If you’re looking for a safe destination to enjoy your next overseas holiday, look no further than Fiji – according to the Australian government.
Over recent weeks and months, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) has been updating the travel advice for many of the countries listed on its Smartraveller website. The first destination for which the Australian government’s travel advice was downgraded to “Level 1 – Exercise normal safety precautions” after the pandemic was Fiji.
Fiji was reclassified as a Level 1 destination on 27 May 2022, and for several weeks was the only country in the world to enjoy this travel classification. This would indicate that the Australian government now considers Fiji to be the safest destination for Australians to visit.
Eight other countries have also been added to the Australian government’s list of very safe countries since the beginning of last week. The countries recently added to the green list were Denmark, Norway and Iceland, followed by Japan, French Polynesia, South Korea, Croatia and Palau.
Many other countries have had their travel warning level downgraded in recent weeks to Level 2, as DFAT is “no longer including COVID-19 in [its] assessment of travel advice levels, unless it poses a high risk to travellers in a destination.”
Current Smartraveller advice levels
As of 29 June 2022, there are now 9 countries at the lowest advice level. Meanwhile, 113 countries are currently at Level 2 with DFAT advising travellers heading to these places to “exercise a high degree of caution”.
36 countries are now classified as “reconsider your need to travel” (Level 3), while the Australian government currently advises citizens “do not travel” (a Level 4 warning) to 19 countries.
Here’s an overview of the countries currently listed with a Level 1, 3 or 4 travel advisory by the Australian government. Most of the remaining countries are now at Level 2, although the Australian government does not issue travel advice for every country or region.
These advice levels are current as of 29 June 2022 and are subject to change at any time. You can check the up-to-date advice for any destination, and read more detailed travel advice, on the Smartraveller website.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, the Australian government changed its travel advice for all overseas destinations to “do not travel”. This warning level remained in place for every country until late October 2021, just before Australia’s international border reopened to citizens and permanent residents.
Overall, the Australian government’s travel advice for most countries has been even further relaxed since October 2021. This reflects the easing travel restrictions around the world and reduced risk involved in overseas travel compared to even just a few months ago.
However, many countries that were listed at Level 1 before the pandemic are still at Level 2. There are also now 19 “do not travel” destinations compared to only 15 in November 2021 – mainly due to the war in Ukraine that began in February 2022.
Traditionally, the Australian government’s travel advice has been more conservative than other Western nations.
Travel insurance implications
While DFAT’s travel advisories are just that – advice – they do have real implications for travel insurance. Most travel insurers will not provide any coverage for travel to a destination classified as Level 4 (“do not travel”).
Some travel insurance policies, such as those offered by Southern Cross Travel Insurance and the complimentary travel insurance that comes with certain ANZ credit cards, also won’t cover travel to a Level 3 (“reconsider your need to travel”) destination.
You can leave a comment or discuss this topic on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum.