says airlines may need to redraw their route maps based on where is safe to fly.

No airline has been chosen for the first flight yet, Hart said.

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