• Jason Regan

Federal call for tourism vaccine unity

Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has called for states and territories to implement a unified approach for admitting international travellers when they return later this month.


The federal government says Victoria could scare overseas tourists away if it mandates three doses. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

International tourists will be allowed to enter the country from February 21, after nearly two years of border closures, provided they have had two COVID-19 vaccine doses.


However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged the possibility of requiring tourists to have also had a booster shot in order to enter hospitality venues and major events in the state.


The move would bring the measures for tourists into line with those for Victorian residents.


Mr Tehan said the advice for tourists needing just two doses was set by the country's leading vaccine advisory group, ATAGI, and jurisdictions needed to be consistent.

"It will cause problems because there will be a different message," he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
"We would call on all states and territories to follow the ATAGI advice ... that's been the requirements for international students and backpackers."

Mr Andrews said the state government would not seek to determine who comes into the country, but wanted consistency.

"We'll have the simplest and most effective rules we can," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"We'll do whatever is appropriate at that time.
"We will not be doing anything that disadvantages the Victorian economy."

While there has been debate among medical experts and chief health officers on whether to change the definition of fully vaccinated to include the third dose, ATAGI stressed two doses would be required for international travellers to enter the country.


Mr Tehan said the federal government would follow the ATAGI advice and that from chief medical officers.

"At the moment, it's two doses, it's working very well in terms of getting the international students back," he said.
"We need very clear advice to international tourists what the requirements are ... We should be out there selling that message loud and clear."