Because we don’t need any more negative news in the travel industry right now, we’re dialling up the aspirational message that while the Trans-Tasman bubble may not be happening in September as originally planned, it is still hoped to begin later in the year.
What did we expect to happen? This is 2020 after all. The unforgettable year that went from hero at midnight on January 1 to zero some time in mid-March.
Of all the talk in recent months about reciprocal travel bubbles with Australia, none have seemed more likely (and desired) than the Trans-Tasman bubble with our cousins over in New Zealand.
That was until Australia’s numbers went the wrong way in recent weeks and we began to experience our second wave, reaching lockdown 3.0 point yesterday when Melbourne was forced into stage 4 restrictions and a COVID-19 curfew until mid-September.
Speaking on New Zealand’s TVNZ1’s Breakfast, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said what is happening in Victoria was a reminder for Kiwi’s to stay vigilant.
“It’s incredibly difficult to watch to see our cousins over the ditch going through this, it’s also a message to us to continue to maintain our vigilance,” she said.
“In terms of repercussions for our wider plans around a trans-Tasman bubble, obviously that will be a long way off given what they’re experiencing right now.”
Asked about earlier talks about a bubble between New Zealand and Australia beginning as early as September, Ms Adern said.
“I can’t see how that could be even a remote possibility at this point,”
“One of the things that we set as criteria is things like seeing a country that’s free of community transmission. We know, of course, how much work it takes to get to that position and then to maintain it for a sustained period of time.
“So that’s part of our criteria and so obviously it is going to take some time, even on the Premier’s own admission, quite some time for them to get their cases down let alone be in a position of being free from community transmission for a period.”
Asked whether New Zealand’s ski fields had been hoping for the bubble to begin in September to bring Aussie snow lovers with it, Ms Ardern said that when she last visited the ski fields in the South Island she found that domestic tourism was already outperforming expectations.
“I do think that they’ve been surprised by the numbers of patronage, the number of New Zealanders, which is fantastic, who are visiting.” She said.
To finish on a more positive note, Auckland Airport has just announced plans to split into two zones, effectively enabling it to safely manage the flow of passengers once travel bubbles do commence.
For Kiwi’s, that commencement is coming soon with a reciprocal travel arrangement with the Cook Islands to be the first bubble out to be announced in the coming weeks.
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