'Travel bubble' between New Zealand, Australia could be model for future
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'Travel bubble' between New Zealand, Australia could be model for future

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It may be some time before tourists are traveling the globe again. But what if you could travel through designated, approved parts of it?

Politicians from Australia and New Zealand are discussing the possibility of opening up borders to each other, creating a travel corridor — or "travel bubble" — between the two nations.

Both countries almost completely shut their borders to foreigners in March, a huge blow to their respective tourism industries. But with both appearing to have successfully brought their coronavirus outbreaks under control, politicians are now talking about when borders could be opened to each other.

"If there is any country in the world with whom we can reconnect with first, undoubtedly that's New Zealand," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last month.

"That is a situation we would all like to be in, but of course, our number one focus at the moment is making sure that both our countries are in the position where we're domestically managing COVID-19 to a point where we can with confidence open borders," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on April 27.

Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic on April 27, 2020, in Wellington, New Zealand.

"One thing I'm not willing to do is jeopardize the position that New Zealand has got itself into by moving too soon to open our borders, even to Australia," Ardern said.

It's not clear when this "bubble" could become a reality. Currently both countries still have domestic travel restrictions in place, and all international arrivals are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Travel industry experts say August is when the corridor is likely to be rolled out, possibly in time for the ski season in New Zealand and the school holidays in September.

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