S’PORE-HK TRAVEL BUBBLE TO START ON SUNDAY, A BOOST TO HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
By Susan Lewis
Source: Cathay Pacific Airways
Hong Kong and Singapore are to launch a quarantine-free leisure travel bubble on Sunday 22 November, it will be a morale boost to the hospitality industries in both cities which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Travel experts believed the arrangement, if proved successful,will become a model for more bi-lateral travel bubbles among Asian countries, presenting a glimmer of hope that normality is starting to return to the region.
It is understood that countries like Thailand, South Korea and Japan are also planning to set up travel bubbles with Singapore, likely to model after the Hong Kong-Singapore arrangement if it is proven successful.
From this Sunday, 200 passengers from each direction are allowed to travel quarantine-free on a daily designated flight operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways. Two weeks later on Monday 7 December, the schedule will increase to two flights a day from both directions.
Passengers will not have to quarantine upon arrival at the destination city, but they will have to shell out around HKD1,890 (USD244) for three COVID-19 tests with negative results before, during and at the end of their trip.
Both governments had been treading very carefully with the plan, negotiations for the details of the arrangement lasted for two months.
The two governments agreed that the travel bubble will be suspended if the daily average number of untraceable Covid-19 cases in a week reaches more than five in either city. When that figure drops below five again, the bubble will resume.
CEO of Singapore Airlines, Goh Choon Phong, hailed the bubble arrangement as a promising model for other bilateral arrangements around the world, saying that it paves the way for countries to open up in a safe and calibrated way with the necessary testing protocols in place.
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