In what was recently described as a possible template for international travel for the foreseeable future, the Australia – New Zealand reciprocal travel “bubble” is scheduled for introduction from 11.58pm on Sunday April 18th, NZ time.
In announcing the Trans-Tasman initiative New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern outlined that, upon implementation, her country would simply consider Australian states as other regions; strictly for the purposes of travel, as virtual extensions to its own territories. As such, any future COVID outbreaks could be dealt with on a state-by-state basis, with restrictions reintroduced as deemed necessary.
In the event of any future outbreaks however, each individual instance would be viewed closely with a view to averting possible travel disruptions where cases have clearly been well-contained.
What does this mean for Australian and/or New Zealand travellers?
After Sunday April 18th, Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand without quarantine in NZ and without a travel exemption to leave Australia.
Across the Tasman, similar freedoms will apply.
The threat of COVID continues to hang over our world however, so travellers must remain mindful of possible disruptions. The NZ government has warned of possible flight cancellations, should specific outbreaks occur in Australia and it has imposed a mandatory requirement for intended travellers to have spent at least the prior 14 days in Australia; a country considered to be safe.
Masks must be worn during the flight, airline crews will be subject to previous route restrictions and dedicated disembarking guidelines will be enforced upon arrival in NZ; strict rules perhaps, but small prices to pay for a road to normality.
Is this arrangement unique to Australia and New Zealand?
This is actually the second “travel bubble” in the emerging post COVID world, following the success of that which was agreed between Taiwan and Palau Island. Hopefully there will be many more to follow.
Apart from the renewed senses of freedom and family/social interaction, such arrangements form the basis for each country’s economic recovery, bringing millions – even billions – of tourist dollars into previously empty pockets, revitalising airline travel and multi-national sporting events; valued reminders of what was lost due to COVID-19.
Reactions from airlines
Qantas and Jetstar have already announced additional routes across the Tasman, due to commence from April 19th. Flights have been scheduled to most popular NZ destinations, departing from Australian capital cities and now from the Gold Coast.
Let’s hope that this is just the beginning.
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For more information on this or on any relating issues, contact the friendly immigration law experts – Sellanes Clark and Associates – specialising in all immigration matters.