Victoria has recorded 9908 new Covid cases and 21 deaths as a tourism boss warns a new vaccine mandate may deter international travellers from visiting the state.
Victoria has recorded 9908 new Covid cases and 21 deaths on Wednesday.
Tourism and business leaders fear Victoria’s economy could face “severe disadvantage” if the state government imposes a third dose mandate for international arrivals.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday warned that travellers would need to be triple-vaccinated to enter most public places, if the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation rules a third dose is needed to be deemed “fully vaccinated”.
It comes despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday confirming that international arrivals would need to be only double-jabbed.
While ATAGI is yet to make its official recommendation, Mr Andrews has been calling for the change and has already mandated a third jab in some employment settings.
At present, people must be double-vaccinated – or have a valid exemption – to attend hospitality venues and events across the state.
Asked if a possible triple-vaccinated economy would apply to international travellers, Mr Andrews said: “It will apply here in … Victoria.”
“I’m sure the commonwealth government will reserve the right to change the view based on advice that comes from experts … ATAGI must be getting very close to making that decision.”
Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said: “The best way to support our tourism recovery is to make travelling in Australia as easy as possible for visitors – that means removing barriers to travel and cutting red tape.” Mr Tehan said chief medical officer Paul Kelly made it clear that two doses was “sufficient for travel to Australia, given most countries around the world do not currently offer booster shots”.
Tourism and industry bosses on Tuesday called for a “nationally consistent approach”.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council chief Felicia Mariani said the state risked being put at a “severe disadvantage” if states weren’t aligned on a “level playing field”.
The international tourist market represents a third of Victoria’s visitation spend, with Melbourne deriving 40 per cent of its visitor earnings from overseas arrivals.
“We can’t have a situation where some states are sitting at two doses, and others at three,” Ms Mariani said. “Any state requiring three would be put at severe disadvantage. Whatever the advice from ATAGI turns out to be, this would be one time where we absolutely need to see national consistency.”
Tourism and Transport Forum chief Margy Osmond said: “If we’re going to open our borders to the world, we need to be on the same page.”
Tourism Accommodation Australia general manager Dougal Hollis said about 70 per cent of overnight business in Melbourne hotels was from interstate and international markets. “Interstate and international travellers may be less inclined to travel to our state … if Victoria adopts more stringent vaccination requirements,” Mr Hollis said.
Small Business Australia chief Bill Lang said: “It is astounding that two years into the nation’s Covid response we still have our states acting like small nations.”
Originally published as Tourism and industry bosses raise concerns Victoria won’t be on a ‘level playing field’