Emotional reunions as first international tourists fly to AustraliaTravel And Tour World

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Published on : Monday, February 21, 2022

International flights are touching down across most of Australia’s major cities today with heartwarming reunions bringing tears of joy to families and loved ones.

Among the touching get-togethers include newly engaged couples who have spent close to two years apart, grandparents who have finally been able to hug their grandchildren and even friends who have put lifechanging occasions such as weddings on hold multiple times just so those important to them could attend.

Sydneysider Jodie told media that she had put her wedding on hold four times, all so her friend from LA could fly in to be a part of the special day.

Victoria’s first international flight touched down at Melbourne Airport just after 8am, continuing the emotional reunions after 704 days of being locked out.

Among those reunions were local man Simon and his mother Sue, who was onboard the flight from Singapore.

Celebrity chef Shane Delia was also on board the flight from Singapore and said he is happy to be back home.

Mr Delia added he will also be handing out food vouchers to his restaurant Maha to celebrate the return of international travellers.

Susie was another excited Melburnian awaiting a reunion with her brother, who she hasn’t seen for almost three years.

Meanwhile, at Sydney Airport, Bernie was eagerly waiting at the arrivals gate for his granddaughter Charlotte and her mother, who were on board one of 56 flights scheduled to arrive today from Canada, Japan, the UK, and the US.

He threw his arms around the young girl for the first time in two years, saying he was very thankful the border had reopened.

A flight from Vancouver has also touched down in Sydney, with passengers making their way through the arrival gates.

All arrivals are also being greeted by a DJ on and given jars of Vegemite and koala toys.

International tourists were allowed to enter Australia after the Federal Government lifted a border ban designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Morrison government slammed the borders shut to all non-citizens and non-residents at 9pm on March 20, 2020.

The return of international tourists is a much-needed boost for a tourism industry that’s been battered by not just the border closure but also domestic lockdowns and travel restrictions.

This is the exciting announcement the aviation sector has been waiting for, Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive James Goodwin said earlier this month.

International travel is only at 15 per cent of pre-COVID levels so this is a positive step to help the recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors.

Declaring “the wait is over” yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the border closure, which had loosened slightly in recent months to allow some visa holders to enter, was “incredibly important” in keeping deaths down and protecting the economy from the pandemic.

But he admitted the tourism industry had “really borne the brunt” of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in tourism-dependent parts of the country.

Tourists are coming back, he said. That means those jobs become more certain going forward.

Those earnings start to roll back into the country again and we start building up again as we push through this pandemic and we come out confidently on the other side.

Authorities have reminded residents to make an appointment for the flu shot when it becomes available next month, amid fears the influx of tourists could cause a spike in influenza cases.

Western Australia won’t drop its harder border with the outside world or the test of the country until March 3.

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