While tourism minister Dan Tehan said that there’s “no rush to open the borders”, Australian travel industry heavyweights feel differently. Companies like Virgin, Qantas and Luxury Escapes are offering lucrative vaccination incentives with the eventual aim of getting international travel back on the agenda.
Virgin Australia have announced a series of prizes for those who get the jab, including the incredible chance to go into a lottery to become a Velocity Frequent Flyer Points Millionaire.
A Sydney to LA flight is only 44,800 points, so you can just close your eyes and imagine where a million points could take you.
The contest will open later this year, business class flights can also be won and plenty more prizes are expected to be announced.
A Virgin Australia Group spokesperson commented: “For simply rolling-up your sleeve and getting a COVID-19 vaccination, you could walk away with a share in tens of thousands of dollars of Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer prizes or be the lucky one to become a Velocity Points millionaire.”
“What the latest lockdown in Melbourne and the evolving situation in Sydney has taught us, is the sooner we can all get vaccinated, the sooner we can get on with our lives, without the constant fear and uncertainty that came with lockdowns, restrictions and closed borders.”
Luxury Escapes, one of Australia’s fastest growing travel companies, is throwing $200 million into incentives, offering $200 travel incentives for those who get vaccinated.
The vouchers are available now and can be put towards international travel and are available to the first million people who log into the website and provide proof of vaccination. You can can get more info on how to do that here.
Some of the sparkling international trips they can be put towards include a five-star escape at Maya Ubud in the Bali jungle, a 16-day river cruise through the heart of Europe or take a full 20% off a romantic couples escape in Lake Pukaki New Zealand.
Adam Schwab the co-founder and CEO of Luxury Escapes commented: “Australians are among the keenest travellers in the world, exploring the globe is in our DNA. The fact that our customers have been unable to get out there and do what they do best, is something many of us are really missing in our lives.”
These initiatives come a few months after Qantas announced its own vaccination incentives program, with the grand prize being a year’s worth of unlimited travel on Qantas and Jetstar and plenty of other rewards available when the program rolls out later this year.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce commented: “We have a vested interest in this, we want to do everything we can to ensure the borders domestically open and stay open and that we get international up and running.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hasn’t exactly been filling Australians with confidence about international travel, telling The Weekend Australian that the government would take the next six months to monitor the spread of COVID overseas and the effectiveness of vaccines, before making a decision on international borders.
Mr Morrison also refused to give any indication of what inoculation rate would be needed to reopen borders.
Tourism Minister Dan Tehan also refused to give any information on what levels of vaccination would be required for borders to open and also slowed hope of the Singapore travel bubble coming anytime too soon.
“It has been made very clear we will only create a bubble with Singapore when it is safe to do so and in the meantime we are looking at what would be the processes that would allow that to be as safe as possible.”
With little confidence from politicians and only 3.4% of the population currently vaccinated, travel companies seem to be alone in their pursuit to get international travel back.