But a new survey conducted by research firm Redfield & Wilton Strategies suggests Australia has an uphill battle ahead of it to attract back long-haul travellers.
While 64 per cent of 1500 Brits surveyed last week knew that Australia was reopening its borders for tourists, barely any plan on taking up the offer.
The survey showed that of the 63 per cent who said they planned to travel within the next three months, 40 per cent said they intended on heading abroad.
But in bad news for Australian tourism operators, Australia was last on their list, with a whopping 78 per cent intending to go to Europe, 15 per cent to North America, 12 per cent to Asia and 10 per cent to Africa.
British travellers plan on hitting Europe’s beaches, like this one in Dubrovnik, Croatia, over Australia’s.Credit:iStockphoto
Even South America turned out to be a more desirable destination than Australia, with 7 per cent planning to travel there compared to the 6 per cent who said they would be including Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland or Adelaide in this year’s travel plans.
Western Australia remains closed.
Further, 70 per cent of all surveyed said they have no intention of and would not consider travelling to Australia next year either with cost and distance proving to be the biggest deterrents with 63 per cent saying that it was too expensive.
The polling suggested that Australia’s harsh COVID-19 restrictions had not turned off the British with only 10 per cent saying it had made the country a less desirable destination which was more than outweighed by 13 per cent who said Australia’s pandemic management had made it more desirable to visit.
Skyscanner has seen a significant rise in bookings since Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the border would reopen, up 199 per cent in the first day with the strongest bookings recorded in the UK, followed by Germany with demand also from India and Ireland.
A spokeswoman said: “There is an initial spike as travellers respond immediately to the changes with flight searches and bookings, most likely those looking to reunite with family and friends as soon as possible, followed by sustained positive demand.”
This means Australia could struggle to convert the initial rush of friends and relatives into high-spending tourists.
The number of tourists visiting Australia in 2019, the year before the border was shut, reached its highest-ever levels in 2019 with 9.4 million touching down in the country.
The top source country was China, followed by New Zealand, the United States, UK and Japan. Chinese tourists spent $12.4 billion, while tourists from New Zealand, UK, US and Japan spent around that amount combined.
China is pursuing Zero-Covid meaning international travel is rare, due to the 21-day hotel quarantine required in China.
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