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Australia’s $193 Million Tourism Bet Hinges on Return of Americans

Restarting an international travel economy that was completely shut down isn’t easy. Here’s how Australia is trying to do it—and the many challenges it faces. 

Qualia Pebble Beach pool.

Qualia Pebble Beach pool.

Photographer: Sharyn Cairns 

When Australia announced on Feb. 6 that, after two tightly locked-down years, it would officially reopen its borders to international tourism two weeks later, Chris Allison, Tourism Australia's acting general manager of the Americas, was caught somewhat by surprise. 

“We would have loved to have as much notice as possible,” he says, “But that’s not necessarily practical. We knew other governments only gave their tourism offices two to four weeks’ notice, too,” he explains.