The pandemic has thrown the future of international travel into question, as countries have taken drastic steps to ensure the safety of their citizens. In most cases, that has meant closing borders and imposing 14-day quarantines on incoming travelers.
In determining the best path forward, New Zealand and Australia are considering a unique solution that would allow for tourism to return at a slow pace while still maintaining a high level of control: a “travel bubble” between the two nations.
The “travel bubble” or “travel corridor” between Australia and New Zealand would allow international travel between the two countries but restricting tourism from everywhere else. Australians make up nearly 40 percent of New Zealand’s incoming tourist population, and New Zealanders make up 15 percent of Australia’s international visitors.
Both Australia and New Zealand received global acclaim for the way they handled the coronavirus outbreak. Both countries shut their borders to international travelers in March.
Experts believe the “bubble” is likely to be rolled out in August, just in time for New Zealand’s ski season, but the idea is still at its very early stage. More health measures include testing, customs and immigration checks, and quarantine rules.
While the exact parameters of the plan haven’t been figured out yet, it could prove to be a model for the rest of the world as they emerge from the pandemic and try to carefully navigate the waters of international tourism.