Australian Tourism Minister weighs in on possibility of US and UK international travel bubble

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With plans underway to extend the Trans-Tasman travel bubble to the Pacific Islands, there is speculation Britain and the United States could be next.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Jacinda Ardern in Queenstown last week where the pair were expected to discuss the expansion of quarantine-free travel to the ­Pacific Islands – including Fiji, Noumea and Vanuatu.

In a shared statement, the leaders noted the opportunity to offer quarantine free travel to the Pacific “when it is safe to do so”, however, did not nominate specific countries or timelines.

“We are supporting our Pacific family and the idea of a bubble that goes beyond New Zealand and Australia is a real possibility,” Morrison told reporters.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on Monday predicted the US and UK were next on the agenda, citing the success of their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts as the reason the countries could leapfrog in front of other candidates.

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan told Sunrise on Wednesday 2/6 that “Alan has definitely got the right idea”.

“We want to build on the success of our travel bubble with New Zealand. Six weeks now, we have had a two-way travel bubble and it is working very well,” he said.

He said the government was looking at extending the bubble to Pacific Island countries, before considering places like the US and UK.

“You have got to remember at the moment there are over 3,000 active cases in the UK and the US each day, so still a long way to go there for them in dealing with the virus and obviously, once they can get on top of that, we can start looking at these things,” he said.

“But with some of our Pacific Islands, where they are COVID free, then absolutely we want to get a bubble, exactly the same we have got with New Zealand so you don’t have to quarantine as you move between countries.”

Mr. Alan Joyce has previously called for Australians to get vaccinated because Qantas is considering giving bonus points from July to those who have been vaccinated. Rewards can be frequent flyer points, vouchers and travel prizes.

Earlier plans to extend the travel bubble to include Singapore and Taiwan appear to have been shelved after the nations recently recorded new coronavirus cases.

Source: 7 News

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