Big news for our tourism sector today with confirmation that South Australia will not reopen its borders to Victoria on July 20 as previously announced.
Premier Steven Marshall says the decision is based on coronavirus outbreaks in Victoria, and to ensure South Australians had advance notice to plan ahead for the upcoming school holidays.
“We are very hopeful that Victoria will be able to bring their outbreaks under control but at this stage we cannot possibly lift that border on 20 July as we were hoping to do,” Premier Marshall told media at a press conference this morning.
“We know that this is going to be very difficult for some people who were planning around the 20th travel and that’s why we have made the decision to provide this advice as early as possible. I know that this is tough … but our number one priority is the health, safety and welfare of all South Australians.”
The Premier also said the state’s transition committee is still considering reopening the borders to the ACT and New South Wales sooner and will provide an update on Friday. The state has already opened its borders to Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Queensland. Queensland also announced today it would open its borders from 10 July to all states and territories, with the exception of Victoria.
If we were to look for a silver lining for our state’s tourism sector, it is that there is now an increased opportunity for South Australians to look locally for their next holidays. While it would be ideal to reopen all borders and domestic tourism, it is important that we follow the advice of health experts and continue to keep South Australia in such a strong position. Pre COVID, the intrastate market made up 52% of the state’s $8.1 Billion visitor economy – it is important we keep this market open and continue to encourage South Australians to see South Australia, rather than risk having to go backwards into tighter restrictions. It has been pleasing to commence Step 3 this week, and see businesses benefit from the easing of restrictions and increased local visitors, and that should be our priority for now.
It is now a chance for our operators to get out into the market, showcase what outstanding opportunities we have in SA, and to capture the hearts and minds of South Australians who need a break. We’ll be doing some more work on this through a new campaign very shortly.
Today’s announcement also ties in with a new online cross border travel process, which will commence at 12.01 am on Wednesday 1 July 2020 for people travelling into South Australia.
People wishing to enter South Australia will be able to apply for pre-approval prior to reaching South Australia’s borders.
Any individual who intends to visit or return to the state should complete the online form prior to arriving in South Australia, regardless of the location they are travelling from. The pre-approval process will identify whether the person is an essential traveller, needs to self-quarantine or is able to travel without restrictions.
Those who have completed the form and have been granted pre-approval will receive a return email with the results and a unique reference number which will need to be presented to the border patrol on arrival.
The new online pre-approval form is available on sa.gov.au and police.sa.gov.au websites, with applicants likely to receive a response to their application within 72 hours. Further updates can also be found at covid-19.sa.gov.au.
As you can imagine, the landscape is changing very quickly, and I will ensure we pass on all relevant news as it comes to hand.
Read the full Industry Update – 30 June 2020 here.