FILE PHOTO: A largely empty domestic terminal at Sydney Airport is seen after surrounding states closed their borders on New South Wales in response to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, Dec. December 2020. REUTERS / Loren Elliott

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s international borders may not fully reopen until mid or second half of 2022, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on Friday, a blow to airlines and the tourism sector.

Asked in a Sky News interview when the borders might open, Tehan said, “The best guess would be in the middle to the second half of next year, but as we’ve seen during this pandemic, things can change . “

Tehan said he hoped more travel bubbles could be opened, similar to the one between Australia and New Zealand.