Asia Minute: Australia and New Zealand Launch Travel Bubble

Apr 7, 2021

Tourism is slowly returning to some parts of the world, and so is the concept of “travel bubbles.” That’s the ability to visit certain countries without quarantine, and a new one’s about to get underway in the Asia Pacific.

Australians will soon be able to travel to New Zealand without having to quarantine.

New Zealanders have been able to visit most parts of Australia that way since October but now that the move is reciprocal, it’s a “travel bubble.”

Residents of one country traveling to the other will go through the airport in a separate zone.

Everyone will wear masks, and anyone showing cold or flu symptoms won’t be allowed to board the plane.

And if there’s an outbreak in either country, conditions could quickly change—the bubble could even burst.

But both countries have been relatively successful in dealing with the coronavirus.

This summer, Australia’s daily new case count peaked at 715—and its seven day average has fallen to 10.

New Zealand’s daily new case count peaked about a year ago at 89—its seven-day average is now 4.

For New Zealand in particular, there’s an economic draw.

Before the pandemic, 40% of the country’s international visitors came from Australia—contributing nearly $2 billion to the economy, according to government estimates.

Travel bubbles have been under discussion among other locations that have had few cases of coronavirus, including Singapore and Taiwan.

In fact, Taiwan helped launch the first travel bubble just last week, linking it with the Pacific archipelago nation of Palau.