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UK and U.S. bookers for now are leading the race to Australia's famous beaches after being cut off for almost two years.

Qantas Airways Ltd has seen a significant rise in international ticket searches and bookings since Australia said it would reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers this month, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

Andrew David, the airline’s CEO for domestic and international, said bookings for flights into Australia had doubled on the first day following Monday’s announcement that borders would open on Feb. 21.

“Bookings are strongest out of the U.S. and UK and we’ve also seen spikes from South Africa, India and Canada, with March, April and May the most popular months for travel,” David said in a statement.

Australia has kept its borders all but shut for nearly two years during the pandemic. International travel spending plunged from $31.93 billion in the 2018/19 financial year to $0.93 billion in 2020/21, says Tourism Research Australia.

China and New Zealand, which were Australia’s largest inbound markets in 2019 before the pandemic, remain effectively shut because travellers face lengthy quarantine when returning home.

The U.S. and Britain, the third and fourth biggest inbound tourism markets respectively in 2019, do not require any isolation for returning travellers.

Qantas plans to restart several international routes in the coming weeks, including Sydney-Dallas, Brisbane-Singapore, Sydney-Manila and Brisbane-Los Angeles.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].


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Tags: australia, china, coronavirus, covid-19, new zealand, qantas

Photo credit: Qantas plans to restart several international routes in the coming weeks.

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