“Nowhere in the world is there a corona-free travel bubble,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Artern told a highly anticipated press conference last week. “We have no role model to follow, so we have to pave a path for ourselves.”
No corona test
Australia and New Zealand will fall from Monday. Both countries then ship all corona tests and isolation rules. In Australia, boarders can walk the streets of Auckland or the mountains of Queenstown after a few hours.
According to Artern, the advice of medical experts was decisive: they too are seeing the benefits of the travel bubble with Australia, and now the virus has been removed there. New Zealanders have long been welcomed in Australia, which still covers its borders to other parts of the world.
‘Tough and early approach’ New Zealand
A year ago, New Zealand closed its borders. Due to the Corona crisis, only citizens were allowed to return home. Upon their return, they were to be isolated for 14 days in a hotel.
In addition, New Zealand went into a very tight lockdown for several weeks at the start of the crisis. As a result, only 26 New Zealanders died from the virus. The Corona approach has not been so successful in any other Western country.
With the exception of a few local outbreaks, the virus was out and no action is currently in practice. Full stadiums and big parties? These are the order of the day.
The travel bubble is greeted with loud applause, especially by the tourism industry. Prior to the Corona crisis, one in eight people in New Zealand worked in tourism, and tourism accounts for about 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Since then many jobs have been lost, foreign workers have had to leave the country and companies have had to close their doors.
‘As the jackpot falls’
“It’s like pulling the lever and hitting the multi-billion dollar jackpot in both countries,” the Australian wrote. 9 News After the announcement of the Order. B&B owner Rick Keelan, 48, agrees in New Zealand.
“This bubble is a lifeline for us to get a little out of the water,” he says. “We can prepare that way for the moment when the borders actually open. It will make a difference to the few million New Zealanders who are currently traveling or to the whole world who want to visit New Zealand.”
Geelan opened his P&P a year ago (‘You can’t start at a bad moment’) and has had to do it in recent months, with an aggression rate of 25 percent. “So tourists are very welcome,” he says.
The Jeelans partner who works in the food industry is a bit cautious. “Why not wait a few more months until more people are vaccinated?” He wonders. “Anyone who does not work in the tourism or catering industry will not realize much about this bubble, which poses risks to everyone.”
Traffic light system
Prime Minister Arden will warn anyone who dares to go to Australia. “The journey will not be‘ normal ’at the moment,” he stressed. “The epidemic continues beyond our borders, so there is a risk that the virus will return here as well.”
That’s why the bubble has a traffic light system: green, orange or red. If there are no infections in both countries, the borders will be open (green). If another contaminant appears, but an explosion is quickly controlled by source and contact research, the bubble can be suspended for a maximum of 72 hours (orange).
If there is a large explosion, the borders will close indefinitely (red). “So the New Zealanders could be stranded abroad and only be able to return after being isolated for 14 days,” Artern said.
‘A vaccine first’
Odil Sprenkeling, 54, who lives in New Zealand, wants to meet his eldest son, Sam, 27. He has been living in Canberra, Australia for two years now. Because of the corona crisis, she had not seen him for more than a year.
“Sam had a hard time coming to us,” says Sprenkeling. She emigrated to New Zealand from Jantword thirty years ago. “So we’m used to be away from family and friends, but this is the first time for him.”
She wants to be vaccinated before flying to Australia because she has it in her heart and walks around with a pacemaker maker. “It’s not yet clear when an injection will be available.”
New Zealand hopes to vaccinate people from July, but the government has not yet announced who will be next. At the moment, only health workers and border workers are vaccinated. Everyone gets the Pfizer vaccine.
Save thousands of dollars
San Vermoulen (29), the bubble could not have come at a better time. Together with her New Zealand boyfriend, she trades to Australia, where they lived for five years, to stay close to her family for New Zealand. Tomorrow he will board the first flight from Melbourne to New Zealand.
He was scheduled to fly to New Zealand last week, but decided to postpone it until a few days after the bubble was announced.
This way she saves $ 5500 (3295 euros), which would have cost her 14 days otherwise at the hotel. Can’t wait for her to leave. “The locking in Melbourne was so intense, it just kept going,” he says.
She was initially dealing with depression because she had not been allowed to leave the house for several months. “Anyone who does not follow the rules here will be fined $ 2,000 (95 1295). Locking up in the Netherlands can be compared to freedom here,” Vermullen says.
Many of his Australian friends have already said they see him in New Zealand. “Some have never been abroad, but are now suddenly taking advantage of their opportunity.”
‘Flights already sold out during school holidays’
Victoria Keating, owner of a travel agency in Queenstown, had no idea what had happened to her when Artern announced the travel bubble. The prime minister’s press conference did not end with his phone hook off. Dozens of Australians immediately wanted to book a flight to New Zealand.
Autumn is in a corner of the Southern Hemisphere, during which time there are usually only a few tourists to New Zealand, but this year everything is different. Demand is already ‘unprecedentedly high’ in the coming weeks, according to national carrier Air New Zealand. Flights are sold on many popular routes, with no place for school holidays.
Vouchers and family members
Keating expects many Australians who previously left New Zealand to come this way now. After all, they didn’t go anywhere else. “In addition, many still have vouchers due to previously canceled trips,” Keating says. “Many more Australians have relatives on this side of the Tasman Sea.”
Renee van der Weezde, 32, believes Australia and New Zealand can exchange international backpackers if the travel bubble. “Something needs to change,” said Van der Weijde, who runs a hotel on the North Island of New Zealand.
“The whole travel world is in a bad state, with all companies getting into trouble with staff and many years of travelers and running within the restrictions of their visas.”
Every day she sees backpackers in her hostel who do not want to return home but can go nowhere else. “For everyone, it’s dull suffering at home,” he says.
“In the Netherlands, no matter how cold life without Corona is, we sometimes forget that we’ve all stuck here. We hope the travel bubble will change that.”
Are you coming to the Netherlands?
Van der Wije wants to go back to the Netherlands, but it ‘is not going to happen for now’. Vermulan, who will board the flight tomorrow, considers it a ‘clear opportunity’ not to see his relatives and friends in the Netherlands for now.
‘I share with you’
They need to get in touch with Australians in New Zealand for now. Addressing a press conference, Prime Minister Artern said: “We live in an incredibly beautiful country. What we particularly missed last year was not being able to share with you. Come and visit everyone. The rest we will follow, the world will be faster.”