It’s finally happening: ScoMo says Aussie officials are looking into relaxing travel restrictions for travellers from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and some provinces in China.
But you see, those talks usually weren’t officiated from from the Australian side, with the government firm in telling us not to expect any international travel until 2021. That is why it’s so damn exciting that Scott Morrison himself is now talking of negotiations over potential travel bubbles with low-risk countries in Asia and the Pacific.
Where we’re currently at with ‘travel bubble’ chat
Australian citizens and permanent residents are currently banned from leaving the country and no international travellers are being allowed in, except for those on a short list of exemptions, or travellers from New Zealand to certain states. (Although it’s a one-way street with Australians unable to visit NZ).
The beginnings of international travel in Asia is returning, with a Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble launching on November 22.
Under discussion for bubbles with Australia are Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as Fiji and New Caledonia. These destinations, under new arrangements, could be on the cards as possible travel destinations for Australians, and vice versa.
What ScoMo says
The Prime Minister has now given us a taste of potential impending freedom.
“We continue to hold these discussions with countries like Japan, we have had them before with Korea, specific nations of course, New Zealand has already been opened for travel into Australia without quarantine arrangements,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
“I think we proceed cautiously. There are countries that are doing far better than what we are seeing in Europe and the United States … The situation in Europe and the United States is awful”.
“And obviously that presents great risks for people coming in from those parts of the world to Australia, but out of many parts of Asia, particularly in North Asia, places like Taiwan and I would also say provinces of China, Singapore, we, you know, are looking at what alternative arrangements could be had to channel visitors through appropriate quarantine arrangements for low-risk countries,” he continued.
The considerations are in discussion after Australia has gone three days without any locally acquired cases of Covid-19, according to Morrisson. The cases we do have were detected in quarantined locals who had recently returned from overseas.
But before you start packing your bags, the latest talks are still ‘exploratory’ and travellers shouldn’t expect to be jetting off just yet, according to ABC.
Regardless, it’s a ray of hope, especially considering 2020 has been shattering for tourism industries around the globe, but in particular, Aussie tourism as we still recover from the bushfires. Hopefully, plans can form in time for peak summer season.
In the meantime, there’s plenty to do on home soil. If you’re keen to jump on a plane and fly over an actual sea to a destination, check out these five unforgettable road trip itineraries for Tassie.
(Lead Image: Unsplash / Dan Freeman)