Air travel is comatose now. Countries around the world are desperate to revive their economies, wrecked by the unforgiving Covid-19 pandemic. So talks of “travel bubbles” give hope to resuscitating air travel and economies.
I first heard of the term “travel bubble” earlier this year when Australia and New Zealand were in talks about forming a travel corridor between the two countries. Back then, they have both successfully brought down the number of Covid-19 cases. Safe, cross-Tasman travel is suddenly on the horizon again. Then all hell broke loose in Victoria State with a surge of new Covid-19 cases. Subsequently, New Zealand also experienced new clusters of Covid-19 cases, and Auckland was in lockdown a second time.
Since then, a travel bubble has indeed been formed between Australia and New Zealand, albeit a very limited one. Only New Zealanders are allowed to travel to Australia and to certain areas. New Zealand is still keeping their borders closed. So, any Australians will have to postpone any expectation of visiting New Zealand.
Singapore too, wants to establish travel bubbles with countries that have successfully managed their Covid-19 cases. It has unilaterally opened up to New Zealand and Brunei travelers to visit Singapore in the hope that these countries will open up their borders to Singaporeans. Alas, this welcoming gesture is not reciprocated presently.
It is obvious that Singaporeans are feeling travel-deprived. Meals on board a stationary Singapore Airlines plane and tickets on cruises to nowhere have all been snapped up in record time. While some may scoff at these limited “travel” experience, it is obvious they fill a void now. With little or no domestic travel to speak of, Singaporeans are no doubt feeling angst at being confined on a little island. Gone are the days of weekend getaways as many vacations spots were a short hop away by air then.
Yet, hopes are there that we can get to travel again before the end of the year. Singapore has concluded a travel bubble agreement with Hong Kong – though details are still being ironed out. Hong Kong was one of the top destinations that Singaporeans travel to. Will this new travel bubble be as popular? That remains to be seen. Still, it is a small, but positive step forward.
Incidentally, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok are the most popular destinations Singaporeans want to travel to. Unfortunately, these places are still closed to Singaporeans. Although Thailand has opened up a Special Tourist Visa for Singaporeans, this is still not ideal. This visa requires visitors to stay a minimum of 90 days and show proof of ample financial means to support their sojourn while in Thailand.
So, will you visit Hong Kong, given that it’s only destination on the table right now? Or would you rather wait out till a destination of your liking is opened up before travelling? Where is your choice destination? Tell us!
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