Australia is in discussion with nations including Japan, South Korea and Singapore about the possibility of reopening international holiday travel.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the talks over the past week, that have also included some South Pacific nations.

He told reporters in Queensland on Sunday that the plans would build on an existing agreement to allow New Zealanders to visit parts of the country without having to go into quarantine.

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Tourists from New Zealand will be permitted to visit NSW and the Northern Territory from Friday, October 16, marking the first move to reopen Australia’s international borders that were closed in March.

“We are already talking to those in the Pacific family, I have had a number of discussions with Pacific leaders this week,” Mr Morrison said.

“There are also discussions I have had with the Prime Minister of Japan, the foreign minister this week has been talking to the Prime Minister of Singapore, I’ve also had discussions with the president of South Korea.

“There are countries that have performed well on the health front and Australia and those countries are one of a handful that have had the same level of success.

“But we have to go cautiously on this, very, very cautiously. Covid-19 hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s still there – it’s no less aggressive today than it was six months ago. We need to keep the habit of Covid-safe behaviours.

“Covid-19 hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s still there, and it is no less aggressive today than it was six months ago.”

His comments raise the prospect Europe and the United States being excluded until 2022 unless a Covid vaccine is available.

Mr Morrison said Queensland won’t be included in the travel bubble plans.

“The reason they won’t be able to come to Queensland is there is still a requirement for a two-week quarantine in Queensland,” he said, explaining that allowing international trips to Queensland would prevent Australians returning home due to the cap on hotel quarantine.

“When that is no longer necessary – great – I think that will be tremendous for the Queensland tourism industry.”

He said the border reopening should be based on juggling health and the economy.

“Borders don’t protect you from the virus, the virus moves,” he said.

“If infections are created here in Queensland, or anywhere else for that matter, it is the testing and the tracing regimes, and of course social distancing and other Covid-safe behaviours that are really necessary.

“We only want borders to be there for as long as they have to be and only for medical reasons.

“There’s no quibble with the border, the issue is they should be only be there as long as they have to be because you’ve got to balance the economics with the health.”

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says he hopes Australia will have a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand by the end of next year.

From next Friday NSW and the Northern Territory will begin allowing New Zealanders to travel there without having to quarantine, with Mr Birmingham telling The Sun-Herald discussions on making it reciprocal were still ongoing.

“Work continues on how we can facilitate two-way COVID-safe travel between Australia and New Zealand, and I hope that we can see a reciprocal arrangement of quarantine-free travel with New Zealand by the year’s end,” he said.

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