Business organisations from Australia and New Zealand have teamed up to deliver an updated travel bubble plan between the countries in the hopes of uniting people across the Tasman in time for Christmas.
Australian Chamber - Tourism, the Canberra Business Chamber, Canberra Airport, Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Auckland Business Chamber have united to call for two-way quarantine-free travel to commence between Australia and New Zealand by December 21, considering the ongoing successful containment of COVID-19 in Australia.
Australian Chamber - Tourism Chair John Hart said a two-way quarantine-free option for Australians was necessary in order to tap into $73M a week in trade and tourism dollars.
"While Kiwis can enter Australia without quarantining, Aussies must still quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand, so it's not a functioning bubble at the moment. Aussies aren't going to want to spend two weeks quarantining upon arrival, and Kiwis are less likely to come here if they face a fortnight-long quarantine on the way back," Mr Hart said.
"We're proposing a two-way proof of concept flight carrying political and business leaders between Canberra and Wellington in order to get the ball rolling by Christmas, so families and tourists feel positive about the COVID-safe route.
"We can already see the latent demand on both sides of the Tasman to get this bubble up and running properly, particularly in tourism. About 1.3M New Zealanders come to Australia every year, with another 1.8M travelling to other destinations. If we can win over those 1.8 million travellers and bring them to Australia, it would do wonders for our struggling tourism sector."
Initial travel bubble plans for a Canberra-Wellington test flight in June were delayed following the second wave of infections in Victoria.
Canberra and Wellington remain the first choice for the symbolic two-way flight. Neither have any international carriers currently operating regularly out of the airport, minimising the risk of virus transmission from passengers arriving from other countries.
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