Coronavirus is into its second year and has been disastrous for the travel sector. Everyone wants to travel to see new places, interact with others to exchange views and to get acquainted with new cultures. The virus became a stumbling block. Some countries were keen to launch air travel bubbles for the vaccinated people. However, the erratic nature of the disease was a major hurdle. This was because of the virus resurfacing when least expected. Dan Tehan is a Federal Minister of Australia. He is hopeful of opening up travel bubbles once the country reaches the vaccination target set by the government.
In his opinion, people might have to wait until 2022.
News AU quotes Tehan saying: “The next three to four months will be trying for all of us but there is still a strong ray of sunshine.” He hopes that it could happen by Christmas. He realizes the difficulties of the tourism sector. They have struggled for the last 18 months. For many businesses, the assistance packages kept them afloat. In December last year there were possibilities of starting air travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand by 2021. That may not happen.
Reopening of New Zealand travel bubble was on the cards
Dan Tehan admits that right now, tourism is passing through a difficult stage. The economy of many countries depend on tourism.
Outsiders come to a place to relax and enjoy the local cuisine, get acquainted with the culture and take back memories. The businesses do get some relief through the business relief package. However, there are problems. The benefits do not reach areas that are outside of lockdown. That has to be set right. He added that reopening of the New Zealand travel bubble was very much on the cards.
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It seems other countries like the Pacific Islands and Singapore are eager to welcome Australians provided there is a reduction in the number of cases and the vaccination targets are met. News AU adds that Dan Tehan mentioned about the travel bubble with New Zealand, which was a success.
Success of travel bubbles would depend on ability to deal with the virus
Travel has to take off and coronavirus is the obstacle. The Pacific Islands and Singapore would love to have a travel bubble with Australia. Similarly for the United States. These can succeed provided there is a joint effort to deal with the virus. The UK currently has Australia on a “green list.” It has also modified its entry rules for those who arrive from the US or Europe. It has done away with hotel quarantine requirements for the fully vaccinated. News AU quotes the Tourism Minister saying: “We would welcome Chinese tourists back to Australia once we have this pandemic fixed.” He wants Chinese tourism to go back to the pre-pandemic levels.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks about travel to New Zealand
According to 7News AU, New Zealand plans to welcome vaccinated travelers from low risk countries from early 2022. This is what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced. It indicates a tentative relaxation of the country’s strict pandemic border controls. New Zealand has taken positive steps from day one to record one of the lowest rates of coronavirus infection among developed nations. This was possibly the result of its decision to close the borders to all non-residents in March 2020. The prime minister said the ultimate goal is to ensure quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated travelers. She admitted that New Zealand is not in a position to reopen in full.
New Zealand has yet to announce the gradation of low, medium or high-risk countries. Incidentally, its neighbor Australia is batting a number of outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant. This is a new development and it has resulted in Sydney and Melbourne going into extended lockdowns. Canberra could follow.
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