Destination / Wish You Were Here

All the countries proposing travel bubbles with Australia

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It's wishful thinking to start looking towards international travel bubbles when travel between Australian states hasn't yet resumed entirely, given coronavirus is still an active part of life.

Regardless, as we start to see our family and friends who live in Europe recommencing trips to Sicily and the Greek Islands, we can't help but wonder when it will be our turn.

So without further ado, here are all the countries and regions with potential or pending travel bubbles with Australia.

 

Travel bubble with New Zealand

A potential travel bubble with New Zealand was proposed earlier in the year, but we're yet to see this come to fruition.

Since the initial proposal in May, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that she is now looking to prioritise a travel bubble with other countries over Australia. She has said that New Zealand is now looking to open to the Cook Islands first - which makes sense given their proximity and zero coronavirus infections.

As it stands, it's more likely that individual states will see bubbles with New Zealand rather than all of Australian - given the current infection numbers in Victoria and to a lesser extent, New South Wales.

Prime Minister Ardern says that the decision is up to Australia and the collective behaviour of states under lockdown restrictions. New Zealand has a criteria in order to qualify for a travel bubble, and it's a question for Australia and the states as to whether we can rise to the occasion separately or together. Some suggestions have indicated that this state-based travel bubble could be here by September but Prime Minister Ardern has declined to attach a timeframe to this development.

Basically, watch this space.

 

Travel bubble with Hawaii

This one a long shot. While Hawaii might be happy to have us, it's unlikely that our government will be allowing recreational travel to anywhere inside the USA anytime soon. But here's what we know so far.

Hawaii's Governor David Ige has expressed interest in establishing travel bubbles with us along with Japan, South Korea and New Zealand - all the countries that have low infection rates. He's also asked for Hawaii to be viewed differently than the rest of the USA - which is reasonable given how well this island state has managed to deal with its case numbers.

As recently as late June our Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “in terms of mass travel and holidays to Hawaii and Thailand and America, that’s going to be a while still I think, like late 2021 or even longer.”

So, we might not be seeing a bubble with Hawaii just yet.

Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia is less than optimistic in her outlook, saying: “I’ll be most surprised if we see travel to the United States before the second half of next year”.

 

Travel bubble with Bali and greater Indonesia

There have been reports that Indonesia has plans for a travel bubble with Australia, China, South Korea and Japan.

Given that tourism from these nearby nations is a main source of income for Indonesia, it's not surprising that this country is keen to welcome tourists back.

Odo Manuhutu, Deputy Co-ordinating Minister Maritime Affairs and Investment in Indonesia said: “For the initial stage we are opening firstly to those four countries, and other countries will follow suit, and of course health protocols will be prioritised".

But we're yet to hear anything from the Federal Government on this one.

 

Travel bubble with Greece

Even before the EU decided that Australia was on the nice list, Greece was ready to welcome Australians with open arms.

Greece reopened its airports from July 1 and Australia was on a list of 29 nations that have been deemed safe, allowing us to skip the mandatory quarantine.

But unfortunately, international travel is still banned as a whole by the Australian government. And we haven't heard anything official from our government on whether this travel bubble will come to fruition at all.

 

Travel bubble with Japan

This was hinted at by Margy Osmond, CEO of Tourism and Transport Forum Australia.

Of potential travel bubbles, she said “the Pacific, and much more likely some Asian destinations like South Korea, Japan, and maybe Hong Kong and Singapore".

Australian PM Scott Morrison has also dropped hints of a potential bubble with Japan, but has not given a timeline. But he has spoken with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe about the potential for an arrangement, so we're more likely to see some movement here than with other countries.

 

Travel bubble with the European Union

While no "travel bubble" has been suggested per se, Australia is on the list of 14 nations that were recently granted unlimited entry to the EU.

Given our relatively low case numbers and regulated health measures, the EU made the decision to open its borders to us in an effort to stimulate tourism.

Unfortunately our government is holding tight to its ban on international travel for recreation. With Qantas discontinuing international flights until July 2021, this could be an indication of how long we'll have to wait to head over to the Northern Hemisphere.

 

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