(1:20 a.m. AEST) -- Australian policymakers have announced tentative plans to allow fully vaccinated Aussies to travel internationally as early as November.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian government plans to end its sweeping ban that has restricted the ability of Australians to leave their own country in favor of embracing vaccine passports that will allow for the resumption of international travel.
The plans -- announced late Wednesday and due to be hammered out in the coming days -- would offer a travel pass linked to the digital Australian Immunization Records that can be downloaded to smartphones to aid in travel.
In addition, the government announced plans to allow international travellers into Australia once again, though it has yet to hammer out what vaccines will be recognized and develop a system by which foreigners can show proof of vaccination. Currently, Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
Despite these uncertainties, Wednesday's announcement is a positive step for Australians looking to travel beyond their own borders heading into the popular summer travel season, and could pave the way for the return of Australia's beleaguered cruise industry, which has remained largely shuttered since March of 2020.
Domestic cruise operator Coral Expeditions has already announced an extension of it summer cruise season, adding five additional departures in South Australia between December 2021 and January 2022.
The sailings, operating roundtrip from Adelaide, further expand Coral Expeditions' domestic cruise operations, which have been successfully running since October 2020.
Most large-ship cruise lines, including vessels operated by P&O Cruises Australia, have paused operations until at least December in Australian waters. P&O recently announced it would return to service with full vaccination mandates for all passengers and crew.
Some cruise lines, mostly North American brands that typically visit Australia during the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere, have already cancelled their entire 2021-2022 seasons down under.
Cruise Critic will update this article as more information becomes available.