Asia bubble mooted

The idea of a New Zealand-Australia travel bubble has been taken a step further by University of Otago epidemiologist Prof Michael Baker.

Prof Baker has upped the ante by suggesting at some point prior to a vaccine being found the transtasman bubble could be extended to include Asian and Pacific countries that had been successful in fighting the virus, such as South Korea, Taiwan and even China.

"You could conceive of a future where much of the eastern hemisphere is virus-free," he said.

“And that includes some of our major trading partners."

Prof Baker was hesitant to put a timeline on when such a scenario might be possible and stressed it was an “aspirational" goal and dependent on New Zealand continuing to stamp out Covid-19.

Now was not the time to be complacent, he said, as there was still the chance of a second wave, which would reduce the chances of such a scenario.

The bigger bubble idea was met with some caution by the Lakes district tourism industry yesterday.

Mayor Jim Boult said it was "certainly worth a hard look" if it could be done safely.

"We’d need to be enormously sure that we weren’t opening ourselves up to a second round of Covid-19."

He was optimistic a transtasman bubble could be formed before or during the ski season, provided there was no risk.

"The Australian market makes up about 30% of our
total ski business.

"Getting them here during July would be a stunning move forward for the district."

NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson said Australia was "the big prize".

"So we would be really keen for the Government to work towards that transtasman bubble."

Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone skifield general manager Bridget Legnavsky agreed, saying Australia had "more potential" with a very dedicated skiing market.

China made up about 10% of the resort’s business and that amount was growing rapidly.

"We would hate to see Covid-19 put a dampener on this growth."

National Party leader Simon Bridges said overseas bubbles would be an important conversation in the coming weeks and months.

"But right now we need to focus on getting New Zealand operating and I’m worried the Government isn’t focused enough on that."

The Government will decide during the coming week if domestic tourism will be allowed under Level 2.


The latest updates from Australia today show more infection rates and deaths from covid 19. Even if a ban is relaxed It will be sometime before the public has confidence in the authorities and airlines keen to get their finances flowing. The travelling public will need to be demonstrated what safety precautions and aircraft distancing procedures will be accommodated including removal of some seating, compulsary facemasks and discontinuing meal/drink services . The airlines have a long way to go and a lot of planning is now required which will need to be payed for with increased fares. The end result will be the increased popularity of domestic road trips where fuel costs, accommodation are currently lower. Bubbles can then be better maintained, and the overall costs are better value to those families with limited budgets.

They are NOT an open society and certainly NOT run by a trustworthy government.
Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam could well be prospects in the future.
They are countries I would be happy to travel to because of their response.
These are also countries we should be looking to, to extend our trade relationships with.

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