Australians could be packing their bags for their next overseas adventure sooner than they think, according to travel experts.
More holiday destinations have been earmarked for potential travel bubbles as Australians get ready to dust off their passports for the first time in more than a year following the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand will welcome back Australians back for the first time in more than a year when the long awaited trans-Tasman travel bubble between the two countries begins on Monday.
More travel bubbles are on the cards with places such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea in the pipeline, along with some of our island neighbours in the Pacific.
Even winter holiday favourite Bali could also be on the cards – but comes with a cautious warning that 70 per cent of locals need to be vaccinated first.
Travel bubbles are fantastic. They’re going to enable us to get out and see the world which is what we love to do,’ travel expert Quentin Long told A Current Affair.
‘Singapore is probably the one we’re closest to getting up and running.
‘Following Singapore you’re looking at places like Japan, South Korea but more likely are the Pacific Islands – places like Fiji, Vanuatu, those sort of Pacific Islands which had had little cases and can open up to New Zealand first and then Australia.’
Vanuatu has recorded just three cases of the virus while Fiji has 68 cases and two lives lost.
Indonesia is surging ahead with its bold travel bubble plans for Bali, which was visited by more than one million Australians each year pre-pandemic.
Green zones have been proposed for the Balinese districts of Sanur, Nusa Dua and Ubud where Australians can potentially stay.
Empty hotels on the once thriving island are being used as makeshift vaccination centres.
‘There’s a solid plan that 70 per cent of the population must be vaccinated,’ chef and former Australian ex-pat Dean Keddell said.
‘It’s a little bit of a grey zone depending on what you read. I believe between July and October, somewhere around there. But the objective is as soon as possible.
Francisca Handoko from Bali’s Hotel Association is ‘positive’ the travel bubble will happen with not just Australia but also Singapore and then United Emirates, China, and the Netherlands.
But Mr Long warned the federal government could reject a proposed travel bubble with Bali if it’s opened up to other countries.
‘If Bali opens up to China and Russia and the Australian government doesn’t feel they have enough protection with those visitors, they won’t open the bubble,’ he said.
‘Realistically, I don’t see us opening any more travel bubbles in 2021 because of the delay in the vaccine rollout here.
‘We can’t go to Singapore or Bali until we are vaccinated and vice versa, so until we get mass vaccination we won’t be able to open other travel bubbles.’
Insurance Council of Australia has warned anyone planning an overseas holiday to check the coronavirus conditions of their travel policy.
The only country considered safe, at this stage, is New Zealand,
Plans for Australia’s borders to be opened up hit a major hitch this week when Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted the government is unlikely to meet its vaccination rollout targets due to a series of ongoing delay and hinted overseas travel may be some time off.
‘Around the world it is still a very dangerous situation because of COVID,’ Mr Morrison said.
Source : DailyMail UK, 15th April, 2021