The Australian government is looking at the opportunity to open the border to Singapore to establish a travel bubble and a “Quarantine Gateway”.
A report in The Sydney Morning Herald mentions a plan driven by Tourism Minister Dan Tehan and Government Services Minister Stuart Robert would see a travel bubble open up between Singapore and Australia for holidaymakers, students and business travellers provided they are vaccinated.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the deal would allow Singaporeans and Australians who have been vaccinated to travel between the countries without quarantining.
The newspaper said Canberra is also hoping that people from third countries – such as international students, business travellers and returning citizens – could complete two weeks’ quarantine in Singapore before flying to Australia.
But Singapore, which has already opened its border to a handful of countries that have controlled the virus, including Australia, said it was “not in discussion on the concept of a quarantine centre or vaccination hub.”
Singapore is also discussing with Australia the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and resumption of travel with priority for students and business travellers, Reuters cited the Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement Sunday.
“We are also discussing the possibility of an air travel bubble which will allow residents of Singapore and Australia to travel between both countries without the need for quarantine.”
Australia’s 14-day hotel quarantine requirement for arrivals has left tens of thousands of Australians stranded overseas, with caps on returnees introduced as the limited system has been unable to cope with large numbers.
International tourism – worth about AU$45 billion a year to Australia’s economy before the pandemic hit – has evaporated.
The plan could see a huge boost in tourism for both countries and could kickstart the revival of the travel industry.
Australia’s existing travel bubble with New Zealand, which is expected to become a two-way bubble by July, could mean a three-way bubble with Singapore, with further countries being added down the track.
Edited by Joe Cusmano