Historic: Singapore and Hong Kong Will Launch Worlds First “Travel Bubble” Next Week

To keep tourism afloat during the pandemic, countries (and airlines) have had to be extremely creative. We’ve seen several countries pitch the idea of a “travel bubble” but implementation has not come to fruition…until now…

THE WORLDS FIRST “TRAVEL BUBBLE

Tourism is a considerable percentage of many country’s yearly GDP, so to lose it would be devastating. Understanding this, governments around the world have pitched the idea of “travel bubbles” in order to prevent total collapse. So what is a travel bubble?

Travel bubbles are essentially a partnership between countries that have had great success in containing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic within their border. In short…”you did well, we did well. Let’s reopen up our borders to each other and allow people to travel without having the requirement of quarantine on-arrival.”

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen:

  • Australia suggest a bubble with Singapore, South Korea, and Japan
  • Thailand suggest a bubble with China and;
  • The U.S. suggest a bubble with the U.K (specifically between New York And London)*

*Note: Both the US and UK have some of the highest rates in the world right now. In fact, the UK just banned leisure travel and went into full lockdown, so I’m not sure this is going to happen any time soon.

Interestingly, Singapore and Hong Kong just announced they have established the first travel bubble and flights will run from 22 November until 31 December 2020.

The flight schedule will be as follows:

RouteFlight #
Singapore – Hong Kong (Singapore Airlines)SQ890
Hong Kong – Singapore (Singapore Airlines)SQ891
RouteFlight #
Hong Kong – Singapore (Cathay Pacific)CX759
Singapore – Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific)CX734

SO WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE FLIGHT?

To be eligible for the Air Travel Bubble, you must:

  • Have no travel history to anywhere other than Hong Kong or Singapore in the last 14 days prior to departure
  • Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (test taken within 72 hours before departure)
  • Have a booking on a flight designated specifically for the Air Travel Bubble
  • Have the right to enter both Hong Kong and Singapore (e.g. visas or residency permits) and normal visa-free entry to Hong Kong and Singapore is also permitted

Flights will be initially limited to one per day into each city with a limit of 200 travelers on each flight. If COVID-19 infections stay the same (or decrease) in either city, the frequency of flights is expected to increase starting 7 December with two flights per day into each city.

COULD THE BUBBLE BURST?

Singapore and Hong Kong have done a phenomenal job containing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic within their border.

Singapore and Hong Kong’s coronavirus cases are extremely low and averaging single digits in recent days – mostly from returning residents. However, if Covid-19 cases rise, the travel bubble will be “suspended for two weeks,” according to both airlines.

FINAL STAMP

Singapore and Hong Kong just announced they have established the first travel bubble and flights will begin next week. I’m excited for both countries.

Although the US media doesn’t cover it, many countries around the world have returned to normal life.

For example, Singapore has already opened its borders to tourists from Australia, Brunei, mainland China, Vietnam and New Zealand. Additionally, Hong Kong is collaborating with up to 10 countries at the moment to establish a travel bubble including Japan and Thailand.

Meanwhile in the US…

Are you surprised that other countries have returned to pre-pandemic activities (aka normal life)? What do you think about the idea of a travel bubble?

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