As a result of Omicron’s emergence and widespread distrust of state premiers, Australians are canceling their flights this Christmas.
Christmas is around the corner and everybody is courageous to make travel plans. But the Omicron emergence is creating stress among people. In the face of a new Covid-19 challenge, Australians are canceling their holiday travel plans, while flight operators call for state premiers to act responsibly and keep the borders open.
A new survey reveals nearly three-quarters of Australians are rethinking their holiday travel plans due to an outbreak of Covid cases and a new Omicron variant. Flight cancellations are already on the rise with Rex Airlines.
State premiers are urged to “hold the line” and give Australians confidence this holiday season, according to Deputy Chairman John Sharp.
As a result, people are now canceling their flights around Australia and overseas as well because they are nervous about catching Coronavirus or believe they are close to someone who has the virus and will be quarantined,” Mr. Sharp recently said.
“When you travel, you are bound to come into contact with a lot of people, so the risks seem quite high to a lot of people.”
“According to our plan, we will operate our flights as scheduled. However, this decision will be made by the state premiers.”
“Previously, state premiers have overstepped their responsibilities by closing borders and imposing travel restrictions. Thus, I advise them to hold their ground.”
According to Mr. Sharp, Australians were “persuaded” to get vaccinated not only to protect themselves from the virus but also so they could travel freely.
State premiers saying, even though we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, that we will close borders and restrict travel would, in his estimation, violate the trust between government and the public.
“Don’t let your trust be broken. Keep your nerve.”
The Tourism and Transport Forum surveyed 1500 people on their travel plans over December and January and 74 percent of respondents said Omicron had negatively affected their plans.
The majority of respondents expressed concern over the lack of consistency between different states and territories when it comes to the rules and restrictions.
In the survey, only two percent of Australians plan to travel overseas this summer, while 20 percent will travel within the country. More than three-quarters of the respondents will visit their own state this summer.
Margy Osmond, chief executive of the company, said the tourism industry was facing challenges due to travel restrictions and lockdowns.
The tourism industry is more dependent than ever on a strong December/January holiday period to drive recovery, and this setback will only further erode confidence just as operators and the aviation industry prepare for a bumper summer,” she said.
The state of Queensland is likely to suffer the most from the uncertainty, with almost 70% of travelers from Sydney and Melbourne choosing to holiday within their own states.
In Washington, DC, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who has been diagnosed with Covid-19, referred to the threat of border closures as “frustrating”.
“I think the best thing we can do is to make sure everyone gets vaccinated, and then let’s get on with our lives since there is no alternative, otherwise you will go bankrupt,” he said.
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