Australian and Singapore governments are currently in talks to negotiate a travel bubble between the two countries, which could be in affect by July at the earliest.
The ambitious plan would be dependent on the ability of both countries to provide a proof of vaccination certificate, with hopes this deal will revitalise the flagging tourism industry and see the return of international students to universities, reports Fairfax.
Under the plan, vaccinated Australians and Singaporeans would be able to travel freely for work, study or holiday purposes without the mandated two-week hotel quarantine.
The arrangement could see Singapore become an intermediary country for those looking to come into Australia, which would help bring home the 40,000 or so stranded Australians waiting to return home. Those travelling to Australia via Singapore could also potentially do so by completing a two-week quarantine in Singapore before entering Australia.
In terms of travel time, the sovereign island is a mere seven hour and 45 minute flight from Sydney, or a five hour flight from Perth, with the city-state offering plenty of activities for food lovers and adventure makers alike. New Zealand could also be included in the Pan Pacific bubble as well, according to federal government sources.
Fairfax also reports that Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan has been in talks with his Singapore counterpart and says they are “very keen to work with Australia”.
“I’m scheduled to travel to Singapore in the coming months and this will be a key topic of discussions as we seek to explore a travel bubble with Singapore,” he said.
Singapore Airlines’ executive vice president of commercial Lee Lik Hsin has also hinted at a possible deal between the two countries. Speaking to press after discussions of a Singapore and Hong Kong bubble fell through due to rising infection rates, he listed Australia as potential travel partner.
“As far as other countries go … we still look forward to it and we certainly hope Australians and the Australian government think the same.”
Under current policies, only New Zealanders are able to fly into Australia, while bypassing quarantine measures. However, the deal has yet to be reciprocated to Australias, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison stating the decision is in the hands of the Kiwi government.
“If the New Zealand government doesn’t wish Australians to visit New Zealand and spend money in Queenstown or Wellington or other parts of the country, that’s a matter for them,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“But if Australians can’t go to Queenstown, I’m hoping they’ll go to Cairns.”
text by Jessica Wang, news.com.au