Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia welcomed by AAA

The Australian Airports Association has welcomed the announcement from the New Zealand government that quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will commence from 19 April 2021.

Airports Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia welcomed

The Government of New Zealand’s successful management of COVID-19 means that it has now announced that quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on 19 April 2021.

Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and the country’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, confirmed on 6 April 2021 that the conditions for starting to open up quarantine free travel with Australia have been met. In addition, the Director-General of Health considers the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from Australia to New Zealand to be low and that quarantine-free travel is safe to commence.

The government’s success in managing COVID-19 and keeping it out of the country over the past 12 months now opens up the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones and resume Trans-Tasman travel. 

One sacrifice that has been particularly hard for many to bear over the past year has been the separation from friends and family who live in Australia, so the announcement will be a great relief for many. The bubble will give New Zealand’s economic recovery a boost and represents a world leading arrangement of safely opening up international travel while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and keeping the virus out.

The Government of New Zealand has worked hard to ensure that travel is safe and that the necessary public health measures are in place. Quarantine-free travel will not be what it was pre-COVID-19, and those undertaking travel will do so under the guidance of ‘flyer beware’. People will need to plan for the possibility of having travel disrupted if there is an outbreak.

In addition to the Alert Level settings for managing cases in New Zealand, the Government of New Zealand will also now have a framework for managing New Zealanders in the event of an outbreak in Australia, which involves three possible scenarios: continue, pause or suspend.

The long-awaited two-way travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand will provide a much-needed boost to the aviation and tourism sectors and help to increase the confidence of potential travellers. The Australian Airports Association‘s (AAA) Chief Executive, James Goodwin, has welcomed the announcement and said that the new arrangement would allow Australians and New Zealanders to reconnect with family and friends.

“We can expect to see a lot of emotional scenes at our airports in two weeks’ time, with many families and friends reunited after not seeing each other for more than a year,” Goodwin said. “Our consumer research suggests that Australians are eager to get on an aircraft and start travelling again, with almost 80 per cent supportive of creating travel bubbles with countries where levels of COVID-19 are low.”

He continued: “Australia’s airports have been calling for a cautious and planned approach to broadening the scope for international travel, and this is a good start. Australia has been allowing New Zealanders to enter the country without quarantine for six months. We welcome the New Zealand government’s decision to open the border and help to build trust in travelling again.”

“As the vaccine rollout progresses, Australia should look to establish more bubbles with other ‘COVID Safe’ nations, such as Singapore, and consider developing pilot programmes to bring in international students and agricultural workers. International travel is the key to COVID-19 recovery, with international visitors spending on average three times more than domestic tourists,” Goodwin concluded.

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