Updated 19 January 2021: According to recent news, quarantine-free movement between Australia and New Zealand is still planned for April 2021. This is despite caution over the new COVID-19 strain and Government discussions as to whether Australia will re-open its international border in 2021. New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister has reaffirmed plans to establish a two-way travel bubble with Australia by April 2021.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has flagged the possibility of an Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble to commence in early 2021.
The travel bubble will allow travel between the two countries without quarantine. Currently, people in Australia can travel to New Zealand but a quarantine period must be met on arrival.
Several Australian states have already been offering quarantine-free travel to New Zealanders, but this has not yet been reciprocated and New Zealanders visiting Australia must quarantine on their return.
The Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble | A first step towards international tourism
Our migration agents at Interstaff were very pleased to hear the news. The travel bubble will encourage businesses to reinstate travel arrangements between the two countries with greater confidence.
It will also help people who may have been waiting for travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to ease before seeing family in New Zealand and vice versa.
Tourism Australia Head, Philippa Harrison said, “This is excellent news for the tourism industry. It’s not a silver bullet but it’s a terrific start that that will help us understand how Australia can re-open to international inbound tourists more widely. New Zealand is a great first run up.”
It is indeed a significant first step towards restoring international travel and tourism. Read about Australia’s plans for further travel bubbles to open here.
The Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is also expected to bolster both country’s economies following the pandemic. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s chairman, John Hart believes the travel bubble could boost Australia’s economy by $70 million a week.
When will the Australia – New Zealand Travel Bubble start?
At this stage, the travel bubble is planned to commence in April 2021, however Ms Ardern emphasised this would depend on several conditions, such as:
- 28 consecutive days without community transmission across Australia
- Procedures to ensure air crews and passengers are kept separate from flights from countries with high infection rates – read about Australia’s system for managing arrivals from quarantine-free flights here.
A start date has not been confirmed and it is yet to be seen how recent COVID-19 outbreaks could delay travel-bubble plans. Plans to start the travel bubble earlier were derailed by Melbourne’s Coronavirus outbreak in past months.
Ms Ardern said approval was needed from the Australian Government to change the biosecurity order to allow Australians to travel to New Zealand once a travel bubble start date is confirmed.
Australia and New Zealand remain Attractive tourist destinations in the COVID-19 Era
The world is looking to Australia and New Zealand’s travel bubble as an example of how international travel can re-open in a controlled and measured way.
Australia and New Zealand have remained attractive tourist destinations throughout the pandemic due to their ability to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Both countries also offer opportunities to explore natural attractions in large open areas, giving travellers the option to avoid crowded areas – a common concern since the onset of the pandemic.
Interstaff | Over 30 years of Australian visa experience
We hope these updates are helpful. You may also be interested in our other Australian immigration articles:
Part 1: Federal Budget Insights: The Future of Australia’s Migration Program
Part 2: Critical Work and Compassionate Travel | Migration in the COVID-19 Era
Part 3: Sponsoring Highly Skilled Migrants | The Global Talent Program
Other Insights | COVID-19 Vaccination and International Travel
If you have any queries about your visa circumstances or options, we encourage you to get in touch with Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents. Simply contact [email protected] or +61 8 9221 3388 (or National Free Call 1800 449 858).