Published on June 1, 2020.
Strict border controls, travel bans, and quarantine measures have impacted the travel industry in unprecedented ways. Never before in our history has an event single-handedly taken down every aspect of travel and hospitality at such a global level. As governments are trying to restart their economies, many have decided to form travel bubbles as a possible solution in order to kickstart tourism in their country.
What is a Travel Bubble?
A. Travel bubbles or travel bridges are groups of countries that have agreed to open their borders to each other. People can move freely within the bubble, while not letting anyone else enter from the outside. Travel Bubbles are an extension of social bubbles where people expand their quarantine zones to include more people they consider safe.
The bubbles are being set up between neighboring countries who have brought their coronavirus outbreaks under control, with a similar number of cases and similar responses to the epidemic thereby creating low-risk travel.
Which countries are creating Travel Bubbles?
Australia and New Zealand were the first countries to talk about creating a travel corridor between the two nations. Both countries’ borders are still closed for the moment, but the two governments are in discussion on how to proceed once it will be safe to reopen the borders.
The Baltic countries–Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania–have already reopened their borders to each other with their citizens and residents free to move between the three nations. All arrivals from outside the travel bubble will be subject to a mandatory two-week self-quarantine.
Germany is also planning to reopen its borders with France, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland on June 15, as long as the rate of infection remains low and manageable.
The Czech Republic is planning to reopen its borders with Austria, Slovakia, and Croatia on June 8.
The Nordic countries–Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland–are in the process of starting their own travel bubble, leaving Sweden out for the moment as it’s still considered high risk.
Beijing is considering expanding its travel bubble to cover mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Vietnam and Thailand are also in discussion on creating their own travel bubble.
Hungary and Romania have opened their borders with each other.
Why Travel Bubbles?
These travel bridges are the first step to see if the virus can be contained while relaunching travel and tourism. If the rate of infections remains low or even better at zero, the bubble can be expanded further and include additional countries.
BBV Editorial Note: Please visit government websites for the latest Covid-19-related travel updates.
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