Countries around the globe are beginning to polish off their “open for business” signs, as positive signs of putting the worst of covid-19 behind us emerge. Alongside New Zealand, Australia was an early country to all but rule out international travel fro 2020, looking for 2021 at the earliest. That looks to be changing, but perhaps not for you.

As talks of a trans-Tasman air bridge between Australia and New Zealand emerged, other countries wanted in too, and it appears Australia will open to regional travel well before the end of 2020, and even more international travel towards the end. Before you pack your bag, there’s just one important distinction: “safe” countries.

sydney australia the butlerA working group of 40 top airlines, businesses, airports and experts has been put together to form the Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group, an organization aimed at bringing back international flights between Australia and New Zealand ASAP, provided the utmost safety exists. Plans unveiled and confirmed by ministers on both sides are aiming for a September launch date, if not even a bit earlier.

With all the exciting news, other countries want in.

Australia’s Tourism Restart Task Force, which includes key officials and businesses in the travel sector and feeds into government discussion is also looking toward adding “safe countries” to the list of those with which air bridges could be realized before the end of 2020, though no officially confirmed plans exist at the moment.

Pacific Islands which rely heavily on inbound tourism are said to desperately want in, but concerns over limited infrastructure on these smile slices of heaven are an initial concern. Most Pacific islands handled the crisis extremely well with limited or no cases, but planning for the worst and hoping for the best seems the way forward.

Looking towards the end of 2020, speculation is rife for broader travel between Asia and Pacific, with nations that fared relatively well in suppressing the virus including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and others strongly considered to also hold air bridges before the champagne sets sail on 2020.

For now, governments are focused on winning the safety battle on the Trans-Tasman bubble, but if successful, a broadening of limited international travel seems probably for late 2020, and with any luck, the rest of us who are excluded for now, in Europe, the USA and beyond will be allowed to see Australia again in 2021.

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