News at 9: Australia scraps COVID-19 vaccination status declaration, Bhutan sets re-opening date and more

News at 9: Australia scraps COVID-19 vaccination status declaration, Bhutan sets re-opening date and more

Australia scraps vaccination requirement and Digital Passenger Declaration, Bhutan to Re-Open Borders for International Tourists in September and more in top news of the day.

Australia scraps vaccination requirement and Digital Passenger Declaration

​Travellers to Australia are currently required to be fully vaccinated with a recognised vaccine. No booster dose is required, and children aged 12 years and under are exempt. Children aged 12-17 are exempt when travelling with a parent/guardian who is considered fully vaccinated. Travellers are currently also required to complete a DPD, which can be started within seven days of departure and submitted before departure.

People travelling to Australia will no longer have to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status, following changes to the Biosecurity Act, which come into effect from midnight AEST on Wednesday 6 July 2022. On arrival in Australia, no testing is required except for South Australia, where a self-administered RAT must be taken.  The decision to welcome unvaccinated travelers in Australia marks the end of strict covid-based regulations introduced in the country during the pandemic and maintained for more than 2 years.

Bhutan sets reopening date and increases daily tourist tax

Bhutan will reopen for international tourists from September for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago, as the tiny Himalayan kingdom looks to revive its economy. Wedged between China and India, the country with scenic natural beauty and ancient Buddhist culture, took drastic early steps and banned tourism, a major source of income, in March 2020 when the first COVID-19 case was detected there.

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) said tourists would be allowed to enter from September 23. They will, however, be charged a Sustainable Development Fee of $200 per tourist per night, up from the $65 charged for three decades. Officials said the new fee would offset tourists’ carbon impact. Authorities said Bhutan had revised standards for service providers, such as hotels, guides, tour operators, and drivers.

Mauritius removes most of its COVID-19 restrictions

Mauritius, one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations in the world, has finally lifted a number of COVID-19 restrictions to boost tourism in the country. The South African nation had put a ban on public gatherings due to the pandemic. But now, the country has scrapped these restrictions along with removing a public mask mandate.

Masks mandates will still be in place for some indoor settings such as hospitals and trains. Bars and nightclubs have reopened with full capacity and restrictions on public gatherings have also been lifted. The government has also allowed picnics at beaches which were restricted until now.

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