Talks of forthcoming travel between Australia and New Zealand, referred to as the “trans-Tasman bubble”, has been the centre of much discussion since The National Cabinet met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier this week.
The possibility of opening up a travel route between the two countries, despite the global pandemic, is seriously being explored as a glimmer of hope for the travel industry and those in either country aching to get back to exploring the world.
While talk remains tentative, and it won’t happen before domestic routes open up, there does seem to be sparks of possible direct flights to New Zealand coming from Tasmania, for the first time in more than 20 years.
Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein appeared excited about the possibility of opening direct flights between the state and New Zealand, where no such service has operated since the late 1990s.
“It would mean ensuring that we have the appropriate quarantine arrangements here in Hobart, but I think direct flights are certainly something we can consider,” said Gutwein. “It’s something I’ve raised with Tourism Australia and with Hobart Airport.”
Although the Premier did stress that now is not the time to get too excited, as nothing is even close to being confirmed.
“This isn’t going to happen tomorrow, it’s not going to happen next week”, he continued. “But as we work our way through the course of the calendar year if the opportunity arises … then that’s an opportunity we will look at. It’s one that I’m looking to pursue.”
As for interstate travel, the Tasmanian Premier remains steadfast that their borders remain closed for the time being, despite the state only reported two new COVID-19 cases in the past six days.
“From the point of view of confidence of interstate travel around the country, the key reason those order measures were put in place were to protect this state principally, and we were the first state that moved to ensure that we weren’t allowing the virus to be brought in.”