While many countries are still struggling to overcome the uncontrolled Covid-19 case, Australia and New Zealand made history by opening a travel bubble on Monday (19/4/2021). The opening of the borders of the two countries will be the first after being closed for 400 days.
The quarantine-free trip provides a way out for families who have been separated all this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic . At the same time, the policy is expected to provide fresh air for tour operators affected by the pandemic.
Quoted from the Associated Press , the idea of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been discussed for months. However, that plan was postponed repeatedly due to the outbreak of the virus that resurfaced in two countries.
To mark this historic moment, Wellington International Airport paints many welcome signs on its main runway . Meanwhile, Air New Zealand ordered around 24 thousand bottles of wine which is offered as complimentary for adult passengers.
Air New Zealand CEO Carrie Hurihanganui said the airline, which previously served only two or three flights per day between the two countries, jumped to 30 flights this Monday. They carry about 5,200 passengers.
He said that today was a turning point and people were enthusiastic about the travel bubble . “You can feel it at the airport and see it on people’s faces,” he said.
The leaders of the two countries welcomed the implementation of the travel bubble which was considered a world-class arrangement because it aimed to open the borders of the two countries while preventing the spread of the virus.
“Today is a solution that benefits both Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern said her country welcomed the arrival of newly arrived citizens. “This travel bubble marks a significant step to reconnect the two countries to the world and this is one of the proud moments for all of us,” he said.
From Family Visits to Skiing Tours
The first day of the travel bubble , travelers have been queuing at Sydney and Melbourne airports since morning. They were both excited and relieved to be back in New Zealand after more than a year of detention. Some went to visit family and friends, others to attend funerals.
The two countries manage to avoid the virus by creating strict restrictions with other countries in the world, including strict quarantine obligations for travelers returning from other countries whose Covid-19 conditions are still rampant.
Australia has previously even allowed New Zealanders to travel to their country without having to be quarantined. However, New Zealand is taking a more cautious approach, calling for migrants from Australia to complete the full quarantine stage.
After today, the upcoming travel bubble will kick off for the ski season in New Zealand and many other tourist cities, including the ski resort of Queenstown.