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Australia's delay in reopening international borders has brought tourism industry on its knees, says travel agent

Tourism industry hit hard by delay in reopening borders over Omnicron concerns. Source: Twitter

Travel agent Gagandeep Singh says the tourism industry has suffered another setback due to the federal government's recent decision to pause the planned easing of border restrictions amid concerns over the Omnicron variant.

Gagandeep Singh, who runs a travel agency in Adelaide, says many skilled migrants and international students were en route to airports when the government pushed back the reopening of borders by at least two weeks on 29 November. 

"International students and skilled migrants had finally received a ray of hope to return to their lives in Australia from 1 December. Butt when the government paused the reopening of borders at the eleventh hour, they were once again left stranded, this time, many of them at the airports," he said.


Highlights:

  • Tourism industry hit hard by last-minute pause on reopening of international borders
  • Government has delayed reopening of borders to international students and skilled migrants till 15 December

Mr Singh said the delay has also cost the tourism industry dearly, in particular, the small operators who were gearing up to witness an uptick in their businesses with the return of visa holders.

"The travel industry had just begun to witness a slow return of the business with the impending entry of overseas students and skilled migrants but were left shattered when the government postponed their return until 15 December," he said. 

Mr Singh told SBS Punjabi that many travellers contacted his agency seeking cancellation of their flights, while others looked for rescheduling options. 

"While the delay has cost thousands of dollars to the airlines who had to bear the brunt of last-minute cancellations, the travellers have been worst-affected.

"Many of them now have thousands of dollars blocked in tickets as they wait for refunds, while some have been handed vouchers for rescheduling within stipulated periods," he added.

Mr Singh advised that travellers should ensure they are booking through registered and genuine agents.

Click on the player above to listen to this interview in Punjabi.

 

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