Following meetings at the ASEAN summit, several Southeast Asian nations have called for the establishment of a travel corridor between their countries in the new year, as they desperately try to recover some of the money lost from the closing of their borders.
How Does a Travel Corridor Work?
One of the latest travel solutions to stem from the pandemic, many nations across the world have established “travel corridors”, which allow travel between low-risk countries countries with less Covid-related restrictions imposed on travelers. These include measures such as reduced quarantine durations, or removing the need to self-isolate upon return to your home country.
Also known as air bridges or travel bubbles, they create a more convenient way to travel for countries that have been deemed to be safe to travel between and that have managed the virus well. It allows countries to carry on with a semblance of normality and tourism, though not quite to the extent that it was prior to the pandemic. An example of a travel corridor would be the European Union, where member states have relatively free levels of movement between one another.
Proposed ASEAN Travel Corridor
The ongoing ASEAN summit – hosted by Vietnam but mostly online this year due to the current situation – has seen prominent politicians from its member states (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos) discuss the challenges facing their nations and look for solutions.
One such solution that has been pushed heavily by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo is the establishment of a travel corridor between the member states. Whilst not a new idea – Thailand and Malaysia both supported the establishment of a travel corridor back in June – it is one that will get a lot of attention and consideration during this year’s summit.
Indonesia is home to the largest coronavirus outbreak in the region, but other member states of ASEAN have coped with the virus extremely well, with Thailand receiving plaudits from the World Health Organization for how they have curbed the spread of the virus.
Without a second wave in sight, and with many of the ASEAN member states extremely reliant on tourism, the establishment of a travel corridor would prove to be a welcome step in the right direction, both for citizens with struggling businesses and for international tourists who wish to travel to these countries.
Travel Corridors Are Being Used Around The World
There are several travel corridors already in existence across the globe. Citizens of the United Kingdom can travel to various European countries, as well as more exotic nations such as Fiji and the United Arab Emirates.
Americans are currently free to travel to Mexico, Brazil, Haiti, Zambia, North Macedonia, Belarus and Turkey without restrictions, and can travel to several other countries with a negative Covid-19 test result and a period of quarantine. Discussion of an air bridge between the US and the UK have been ongoing for a period of several months but, with no signs of either country being in control of the virus, there has yet to be a formal agreement between the two.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Monday 23rd of November 2020
Start the bubble between Australia and Thailand
Sunday 22nd of November 2020
I understand it's challenging for authorities everywhere right now but is it not pretty weak that, here we are, nine months into borders being closed and countries are still looking around, scratching their heads on how to gradually open borders whilst minimizing the risks? All these possible avenues - Proper test and trace, travel bubbles, 'Immunity passports' and certificates, Covid trace wristbands. I expected something to have materialized by now. Complete closure and isolation is surely not a long term strategy for any country.
Saturday 21st of November 2020
Hong Kong and Singapore were suppose to start their corridor on Sunday. On Saturday they put it on hold as there is an outbreak in HK. There has been a lot of talk about them for many months and they can’t seem to set them up. I for one hope they do but not going to hold my breath.
Saturday 21st of November 2020
Those who may know Southeast Asia would have a better sense how to assess the situation locally during this pandemic.
Let’s take an example between Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand has a population with the size of France where as Indonesia is the fourth largest population in the world. Nonetheless, health experts have always compared with smaller nations and a bigger nation with the pandemic. And create this tap on the back for tackling the issue better in certain countries against other less able nations for many reasons. For example Singapore has a population of 5 million or more and yet being a successful role model, the authorities have underestimated the rise of outbreaks with the migrant workers.
Some who are living in Thailand may still be skeptical with the low numbers of cases and deaths despite Thailand ‘s reputation for providing good health care.The ongoing pro-democracy protests lately in the news and no social distancing would scare anyone, raised eyebrows even from abroad. It is true that Indonesia may have the largest outbreak cases in Southeast Asia due to more testings available, there are more recoveries from the disease and low deaths reported. They do follow the protocol guidelines from WHO.
If we look at the culture between countries, Indonesia has a culture of people to people greetings with touching. The same as in the Western Hemisphere where communication with your body language is as important. In Thailand, the greetings with each other is not touched nor there is a significant body language except for facial expression. The transmission of infection could be less due to the culture of greetings and communication among each other. Indonesia’s culture is based on many traditions due to various ethnicities and languages. Therefore it has always been important with family settings, hanging out with friends and the ceremonial gatherings, etc... The same can be said with the Italians, dinner with families and friends is an important cultural aspect in the Italian culture. The custom of dinner gathering that shows the touching and love for one another is of importance.
Nonetheless any proposed travel corridor is definitely a good direction among the ten members of ASEAN. But Let’s cut to the chase, xenophobia and paranoias among nations around the world have increased during the pandemic. Regardless of applying for a visa or what have you for which many of us did not have to do before the pandemic; people may still have skepticism of traveling until a vaccine is safe and mandatory. Then maybe we will experience some normalcy again.
Saturday 21st of November 2020
I really hope Vietnam opens up soon. I also hope this “travel corridor” applies to what country you’ve been in, and not what country you’re actually from. I’m going to be in Montenegro for a couple of months, but I will bounce to SE Asia immediately if possible.