We first heard of this fancy new term a couple of months ago while we were researching for countries that are re-opening for tourism. Read more to find out what travel bubbles are and where you can find them.
As the pandemic started to hit more and more countries and continents, the travel industries across the world started to collapse. Consequently, the economies of the countries relying hard on tourism were also badly affected. Airlines filed for bankruptcy, many people lost their jobs, hotels and B&Bs became empty.
So what is a travel bubble?
The countries started to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, they looked into ways of reopening for visitors. Therefore, the purpose was to help the economies recover without welcoming a second wave of the pandemic.
And so the best solution was to slowly reopen only for neighboring countries. Usually the countries around share similar behaviors and cultures, so it can be safer. Not to mention that in order to create a travel bubble, countries must be on friendly terms as trust is key in this experiment.
Note: Travel bubbles are also known as corona corridors or travel corridors.
How do travel bubbles help countries?
It is easy. Countries participating in a travel bubble help each other by lifting up tourism volumes, which in turn helps to bring up the economy. In addition, it also helps travelers from a social perspective, as they have more freedom to move around.
What travel bubbles are out there?
Lithuania - Latvia - Estonia
This was the first travel bubble we heard of. The Baltic countries are on good terms and they agreed on opening travel between without imposing self-isolation measures.
Greece - Bulgaria - Romania
Although not officially named a travel bubble, the three countries allowed land travel among their territories before they started opening up to other tourists.
Austria - Croatia - Germany - Italy - Slovenia
The countries agreed to partner up in order to help each other revive their tourism.
Denmark - Norway
The two Nordic countries agreed to create a travel corridor. However, they did not consider Sweden to be part of it due to the high number of cases and the chaotic management of the situation.
China – South Korea
One of the first to create a travel bubble where China and South Korea. The partnership is effective as of May and it is only available for some cities.
European Travel Bubble
Most European countries are currently in the process of opening up for EU/ EEA residents, thus creating probably the biggest bubble that currently exists.
What other travel bubbles should we expect?
Australia - New Zealand
The countries are currently discussing opening up a travel bubble as they individually succeeded in containing the pandemic. The travel corridor is planned to take effect in September.
Greece - Cyprus - Israel
The three countries are also in discussions on opening up a travel bubble between them.
China – Singapore
The two countries are currently in discussions regarding how a travel bubble could work.
Indonesia - China - South Korea - Japan - Australia
The Indonesian Archipelago recently expressed its interest in partnering up with the Southeast Asian countries in order to be able to reopen for tourists. However, some people think that it may be premature as the country hasn't yet fully contained the spread of the virus.
Thailand - China - Japan - South Korea - Vietnam
Another popular destination in Southeast Asia, Thailand, is also very keen on opening up a travel bubble with several neighboring countries. The discussions will be continued during an Asean meeting on June 26th.
Peru - Bolivia - Chile
Peru also mentioned a potential travel corridor with Bolivia and Chile in order to bring its tourism afloat. However, nothing is set yet.
Pacific Islands - Australia - New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are a very popular choice for a travel bubble with the Pacific Islands. Among the islands interested in partnering up to open tourism are Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and the Cook Islands.