Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travellers from February 21 in a further relaxation of pandemic restrictions announced Monday.
Australia imposed some of the world's toughest travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents in March 2020 to prevent them from bringing COVID-19 home.
When the border restrictions were relaxed in November in response to an increasing vaccination rate among the Australian population, international students and skilled migrants were prioritised over tourists in being welcomed back to Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his senior ministers agreed on Monday that the border would reopen to all vaccinated visas holders from February 21.
Morrison said visitors must have proof of vaccination. He referred to Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic being deported by the Australian government last month because he was not vaccinated against coronavirus.
Events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message, I think, to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter into Australia, Morrison said.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said visitors who could provide proof of a medical reason why they could not be vaccinated could apply for a travel exemption.
Tourist operators have been lobbying the government to bring tourists back sooner. The southern hemisphere summer is in its final month.