Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday that New Zealand will start a non-isolated “travel bubble” with Australia at 11:59 pm on April 18.
Why it matters: New Zealand tourism official Chris Roberts and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce director Michael Barnett told Axios that the plan could serve as a model for other countries.
- Roberts, CEO of Otroa Tourism, said it will provide a blueprint for international travel and trade, noting that the aviation industry has been preparing for this with the governments of both countries in the past year.
What are they talking about:”The bubble will promote our economic recovery and represent a world-leading arrangement that can safely open international travel while continuing to pursue strategies to eliminate and stop the virus,”
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference in Canberra, the Australian capital, that the Tasman River Cross-Border Travel Corridor “means more aircraft flying in the air, bringing more ground and Work in the air”.
- He said: “I believe that this is the first step we will take to return to normal, not only during this year, but even in the future.”
How it works: Arden said her government is implementing a framework to prepare for an outbreak, similar to a four-level alert system, which largely keeps the coronavirus out. She said that this involves three possible scenarios: “continue, suspend, and suspend” travel.
- New Zealand Health Minister Chris Hipkins stated that Australians who intend to travel to New Zealand will book a “green zone flight”, which means that “no passengers on this flight have come from anywhere outside of Australia in the past 14 days. “
For the record: With the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, Australia and New Zealand closed their borders in March 2020. Barnett, who is also the chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said that they took courage to do this and established a system to protect citizens.
- He said: “People are first, it has nothing to do with the economy, it has nothing to do with the people, and the economy is the result of all this.
note: Australia announced a “safe travel zone” last October, allowing New Zealanders to visit parts of the country without being isolated. It was later expanded to other parts of Australia. But Kiwi had to check the quarantine hotel it hosted when he returned.
- The travel bubble means that Australians and New Zealanders do not have to stay in these hotels in these two countries.
Game status: New Zealand was last diagnosed on February 28, when a COVID infection occurred in the community. No new cases were detected in Australia this week.
- Both New South Wales and Queensland reported locally acquired cases last week, which were related to a bachelor party in a bar near the Australian state border in NSW.
Between lines: Shaun Hendy, head of TePūnaha Matatini, a research center that advises the New Zealand government, said that since Australia is adopting similar elimination strategies and has an excellent surveillance system, opening travel corridors will be low-risk.
- Hendy said: “If an outbreak occurs in an Australian state, we will learn about it very quickly, and our government will have time to take measures to manage travel in any affected area.”
What to see: Tourism New Zealand interim chief executive Renéde Monchy said in an email to Axios that she does not expect the number of Australian tourists to return to pre-pandemic levels for some time.
- However, it is estimated that by the end of this year, the tourism bubble may bring about $1 billion in revenue to the economy.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include new details.