As countries race to vaccinate their residents, travel agents are expecting a surge in demand for overseas trips if the government opens up a two-way or more travel bubble. If and when a decision is made, airports and airlines are ready to go, and businesses will welcome the inbound international visitors.
Also known as travel bridges, travel bubbles allow for quarantine-free land-air-or-sea travel between two countries where the coronavirus has been successfully contained.
Tavel bubble could be a game changer for some destinations, especially for places which has a similiar approach to the global pandemic and low level of COVID-19 in the community.
Pandemic control is still the key to travel bubble. According Ong Ye Kung, the Singapore’s Transport Minister, as a place, as a territory or as a country, the infection control track record continues to be the key outcome that we need to look at. And if they’re successful, we should continue to open up to them and form air travel bubbles with them.
Timeline, Some of The Articles, News, and Updates on Travel Bubble
December 1, 2020
Date of inaugural flights under HK-Singapore Air Travel Bubble deferred to beyond 2020. In view of the recent developments of the COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong, the Governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Singapore have decided to defer the commencement of the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB) to beyond 2020
March 15, 2021
The governments of Australia and Singapore are currently in talks to negotiate a travel bubble between the two countries, which could be in effect by July at the earliest.
The ambitious plan would be dependent on the ability of both countries to provide a proof-of-vaccination certificate, with hopes this deal will revitalise the flagging tourism industry and see the return of international students to universities, reports Fairfax.
Under the plan, vaccinated Australians and Singaporeans would be able to travel freely for work, study or holiday purposes without the mandated two-week hotel quarantine.
March 17, 2021
Taiwan will form its first travel bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic with Palau. The travel bubble will start in April, with two flights a week carrying 110 tourists each from Taiwan to Palau.
Travellers must present negative coronavirus tests and join tour groups, in which they will be asked to follow social-distancing rules such as only visiting designated sites and hotels. Taiwan will also take tourists travelling in groups from Palau.
March 21, 2021
New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria are already open to New Zealanders, quarantine-free, and the New Zealand government is considering reciprocating so travellers can come here without spending 14 days in an isolation facility.
March 26, 2021
PM Jacinta Ardern has told the press that more time is needed to set up the two-way travel bubble with Australia that has been bursting since October 2020. She said that, while quarantine-free travel with Australia was a priority for New Zealand, her government would need to proceed with caution.
Ardern said arrangements around contact-tracing of Australian travellers while they are in New Zealand, the costs of managing isolation facilities in case of infection, and airline and airport preparedness would need to be ironed out before quarantine-free travel could begin.
April 6, 2021
The New Zealand and Australian Governments have confirmed a quarantine-free travel arrangement will commence on 19 April, 2021, meaning Australians will be able to visit New Zealand without undertaking managed isolation.
- Press Releases, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region : Date of inaugural flights under HK-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (01.12.2020)
- Australia eyes Singapore travel bubble by July, ahead of transtasman link (NZHerald, 15.03.2021)
- Taiwan to open first travel bubble, with tiny Palau (Reuters, 17.03.2021)
- Taiwan to Start Travel Bubble with Palau in April (Travel+Leisure, 22.03.2021)
- Hong Kong Singapore Air Travel Bubble (Cathay Pacific, last update December 1, 2020).
- New Zealand not ready for two-way travel bubble (Travel Daily, 26.03.2021)
- Trans-Tasman travel bubble to start on 19 April, Jacinda Ardern announces (The Guardian, 06.04.2021)