A trip to the South Pacific might not be as far away as you think, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussing new bubble options.
And now for some promising news.
A pathway to opening up to the South Pacific could soon eventuate from the Australia-New Zealand Leaders Meeting in Queenstown over the weekend.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Sunday 30 May, ahead of formal talks on Monday 31 May.
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The in-person meeting on Sunday was significant in the COVID-19 era, as trumpeted by Mr Morrison.
“The simple fact that Prime Minister Ardern and I can meet face to face highlights our countries’ success in controlling the spread of the pandemic,” he said.
High up on the agenda was re-engaging with the Pacific, as it’s the issue Ms Ardern said she would most like to progress.
“New Zealand is looking outward to map out our plan and strategy for reconnection. Our borders are quite closely linked. So I’d like to have a conversation around what does our region’s reconnection with the world look like,” she said.
As the Pacific’s powerhouse nations, Australia and NZ are eager to see the region recover from COVID-19.
Their tourism-dependent economies have been shattered by border closures and the trans-Tasman allies have committed to a vaccine rollout that could pave the way to a re-opening.
Meanwhile, as always, Alan Joyce is looking ahead
On Monday morning Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Sunrise that he was “excited” by the development and “optimistic” that it could actually happen.
“We have the aircraft and we have the people,” he said.
“The more bubbles the better, because we can activate more aircraft, get more people back to work and help the tourism industries in the countries that are very dependent on tourism.”
It’s no secret that the airline boss is keen to get the international travel industry moving again.
Recently Alan Joyce was pushing for the vaccine rollout to happen faster, in the hope that the reopening of international borders can happen before mid-2022, which is the current ETA from the Australian Government.
In a bid to boost vaccine numbers in Australia, Qantas has revealed it is thinking about rewarding travellers who get both doses of the coronavirus vaccine with points and vouchers to use towards their next trips.
Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said as a large company that relies on travel, the airline is eager to get its planes back in the air, as well as wanting to assist the government with the national vaccine rollout.
On 17th May New Zealand opened its borders to the Cook Islands in a two-way quarantine-free travel bubble. It would be great to see more of the world open up to Australia too.
Let’s cross our fingers and toes for the South Pacific bubble and a roadmap to restart soon.
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