New Zealand will officially announce the date for the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble on Tuesday. Both Australia and New Zealand have been ironing out protocols over the travel bubble in recent months and seem to have reached an agreement. This time around, travelers from both countries will be able to access each other’s nation, with no quarantines needed.
According to Stuff, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce the final date of the opening of the bubble tomorrow, 6th April. The trans-Tasman bubble will allow passengers from Australia and New Zealand to visit each other’s countries with no quarantine on return. The bubble has been talked about since May last year, but faced setbacks.
Since October, Kiwis have been able to fly to select Australian states quarantine-free, opening up a one-way bubble, but need to quarantine on return (while Australians can’t fly at all). However, airlines and travelers have been campaigning for a two-way bubble to open for months. After a series of outbreaks in both countries and debates over how to police cases, the two sides seem to have finally agreed.
This isn’t the first time the announcement of the bubble has been in the news. New Zealand was slated to announce the easing of restrictions in late March but pulled back at the last minute, citing some issues to work through. However, April’s date will be much more firm, with PM Ardern hoping to give the public confidence to book their flights.
How does it work?
Like the one-way travel system currently in place, Australia and New Zealand will agree to a travel framework. Under this arrangement, travelers from select Australian states will be allowed into New Zealand and vice-versa. This means states could be added and dropped depending on the epidemiological situation.
There is no quarantine on both ends, making it a rare full travel bubble, allowing seamless travel on both ends. However, if cases tick up on either side, restrictions could quickly come into force and the bubble could be suspended altogether.
For those concerned about becoming stuck outside their home country, there is a risk. In case there is a rise in cases, the state-by-state bubble can pulled at any moment. This might mean waiting out the restrictions or returning home to strict 14-day quarantines. However, both countries have shown a swift ability to clamp down on rising cases to allow travel to continue.
Airlines ready to jump
In both countries, airlines are ready to jump at the surge in travel expected after the bubble commences. Qantas, Jetstar, Air New Zealand, and Virgin Australia will all ramp up their schedules after the announcement, happy to carry more international passengers. Moreover, airlines have also been planning new routes to cater to tourist demand.
Are you excited to travel under the trans-Tasman bubble? Are such travel agreements sustainable? Let us know in the comments!