Visiting Australia

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Back in 2006 when he was responsible for encouraging tourism to Australia, the now Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, launched a campaign called “Where the bloody hell are you?

He might be about to say the same thing since the number of tourists traveling to the country has dropped. Even more powerfully is a notice issued by the US government warning people about travelling to Australia. They don’t say categorically don’t travel there but they do point out that fires may continue until April. Air quality due to the smoke wafting over the country is one reason given to warn potential visiting Americans.

They have raised the level of alert to the same as that they give to the UK. Given the number of Americans in London at the moment I am not sure people heed State Department advice.

But it may be enough to dissuade some people from travelling there. China, Hong Kong, France, Denmark and Papua New Guinea have similar advisories about travelling there but not necessarily for the same reasons. The UK advisory mentions the bushfires and air quality but limits comments to asking British nationals to follow the advice of the authorities during their visit. The advice from the Irish government is more detailed the that of the UK but largely the same which is to follow advice given out locally but to be aware of the dangers. The advice for New Zealanders – another large source of visitors – is similar.

In no cases have countries categorically said don’t travel

But China and the USA are the two largest sources of visitors to Australia and now is the peak time for tourism there. Will potential visitors be deterred by this advice coming as it does after the postponement of the $A15 million promotional campaign fronted by Kylie Minogue.

Just as Just about Travel argued after attacks on France, Germany, Belgium, Tunisia, Egypt and Sri Lanka some years ago and on the hurricanes in the Caribbean that people should continue to travel, the same advice is given now.

Yes there will be places in the disaster areas that people should not travel. Places I visited just two months ago are off limits now.

But Australia is a huge country. Much is still open and waiting for your visit.  

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