From next year, Tasmania will open its arms to 30,000 new international travellers every year after a new deal struck between the State and Federal Governments.
Preparations will be made for Hobart Airport to welcome three flights a week from New Zealand and two flights a week in winter, according to a joint statement.
The deal, expected to commence from January 2021, is also aimed at boosting Tasmanian tourism and jobs, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“This has been an incredibly tough year for Australians and particularly our tourism and hospitality sectors, but this deal will mean tourists from low-risk areas can come to sample Tasmania’s incredible experiences, sights and produce.
“While the pandemic might have set back the timetable for making Hobart an international airport, it is just going to mean more pent up demand for the best Tasmania has to offer.”
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack added: “This deal is going to see more tourists at Tasmania’s museums and galleries, staying at its hotels, eating and drinking at its restaurants and cafes, and exploring its parks and sights.”
The Federal Government will invest $49.2 million into funding 30 Border Force, Federal Police investigators and biosecurity officers to ensure the international travel is safe.
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Government will invest $10 million to upgrade Hobart Airport infrastructure.
It is the first time in more than two decades that Tasmania is accepting international flights from New Zealand, said Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein.
“This is a unique opportunity to travel between two extraordinary island destinations, and a terrific boost for local jobs across our tourism sector, including more jobs at our airport as we undertake upgrades in the coming weeks to accommodate international arrangements.”
The Tasmanian Government will also underwrite aviation services between Auckland and Hobart for two years to assist the struggling aviation industry.
Tasmania increases quarantine facilities
Additionally, Hobart hotels will create 450 new quarantine spaces under an agreement between the Tasmanian and Federal Government to help Aussies come home from abroad.
This brings the total weekly quarantine spaces to 6,765 as agreed to by the states and territories.
“We stand ready to play our role to help bring Australians home,” Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said.
Returning Tasmanians will have to be tested before travel and yield a negative Covid-19 test “on or after day 10” of their quarantine period before they’re allowed into the community, he added.
Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will work with Qantas to give vulnerable Australians priority access to flights, said Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne.
“Our focus is on helping Australians who want and need to return,” she said.
“More than 411,000 Australians have returned since 13 March and around 30,600 have been assisted by the Australian Government including on 66 directly facilitated flights.”
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