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Coronavirus Australia: How tourists can keep track of Covid restrictions when state borders reopen

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How tourists can keep up with ever-changing and complex Covid restrictions as they head out after state borders finally open

  • New App Developed for Tourists to Track Covid Restrictions in Every State
  • KnowNotNo app is about uncertainty of travel in a Covid-limited world
  • Developer Matt McKinley hopes it will help travelers and the tourism industry










Matt McKinley has seen firsthand the devastating impact Covid-19 border closures have had on tourism.

The IT developer has long lived in Cairns in a North Queensland town that relies on tourists, which led him to develop an app for holidaymakers to keep track of the latest restrictions when they can finally return.

“People have lost confidence and they have lost a lot of money,” he told AAP.

Trips to the Great Barrier Reef have fallen by more than 50 cents after Australia’s national and state borders were first closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Keanu Ashwell, Matt McKinley, Scott Snowball, Josh Pinalli (all pictured) have launched the GoPassport app, which tracks evolving Covid restrictions for travelers while on the go.

The loss of the tourist trade has cost the Australian economy a lot of money. National annual visitor numbers show a drop in spending of $33 billion, or 42 percent, through March 2021.

And more than a year since the Covid restrictions began, even domestic travelers still fear that last-minute changes could leave them stranded at a state line or put an end to their plans.

That’s why Mr. McKinley’s IT company has developed an app called KnowNotNo that addresses the uncertainty of travel in a Covid-limited world.

Travelers enter their itinerary and the app keeps track of applicable rules at their departure and destination points, and sends alerts if anything changes before they leave or while they’re on their way.

It can be used all over Australia and in countries like New Zealand that share a travel bubble.

Travel to Queensland's Great Barrier Reef (pictured) has fallen by more than 50 cents since the pandemic hit Australia's shores in early 2020

Travel to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef (pictured) has fallen by more than 50 cents since the pandemic hit Australia’s shores in early 2020

The city of Cairns in Northern Queensland (pictured) relies heavily on international and domestic tourism, which has declined over the past 18 months

The city of Cairns in Northern Queensland (pictured) relies heavily on international and domestic tourism, which has declined over the past 18 months

Mr McKinley says it’s been especially difficult for travelers to track changing Covid restrictions during transit, so his program is scrapping information provided by state and federal authorities to provide immediate updates.

“We monitor government health websites and from there we inform people,” he said.

KnowNotNo sends three free alerts, but then requires a $7.99 payment to continue tracking a one-way ticket.

Mr McKinley hopes the app, which took about five months to develop, will help travelers and the tourism industry alike.

“There will be complexity in the future, it will not go back to how it used to be,” he said.

Vacationers can keep up with the latest Covid restrictions in each state via the KnowNotNo app (tourist pictured at Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays)

Vacationers can keep up with the latest Covid restrictions in each state via the KnowNotNo app (tourist pictured at Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays)

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