Travel bubbles have become a buzzword for all who are interested in travel during the pandemic, with their establishment seen as one of the potential solutions to the non-existent levels of tourism at present. Plans for a potential travel bubble between Southeast Asian countries Malaysia and Indonesia have been given the green light, whilst neighboring Singapore has seen its plans stall. Here’s what we know about the travel bubble plans between the two countries, and why Singapore has yet to puts its system in stone.
Malaysia and Indonesia’s Proposed Bubble – What We Know So Far
Last week saw meetings between representatives of both Malaysia and Indonesia in Indonesia, with the leaders of both countries discussing a wide range of issues, from travel to palm oil.
Following these meetings, it was announced that the two countries had an agreement in place to establish a “Reciprocal Green Lane/Travel Corridor Arrangement”. Whilst there has been little in the way of official information about what such a bubble would look like, there are currently similar systems established in the region that may provide a clue as to what travelers can expect.
Reciprocal Green Lanes are in operation in neighboring Singapore. Under the system in Singapore, travelers can enter Singapore with the purpose of short-term business travel, and Singaporeans have been able to enjoy less restricted travel to countries such as Germany, Japan and Republic of Korea for the same purpose.
Travel Corridor Arrangements are more popular, and have been in effect around the world at different stages of the pandemic. They typically involve the ability to fly from one country to another without the need to quarantine upon arrival in the destination country or when returning home.
The establishment of such a scheme in Malaysia have been heralded as a way to revitalize the tourism and culture sectors. Tourism is the third largest sector of Malaysia’s economy, and the affects of the pandemic have been acutely felt in the country.
The introduction of any travel bubble between the two countries may be some way off at this stage, with the two countries needing to formalize standard operating procedures and conduct further bilateral discussions on the subject. However, Malaysia’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister expressed the hope that the agreement may eventually extend to cover other countries that have been deemed safe, such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Singapore’s Bubble Struggles – Information For Travelers
Whilst Singapore has already established the Reciprocal Green Lane and Air Travel Pass, yet its plans for a further travel bubble have hit a bump in the road. The country had planned to open its [email protected] program for business travelers and “high economic value travelers” in January, yet it has still not come to fruition.
The scheme will see travelers able to enter Singapore without the need to quarantine upon arrival for a period of 14 days. In order to do this, travelers must stay in a dedicated facility close to the airport – yet the hold up is due to the fact that the Singapore tourist board has not yet selected facilities to fulfil these accommodation needs. Singapore has impressive Covid-19 statistics, recording less than 60,000 cases and only 29 deaths.
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