Australia will reopen to fully vaccinated travellers from 21 February 2022, officials have announced.
The move comes nearly two years after it first closed its international borders to slow the spread of COVID-19, and several months after beginning a gradual reopening that allowed certain tourists and foreign workers to enter the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted at a news conference earlier in February that Australia has progressively opened its borders through programmes with New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, and also began welcoming international students and economic migrants late last year. That welcome will soon be extended to visa holders and international tourists, on one condition.
“The condition is, you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia,” Mr Morrison said. “That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.”
He added that quarantine requirements and cap arrangements on arrivals will continue, and are up to state governments to alter as they see fit.
Singaporeans can now visit most of Australia – New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland and, as of 21 February, fully vaccinated travellers from the rest of the world can do so as well.
Singaporeans can also continue to bookmark exciting new experiences and attractions in Western Australia for future trips.
Arrangements for travelling to various states in Australia vary, and quarantine arrangements also depend on the state or territory jurisdiction. As of February 2022, most states require fully vaccinated travellers to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or PCR (nose and throat) test within 24 hours of arriving and isolate until they receive a negative test result. Travellers must also meet the requirements of vaccination and pre-departure testing.
State territories are responsible for determining and managing quarantine arrangements. If you are planning on travelling onwards to or through a different state or territory when you arrive in Australia, you need to check domestic travel restrictions at https://www.health.gov.au/
For full details on individual State and Territory testing and quarantine requirements, please refer to this website: https://www.australia.gov.au/
According to data about Singapore released by Tourism Australia’s annual Consumer Demand Project (https://www.tourism.
When surveyed, Australia was among the top four destinations they felt would be the most welcoming. They were also very keen to enjoy the country’s world-class nature and wildlife, as well as indulge in good food and wine.
Sydney and Melbourne were considered the most desirable destinations, with Singaporeans also becoming more interested in Tasmania.
Inside Recent got Mr Brent Anderson (right), Regional General Manager of South & South-East Asia, Tourism Australia, who is based in Singapore to elaborate on the Singaporean traveller and the new types of travel experiences they’re looking for in 2022 and how that relates to what Singaporeans can now explore again in Australia.
He also spoke about how Australia’s tourism offerings have evolved over the pandemic and what this means for both new and returning visitors and the top sustainable experiences that Singaporeans voted for in Australia – including snorkel and cultural tours, island cruises and eco-stays.
Excerpts from the interview:
How does Australian tourism ensure the safety of travellers in these difficult times?
Australia has traditionally enjoyed a strong reputation for safety and security, and this remains a leading important factor for Singapore travellers when considering either leisure or business travel. As we welcome Singaporeans back to Australia, the Australian tourism industry has in place robust measures to ensure good hygiene and safety, as well as allow Singaporeans to have peace of mind.
This includes a comprehensive repository of COVID-safe resources, supplied collectively with public organisations and health bodies across Australia. For instance, we have implemented a Safe Travel hub on our website, Australia.com, that provides up-to-date information to travellers on the latest border status as well as checklists and tools to help them plan a holistically safe trip – from the moment they reach the airport to their on-ground transport via taxis, rideshares, private cars or public transport, to safely enjoying their holiday home and dining experiences as well as visiting our iconic tourism attractions.
Travellers can also review the latest advisories across the various states via online resources from the Australian Government Department of Health and Department of Home Affairs. These resources include lists of local state and city clinics and hospitals at which travellers can undergo COVID-related testing.
In enjoying our wealth of novel tourism experiences, Singaporeans can safeguard their bookings – numerous Australian tourism operators provide flexible, hassle-free booking options and are continuing to follow COVID-19 safe practices. The key distribution partners we are working with in Singapore, such as ticket providers and travel agencies, have implemented flexible booking terms and conditions, and remain ready to assist travellers.
We also understand the need to consistently innovate and cater to our modern Singaporean travellers. Given the increased demand for safe contactless experiences, various tourism operators in Australia have put into place convenient cashless models.
Australia has also launched several COVID-safe applications that are curated for each state and territory, and that allow guests to check in at the venues they visit using their smartphones – these include the Service NSW app in New South Wales, the CBR app in the Australian Capital Territory and more.
The Australian Government will continue to take measures to protect Australia and international travellers, by preventing and controlling the entry, emergence, establishment and spread of COVID-19.
What are the top travel trends in Australia in 2022? How do these connect to the Singaporean traveller?
Besides the baseline consideration of safety and security, our research shows that Singaporeans are looking for destinations with world-class nature and wildlife, good food and wine, clean cities and family-friendly spots. Australia is proud to offer all of these, and more.
The top travel trends in Australia include astro-tourism experiences; odyssey journeys via epic train and helicopter rides; tiny luxury home stays; conservation tours; immersive Indigenous trails and much more.
In line with Singaporeans’ interests, many of these showcase Australia’s beautiful nature and diverse landscapes, and there are numerous family-friendly options as well – for instance, kids can learn about turtle conservation at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre year-round, and in November during turtle season, they can join ranger-guided tours to watch these hard-backed creatures nest, with hatchlings best viewed from late January to March.
They can also get actively involved with citizen-science tours that let you monitor wildlife and restore habitats, like Echidna Walkabout’s conservation tours and the Nature, Wildlife and Conservation Safari to survey threatened spotted-tail quolls through the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
The tiny luxury homestay trend is right up the alley for Singaporeans, who have become increasingly affectionate of minimalist lifestyles, including in their choice of home design and décor. Many of them are also willing to pay more for an environmentally sustainable home, and we anticipate this demand might continue to rise even as they search for their holiday homes.
With myriad minimalist and eco-friendly accommodation options like off-the-grid and solar-powered cabins; eco-huts; glamping options and more, we believe they will be spoilt for choice.
Finally, we are also encouraged and excited by the growing interest in the rich cultural offerings of our Aboriginal tourism experiences, a powerful driver for positive change and sustainability of culture.
We’ve seen that Singaporeans are becoming keener to learn about local cultures and traditions in Australia. On this front, they can take immersive tours with traditional custodians and Indigenous guides; taste native ingredients through farm tours; stay on Country with remote accommodation such as the Wilpena Pound Resort within the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park of South Australia; view rock art sites; and even attend Indigenous festivals.
What are the new experiences and exciting activities for Singaporeans to uncover in Australia?
There is a wealth of novel and “Instagrammable” experiences in Australia for Singaporeans to check out, dotted across the various states. We know Singaporeans love food – hip new culinary precincts are just a taste of the fresh ways to experience Australia’s buzzy capitals, complemented by an array of recently opened places to stay.
In Canberra (Australian Capital Territory), for instance, the new Corella Restaurant and Bar focuses on native ingredients, and Sydney’s up-and-coming South Everleigh precinct is now home to Re-, the world’s first zero-waste bar (think cocktails made with “ugly” fruit and upcycled décor).
Farmer’s Daughters in Victoria celebrates the produce of regional Victoria, while Merrymaker in Adelaide is the city’s highest rooftop bar. In Darwin, which is famous for its delicious Asian-inspired food (including Singapore Laksa!), visitors can get adventurous with crocodile dumplings at Charlie’s of Darwin, which also serves inventive cocktails like the Kakadu plum gin – the native Aussie Kakadu plum has the highest Vitamin C content of any fruit in the world.
Australia is famous for the diverse spread of experiences and scenery that can be found within it. There’s something for everyone, whether they are foodies, arts and culture buffs, shopaholics, luxury seekers or adrenaline junkies.
Singaporeans can easily go from admiring bold works at a range of new and refreshed blockbuster museums like Sydney’s recently renovated Australian Museum that is dedicated to the country’s heritage, to dipping in the Metung Hot Springs in Victoria, to coming up-close with some of the world’s most wonderful wildlife at Monarto Safari Park in South Australia and even swooshing down from the top on one of the Matagarup Bridge ziplines.
At the end of each fun-filled day, Singaporeans can kick back in rooms-with-a-view at equally eclectic accommodation from homesteads to resorts and outdoor pods. At The Keep, they will be perched on a rocky outcrop soaring 650 metres above the northern Tasmania landscape with 360-degree views of forests and coastline, while at Banubanu Beach Retreat on remote Bremer Island in the Northern Territory, they can learn about the rich local Aboriginal culture, go turtle and birdwatching, or just soak up the sublime views of the Arafura Sea.
Any new nature tours being offered?
Lots! Australia is home to truly epic landscapes, from UNESCO World Heritage-listed rainforests and reefs to endless swathes of outback. To start with, Singaporeans can see Kakadu National Park in a whole new way with scenic flight operator Kakadu Air; the new Kakadu Cultural Experience day tour from Darwin delves into the ancient stories and culturally significant sites of this iconic wilderness, where guests will fly over the Kakadu escarpment, take a cruise along the East Alligator River with Guluyambi Cultural Cruises, and visit the famed Aboriginal rock art galleries at Ubirr.
For the perfect taste of Tasmania’s wilderness, Walk Into Luxury’s 4-day guided walk takes in the best views in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and Mount Field, with a distillery visit to finish.
Those who are into gourmet dining can also enjoy the best of nature and food with new luxury wine tour company Van du Vin, which offers half- and full-day winery tours in Canberra along with truffle-hunting tours.
In addition, Singaporeans can challenge themselves with new multi-day hiking trails like Victoria’s Grampians Peaks Trail, a rigorous 13-day, 160-kilometre walk over dramatic peaks and along rocky ridgelines through national parkland north-west of Melbourne, as well as the beautiful Scenic Rim Trail in Queensland, which meanders through UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest, sleeping overnight in cosy eco-huts at Spicers Retreats.
Are astro tourism and pub crawl by air new? Do you think Singaporeans will like them?
By themselves, astro-tourism and pub crawls by air are not completely new, since Australia has always been one of the best places to stargaze and laidback pub dinners are a quintessential Australian experience. That said, more creative and exciting astro and pub crawl experiences have continued to launch, with inventive new ways for Singaporeans to try something new.
We know that Singaporeans like to maximise the time spent on their trips, with off-the-beaten-track and Instagram-worthy encounters. Skyscrapers and bright lights make up the bustling Singaporean skyline, so there may be fewer opportunities to stargaze back home – but this can all be ticked off the list with a trip to Australia.
Beyond the observatories found in many Australian cities, the clear and dark skies of regional and outback Australia make for dazzling stargazing opportunities.
Singaporeans can join Aboriginal astronomy tours to learn about the night sky through Indigenous eyes; sleep with the Milky Way as the backdrop at Bubbletent Australia in the Blue Mountains, and gaze upon star-splashed skies at Australia’s first International Dark Sky Park outside the town of New South Wales’ Coonabarabran, which is also home to Siding Spring Observatory and Milroy Observatory that host daytime and night-sky tours respectively.
In fact, New South Wales is known as Australia’s astro-tourism capital and is even home to StarFest, an open-day event celebrating all things astronomy where visitors can tour telescopes, hear talks by world-renowned astronomers and more to really get the best out of their stargazing itinerary.
Speaking about Singaporeans’ penchant for maximising their travel experiences, that’s where the pub crawls by air come in – allowing Singaporeans to see more than five bars a day! The Classic Safari Company’s Outback Aussie Pub Crawl, for instance, takes guests out of the tourist hubs and into the heart of local favourite drinking spots across the country for some old fashioned Aussie hospitality.
The pub crawl is an epic private plane journey taking place over five days, spanning 4,000 kilometres and taking guests to eight different outback pubs across rural New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – perfect for groups of friends or family.
If guests want to focus on the pubs in one city, that’s possible too – they can travel in style and arrive with their own rock star landing at Darwin’s coolest pubs with the Heli Pub Crawl Tour, voted one of the Top 10 Things to Do in Darwin. There are great views to be had, delicious grub and beverages, and of course lots of Instagrammable moments – all of which we know Singaporeans love.
What are the options for rest and rejuvenation travel?
We are seeing a growing wellness movement amongst Singaporeans, so it makes perfect sense that they are seeking increased options for travel that helps them relax and recover.
Tourism operators in Australia are big on both physical and mental wellness, and are investing actively in taking healing to new heights – we’re talking next-level retreats that feature Vedic meditation, yoga, acupuncture, Ayurvedic meals and ice baths, as well as nutritious cuisine made with native and organic ingredients.
At the Eden Health Retreat in the Gold Coast hinterland, for instance, the spa offers massages and facials as well as kinesiology and even astrology sessions; guests can also take part in alfresco crystal-bowl sound healing sessions.
Personalised wellness menus are curated at Samadhi in Victoria, serving up mineral water drawn from local springs and crystal salt scrubs, plus holistic Pranic breathing and art therapy classes.
Moreover, spas and saunas abound all across various Australian cities. This includes the innovative Floating Sauna Lake Derby in Tasmania, which welcomes visitors with a dry heat sweat before dialling up the steam in petite Finnish-style huts.
In November 2021, a flagship wellness space opened in Canberra featuring an Elixir Bar, Apothecary Lab, full-day spa and mindfulness lounge. This hidden gem in the middle of the bustling Braddon precinct in Canberra, Adytum Sanctum, also features a bathhouse with a traditional hot rock sauna, Japanese Oak mineral bath and a cold pail shower – a first for the city.
Why do Singaporeans think Australia is a top destination for them?
Australia has long been the most popular international destination for Singaporean tourists, with more than 80% repeat visitation. Over the years, our research – such as our annual Consumer Demand Project – has shown that Singaporeans love Australia for its safety and security, world-class nature and clean cities. Many also return regularly to visit friends and family.
Singaporeans find Australia not only a safe but also friendly place to visit – our easygoing people and famous hospitality are as much of a draw to the destination as our places.
Australia provides a large diversity of experiences and landscapes that allow Singaporeans to create varied and unique memories, all within one country. Each state is known for its own distinctive nature and wildlife, aquatic and coastal offerings, good food and wine, and history and heritage.
Functionally, Australia’s proximity to Singapore, the availability of direct flights and the ease of communication with locals are also factors that drive desirability of Australia among Singaporeans.
Based on our research, we understand that value for money is a strong driver especially for Singaporeans – they are seeking high-quality experiences that are worth the cost, and unique experiences that cannot be had anywhere else.
Now that Australia is open for Singaporeans to come reconnect, relax, explore, and have fun, we are excited to welcome them back.
With Singaporeans and others seeking new types of travel experiences, how does Australia fit in?
No doubt, the types of experiences that travellers are seeking have shifted. Many, including Singaporean travellers, are now looking for trips to more remote and less crowded destinations, outdoor and natural spaces, and private tours. Singaporeans, specifically, are increasingly opting for self-drive itineraries.
This is great news for Australia, as we have plenty of scenic and exciting self-drive opportunities, bringing tourists within, between and across states!
Foodies can indulge in the ultimate gastronomic safari with South Australia’s Seafood Frontier trail – featuring lots of native King George whiting, snapper, swallow tail, trevally, blue morwong and other seafood wonders – or the Epicurean Way road trip.
In Victoria, Singaporeans can start with the cultural and fashion capital of Melbourne, then drive down the idyllic seaside town of Mornington Peninsula, pass Phillip Island bustling with adorable penguins and seals, and finally hit the spectacular Great Ocean Road. And of course, iconic Australian sights are in abundant supply if one navigates through Sydney to the Blue Mountains, the New South Wales coastline and then Port Macquarie, stopping off at the Hunter Valley for Semillon wine and gourmet cuisine.
With the increased demand for private and personalised experiences, Singaporeans can also indulge in various exclusive luxury experiences and tours.
At the Sydney Opera House, you can gain exclusive access with the Taste of Opera – A Private Opera Recital experience, which includes a backstage tour and even your own private recital of famous arias by a world-class opera singer!
Luxury lodges, private island hideaways, outback stations and five-star city hotels are peppered throughout an indulgent Australian adventure with Southern Crossings, which offers tours like private barrel-room tastings in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.
It’s a similar story when you travel with The Tailor, which takes you off the beaten track in serious style – private aircrafts, luxury yachts, island buy-outs and jaw-dropping villas, all packaged with Australiana experiences most visitors never knew existed.
For those looking to enhance their political banter, the More Than Politics tour at Canberra’s Australian Parliament House also provides plenty of inspiration – from a behind-the-scenes perspective, guests will be immersed in tales of Romaldo Giurgola’s architectural vision as he crafted the iconic
building, and this private experience ends with a silver-tiered high tea paired with a bottle of Parliamentary Librarian’s Gin.
How has Australia’s tourism offerings evolved over the pandemic?
Creativity is bustling in every nook and cranny of Australia’s alleyways. Throughout the pandemic, numerous tourism operators have continued to innovate and evolve, and this comes to life in our artisanal coffee, cocktail and restaurant scene as well.
In March 2021, for instance, Opera Kitchen at the iconic Sydney Opera House reopened with a brand new approach – transforming into a diverse and vibrant market food hall destination with an Italian-influenced bakery and pasta bar, as well as a Japanese-influenced kitchen serving ramen and poke bowls, serving up good food and great views of Sydney Harbour.
Numerous other food and wine establishments have creatively integrated sustainability into their concepts – for example, at the zero-carbon street food restaurant Atiyah in Melbourne, which was launched during the pandemic in November 2020, guests can view numbers showing the carbon emissions being saved with each dish and drink.
In addition, a suite of positive-impact tourism experiences have arisen during the pandemic, with various eco-friendly accommodation options and tours helping travellers explore regenerative trips.
Guests can get involved at Arkaba Conservancy in South Australia’s immense outback, where they can hike to spot emus, quolls and kangaroos – a percentage of profits fund conservation projects and you can accompany ecologists in the field. At Mornington Wilderness Camp, all proceeds from stays go into protecting wildlife in the Kimberley region, and the lodge also runs a citizen science programme where guests can help with research and maintenance.
The arts scene in Australia has also continued to creatively evolve. Arts and culture lovers will find numerous galleries, theatre companies, alternative cinemas and museums, iconic Indigenous arts centres, and a multitude of eclectic street art trails across our various states.
Among Australia’s more unique cultural attractions is Tasmania’s iconic Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, the largest privately owned museum in the country. Here, visitors can check out ancient Egyptian funerary objects, a waterfall of words, and even a machine that mimics the human digestive system.
But for a truly memorable MONA experience, nothing can beat Dinner with David, a private dinner with MONA’s founder and artistic mastermind – David Walsh – featuring delicious wines handpicked by David himself, and accompanied by private jet transfers and behind-the-scenes art tours.
What does this mean for both new and returning visitors?
As always, we are excited to introduce new visitors to our diverse and creative landscapes, experiences and people. From dramatic deserts to lush ancient rainforests and coastal cities fringed with golden beaches, we have beautiful scenery to unveil and wide-open spaces to explore.
Different states and cities offer a large range of fascinating and distinct experiences, and there’s a busy calendar of interesting events to check out in 2022 as well – including innovative and daring light festivals like Dark Mofo in Tasmania, or lively nature-based extravaganzas like the Bloom festival in South Australia that rings in the bountiful Spring flora.
Many Singaporeans love to return; 82% of Singaporean travellers are repeat visitors to Australia, and 72% have visited more than twice. This familiarity with Australia is a huge strength, and has remained an opportunity to encourage Singaporeans to explore new and less familiar Australian destinations now that they can travel here again.
We have opened new tourism experiences and places to stay in hidden corners of the country, refreshed cultural attractions that reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our people, and supported a thriving culinary scene featuring passionate chefs, brewers, winemakers and distillers with sustainability at the fore.
Returning visitors will not only be able to explore these new offerings, but enjoy new ways to experience iconic attractions – for instance, Taronga Zoo now features an elegant Australian eco-retreat, where guests can kangaroo- and koala-spot from their room while dining in sophistication at the on-site restaurant.
Of course, there’s also a whole ton of deeply experiential new tours, like Gay’Wu – The Dilly Bag Tour for Women, a five-day experience hosted by Yolngu women who will induct visitors into healing ceremonies while revealing traditional arts and medicinal native plants.
Traditionally what do Singaporeans opt for in Australia? Do you think they will be more demanding with the pandemic?
Singaporeans are extremely passionate foodies and frequently come to Australia for its myriad and rich food and wine scene. We expect that they will continue to have high expectations for our culinary scene, and are ready and excited to welcome them back to a world of terrific, creative and experimental foodie innovations.
We know they will certainly anticipate more sustainable and organic food options, especially post-pandemic – this is totally in line with Australia’s food scene, which is all about locally sourced and high-quality produce, with natural wine, craft beer and hyper-local spirits rising in the beverage scene, and more and more Indigenous-owned eateries showcasing native flavours and cooking techniques.
There’s also been a groundswell of non-alcoholic innovation.
After dark, visitors can soak in the atmosphere at weekend foodie night markets – for instance, Queensland’s tropical, year-round outdoor climate and bountiful fresh produce lends itself well to night food markets, and the Eat Street Weekend Market in Brisbane and the Miami Marketta on the Gold Coast are among the most popular.
Singaporeans will be able to find an excellent and diverse mix of world cuisine, from Turkish pita pockets and delicious Indian dishes to American-style burgers and Vietnamese baos.
For the shopaholics, there are also plenty of shopping-focused occasions like the Ebenezer Night Markets during summer in Adelaide, where the city’s most creative artisans come together to offer a unique range of crafts, jewellery, clothes, art and household items amid a well-lit alfresco setting to create a delightful outdoor shopping experience.
There continues to be a range of independent boutiques and unique stores and shopping opportunities, including Aboriginal arts and craft and sustainable pearls, across various Australian cities.
Finally, Singaporeans have traditionally enjoyed Australia’s array of fun-filled family-friendly activities.
The breadth and depth of kid-friendly spots in Australia continue to grow and become even more inventive: kids can check out Dino laboratories, miniature steam train rides, crocodile discoveries, mind-bending illusion maze worlds, and even Pooseum – a unique science museum dedicated solely to animal droppings!
As Singaporeans become increasingly interested in sustainable experiences, they can enjoy eco-friendly accommodation options that are great for families, like Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in New South Wales’ Blue Mountains – where staff bring kids on adventure hiking and bush survival courses, and the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort where kids can snorkel with manta rays and watch migrating humpback whales.
In this new era of global travel, we certainly expect that Singaporeans will demand greater choice in diverse, creative and sustainable tourism experiences.
We have worked with partners like Chan Brothers, UOB Travel, Klook and CheapTickets.sg, as well as Singapore Airlines and Qantas, to launch new experiences, holiday homes and packages that we believe will meet this demand.
Australia’s endless opportunities to get out into nature and explore abundant spaces have never been more precious, and we can’t wait to re-spark the Singaporean imagination and inspire Singaporeans to see Australia with fresh eyes.