Australia’s future travel bubbles: Where you could go next

 

The much-anticipated bubble allowing quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand is set to kick off on April 18

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the agreement as a "win-win" that would mean more planes in the air and more jobs on the ground.

As eager travellers get ready to start planning their trips to NZ, we look at where Australia's future travel bubbles could be.

THE COOK ISLANDS

Australians might be able to take advantage of the next travel bubble that is currently being set up between New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last week that the two nations were working towards a travel bubble by May.

 

Ms Ardern said with the Cook Islands COVID-free, there was a risk that travellers departing NZ could carry the virus and that Kiwis had "a lot of responsibility" to get it right.

Both leaders had aimed for two-way quarantine-free travel by the end of March, but that did not happen due to harsh lockdowns due to Auckland's February cluster.

 

SINGAPORE

It's long been one of Australia's favourite holiday destinations and many are hoping the proposed travel bubble with Singapore will become a reality.

The Morrison government has said it could happen by June and that the arrangement hinges on nations agreeing on a digital coronavirus vaccination travel passport.

 

 

Speaking on Nine's Today last month, Minister Trade and Tourism Dan Tehan said he would be involved in key discussions with Singapore counterparts.

"One of the keys is making sure that we can get that vaccine passport validated," Mr Tehan said.

"That will enable that two-way travel to occur, hopefully without quarantining down the track

What we need to do is get people moving again with the confidence to travel."

Under the proposal, Australians who had received a COVID-19 vaccine would not need approval from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to travel to Singapore.

Singaporeans who had been immunised would be allowed to travel to Australia without undergoing two weeks in quarantine.

SOUTH KOREA

A travel bubble with South Korea is also a possibility for Australians.

South Korea is aiming for quarantine-free, international travel agreements to prop up the aviation industry struggling to survive amid a sharp fall in air demand.

"The country will push ahead with the signing of 'travel bubble' agreements for people to travel without restriction on the basis of the coronavirus situation (suitable for such pact)," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said during an emergency economic meeting last month.

The Minister said the South Korean government was set to launch a pilot program for a digital "travel pass" showing COVID-19 testing certificates.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Dan Tehan. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicole Cleary
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Dan Tehan. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicole Cleary

 

 

 

JAPAN

Both Australia and NZ are on Japan's list of priority nations for travel bubbles but there is still no confirmation on when this could happen.

Japan's tourism has plummeted 99 per cent since the pandemic began and the nation has lost out on the chance to host thousands of visitors for the 2020 Olympics.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed last October that he was having discussions with Japan, but that it could be a long time in the making.

"Further afield, places like South Korea, Singapore and Japan, we have had good discussions with them but I think that is a bit further off," Mr Morrison said.

"We have to go cautiously on this, very, very cautiously. COVID-19 hasn't gone anywhere. It's still there, and it is no less aggressive today than it was six months ago."

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said last month he believed more bubbles will open up as the coronavirus vaccine rollout continues across the globe.

 

Originally published as Australia's future travel bubbles: Where you could go next


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