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In the COVID-19 backdrop, travel has primarily remained off the charts for Australians planning to take an international trip. However, if your travel destination is the picturesque destination of neighbouring New Zealand, get your skates on with the travel itineraries since the nations are set to kickstart a full-fledged travel bubble from 19 April 2021.

Australia has been welcoming NZ tourists since October 2020. Jacinda Ardern’s recent announcement for opening quarantine-free travel with Australia could further boost the overall tourism settings for both countries. The travel bubble with New Zealand served as a tower of strength for most of the travel providers and offered recovery hope for airlines and other businesses striving to get out of the woods.

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Apart from conventional immigration requirements, let us look at what will travelling between the countries demand in the current COVID-19 scenario. 

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Formation of Safe Travel Zone

Starting 19 April 2021, travellers who have been in either Australia or New Zealand for at least 14 days can travel quarantine-free by air without applying for a travel exemption. Thus, people who have spent either 14 days in Australia or have travelled from NZ to Australia and are come back within 14 days are exempt from quarantine requirements.

Meanwhile, all other standard entry requirements, such as customs, immigration, and biosecurity, will apply. The travellers would face routine pre-departure and on arrival screening. The Governments have advised tourists to stay up to date and check both countries’ arrangements as quarantine travel can be paused or suspended in case of an outbreak.

COVID-19 testing requirements

The travellers from both countries would not require COVID-19 pre-departure tests on a quarantine-free flight. However, Australian states and territories can have their restrictions and requirements. Thus, travellers should check on arrival testing requirements for the Australian state.

The New Zealand Government has indicated that if flights are paused in the event of community cases of COVID-19 in Australia, travellers returning to NZ might be required to get COVID-19 tests before travelling.

Furthermore, it is advisable for tourists to maintain extra precautions at the borders, wear a face covering, and cooperate with requests for random temperature checks and health assessments.

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Travel & Health Declarations

Online travel declaration, which is concerned primarily with travel plans and contact details, must be completed before departing to New Zealand from Australia.

Furthermore, health-related questions may be asked at departure, with cautions being taken for travellers having cold or flu symptoms. Medical evidence for pre-existing conditions should be brought to avoid being denied boarding.

As per the Australian Department of Home Affairs guidelines, the Australia Travel Declaration form must be filled by travellers on their way back from New Zealand at least 72 hours before the departure, irrespective of if they are a citizen or visa holder. Permanent residents of Australia will also need to apply for an NZeTa visa for visiting the Kiwi Nation.

Operation of Green Flights & Red Flights 

The concept of green and red flights has been introduced to ensure the separation of safe travellers from those who are COVID-19 risk-prone. Significantly, quarantine-free flights called green flights will carry travellers who have remained in Australia or New Zealand for the past 14 days and are exempt from quarantine requirements. Moreover, the crew in charge of such flights will not have flown on any high-risk routes for a given period.

On the contrary, red flights will have travellers who are not exempt from quarantine due to them not meeting the eligibility criteria or their source country being outside the quarantine-free arrangement.

Starting 19 April, every flight from Australia to New Zealand will be green flights.

With Trans-Tasmanian travel possibilities already materialising, Australian travel providers are eyeing similar developments with other countries. Meanwhile, Australia has been recently in talks with many other countries such as Singapore and South Korea, which can soon witness similar arrangements. The travel bubble seems a gradual, safe and significant forward step, promising recovery of international tourism. 

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SOURCE: Kalkine Media