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Aussies remain timid over Christmas travel

As thousands of Australians fly interstate for Christmas, a new survey has found many travellers remain concerned about borders being slammed shut.

More than six in ten travellers said they were discouraged from booking flights amid border restriction uncertainty, a survey commissioned by the Australian Airports Association found.

More than half of people were worried they would be placed into lockdown and forego their savings on lost flights and accommodation.

AAA chief executive James Goodwin said there was fear over the capricious border rules.

“There is a real fear among the travelling public that borders could close again as a result of the current Omicron strain and rising case numbers,” Mr Goodwin said of the research, a survey of 500 Australians who have travelled by plane in the past five years.

“There is going to be a long lag between the opening of state and territory borders and full consumer confidence when it comes to taking to the skies again.”

Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Chris Moy said border inconsistency resulted in a lack of trust from travellers.

“It’s much better if people are doing the same thing,” he told the Ten Network.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out a return to lockdowns, saying Australia must move forward and learn to live with the virus.

He is due to discuss the threat of the new Omicron variant with state and territory leaders on Wednesday as national cabinet deliberates over mask mandates and booster shots.

But Mr Morrison expressly ruled out any hard lockdowns on Tuesday, telling reporters the government would not go back to shutting down people’s lives.

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