Wellington | New Zealand on Tuesday approved the principle of a “bubble” with Australia in which nationals of the two countries could travel without quarantine, hoping that it will materialize in mid-April.
“I can confirm that the non-quarantine trips will begin in less than two weeks, on April 18 at 11:59 pm,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
This “bubble” should therefore open a little over a year after the South Pacific archipelago closed its borders due to the pandemic.
Australia, for its part, partially opened its territory to New Zealanders six months ago, allowing them to go to certain states without having to observe a quarantine.
New Zealand, which has recorded just 26 COVID-19-related deaths, is one of the countries that has been most effective in dealing with the pandemic, taking full advantage of its geographic isolation.
With less than a thousand deaths for a population of 25 million, Australia has also been praised for its handling of the epidemic.
New Zealand’s economy has suffered greatly from the lack of foreign tourism on its soil for over a year. The local tourism sector hopes that the “bubble” will inject up to one billion New Zealand dollars (600 million euros) into the national economy.
Ms Ardern urged Australians to take advantage of this opportunity as New Zealand’s winter sports season approaches.
“We are a safe place to come with family,” she said at a press conference.
Several Asia-Pacific countries are working on similar “bubble” projects.
Taiwan and the Palau archipelago, in the Pacific, inaugurated one on Thursday, again with the hope of supporting their tourism industry hard hit by the pandemic.