The COVID-19 pandemic has struck tourism hard globally. Many countries are eager to revive tourism. Hong Kong and Singapore have reached a bi-lateral “air travel bubble” (ATB) agreement as early as 15 October 2020. However, due to the arrival of other waves in both cities, the launch date was postponed a few times. The target launch date in May 2021 was put off again. According to the latest government press release, the governments will review and decide the new launch date in early July 2021.
What is a (air) travel bubble?
It means countries or areas that have a better epidemiological situation forms a “bubble” and tourism is open within the bubble countries. Travellers inside the bubble would not need to undergo compulsory quarantine.
The earliest travel bubble in the world is formed in between the three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The “Baltic Bubble” was formed as early as May 2020. The borders of the three countries were open to each other. However, the programme was called off due to the worsening of the epidemiological situation.
Latest news on Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble
Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau started negotiating “travel bubble” with 11 countries in June 2020. Singapore is the first country that has reached to agreement.
The secretary of Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Edward Yau said on 11 Nov 2020, there are chartered flights designated for the travel bubble run by Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. The travellers from both sides won’t need to quarantine and there is no restriction on the places visiting.
Eligibility and requirements
Below are the 7 requirements of the travel bubble for travelling from HK to SG.
Here for flight information designated for the travel bubble.
Travel Bubbles Around the World
Below are the examples of travel bubbles worldwide.
1. Baltic Bubble
The three Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania launched the Baltic Bubble in May 2020. It allowed the citizens of the three countries to travel within themselves by rail, air and sea without restrictions. However, after 4 months, the programme was halted due to the epidemiological situation. It has been planned to restore in summer 2021.
2. “One-way” Travel Bubble of Australia and New Zealand
In 2020, residents from NZ can travel to Australia without quarantine. But when the Kiwi returns to NZ, one has to quarantine for 14 days. Meanwhile, no traveller from AU was allowed in NZ. However, from April 2021, the travel bubble between the two countries is fully open both-ways.
3. Singapore lifted restrictions to a certain countries
From September 2020, Singapore lifted bans for travellers from particular countries. And residents from those countries don’t need to quarantine upon arrival. They will only need a test at the airport. Those countries include Australia (excluding Victoria), Brunei, China (excluding Canton province) and New Zealand.
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