Australia's new outbreak frustrates travel industry

Sydney has seen its worst day for COVID-19 cases this year after two weeks of hard lockdown.

New South Wales state reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired infections on Thursday (July 8).

This raised the prospect of a further extension of restrictions, and tightening the already harsh curbs on international and inter-state travel.

Officials are blaming illegal family visits for a growing cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Rodger Powell, managing director at consultancy Tourism and Hospitality Services Australasia:

"There's an increasing groundswell of dissatisfaction and frustration with not being able to travel with the complete lack of certainty...We are one of only two countries in the world where the citizens aren't allowed to leave the country, and the other is North Korea which is not one I'd want to be held up against."

Last year, when much of the world was in lockdown, Australia was successfully hosting cricket matches and tennis tournaments.

The economy also reopened earlier than expected in 2020, with more jobs now than before the pandemic.

But with the new virus outbreaks in recent weeks and a chaotic vaccine rollout, Australia is yet to announce any firm timeframe for international borders to fully open.

As crowds in London watch Wimbledon and the Euro Cup soccer finals, Australians confront new disappointments, with the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix canceled and holiday plans scuppered.

Sydney resident Nicole Powell booked five cruises when the industry reopened:

"And bit by bit they have just, you know, all been canceled. You know, which is really disappointing because I've been so looking forward to getting back to cruise ships and that lifestyle again."

She says she would welcome the idea of cruises that only allowed vaccinated people on board.

And her views are echoed by business owners, like Philip Koinis, director of Oxford Travel, who hope faster immunization would return some freedoms.

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