Travel Bubble for Australia and New Zealand

It bodes well for the approaching ski season Down Under and could be a model used in Europe as well to help people get to the mountains later in the summer if cases fall in Europe. No quarantine will be required.

Australian and New Zealand residents will be able to travel between the two nations without having to quarantine from 19th April.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced the move on Tuesday.

She described it as a “new chapter in Covid-19 recovery”.

Since October people from New Zealand have been allowed to enter most Australian states without quarantine, but this had not been reciprocated.

The Australian market is a significant one for the New Zealand winter sports industry.

About 1.5 million Australians visit New Zealand each year – about 40% of all international visitors.

Ms Ardern said she thought most people taking early trips would be going to see family and friends – but she added that the upcoming ski season would also be an attraction.

Mountain tourism in New Zealand has suffered a body blow from the international travel restrictions as we heard earlier from PlanetSKI reader, David Brown, who lives in Wanaka.

We reported on the impact of Covid-19 last ski season in Australia and New Zealand and we will be following events closely this year.

Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand. Image © PlanetSKI

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, welcomed the decision from New Zealand.

Australia has seen 909 deaths, while New Zealand has had 25.

As Europe grapples with a third wave and the UK is talking about international travel it is an indication of how things may look when Covid-19 cases fall.

Passengers travelling to New Zealand would need to have spent the previous 14-days before the flight in Australia only.

If they have any coronavirus symptoms they should not travel.

There may be pre-departure Covid-19 testing for people though this has not been decided.

All passengers must wear masks and give details to New Zealand authorities of where they will be staying and full contact details.

If cases emerge the travel corridor would be shut with immediate effect and likely with little, if any, warning.

Australia has previously halted travel from New Zealand twice.

This travel bubble is believed to be the second in the world – one opened up between the islands of Taiwan and Palau last week.

Other nations in the world, not least in Europe, will be looking on with interest as it is likely to be a model adopted elsewhere when conditions allow.

Innsbruck airport

Innsbruck airport. Image © PlanetSKI