SINGAPORE – As airlines emerge tentatively from hibernation, and governments pow-wow over easing travel restrictions, the talk now is of bubbles, spaces in which citizens will be able to cross international borders with minimal or no quarantine periods.
An early example was the corridor set up on 1 May between China and South Korea, which requires travellers to undergo a short quarantine and at least one negative coronavirus test in each country.
Flights between Australia and New Zealand are likely to start in September after an earlier Canberra Airport proposal to launch Canberra-Wellington flights as soon as July received a cool response in New Zealand.
Travel marketing specialist Sojern said there is also the potential of a travel bubble that would include Hong Kong, Macao and some mainland Chinese cities, while Singapore has talks underway with South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and China to establish "green lanes" for travel.
Singapore Airlines this week announced it is resuming flights to several destinations in June and July and increasing the number of flights for some of its other services.
The airline will be flying to 27 cities in June and July, up from the 15 that had been earlier announced for June.
The reinstated scheduled services include flights to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Christchurch, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Osaka, SIA said.
Also, dreaming of bubbles are several South Pacific nations.
New Caledonia Tourism, Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, Tourism Solomons and Tahiti Tourisme are aligning behind a potential South Pacific Travel Bubble.
The group’s objective is to forge collaboration and positive discussion between the national governments of the South Pacific and Australia, as well as relevant stakeholders throughout the region, and demonstrate there’s a strong appetite from the tourism industries in these countries/territories for a South Pacific Travel Bubble.
Andrew Cavallaro, Australian / New Zealand market representative, Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, said of the group’s lobbying, “Tourism is a vitally important source of employment and economic driver for our South Pacific neighbours, all of whom are heavily reliant on Australian and New Zealand visitors for their survival.
“We play a pivotal role in helping these Pacific islands find their feet again following the devastating impacts of Covid-19 and opening borders to establish a South Pacific bubble is undoubtedly the fastest and most effective means to helping them reboot."