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The first leisure air travel bubble between countries might be established between Hong Kong and Singapore as the two governments agreed today to initiate this option in the near future.

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The Hong Kong Bubble would be applicable to the population without exception for purpose of visit or type of applicant and those seeking to travel would likely be tested prior to departure.

In order to facilitate this option, travelers have to apply for the Air Travel Pass that allows all forms of short-term travel, including leisure travel.

Several bilateral green lane arrangements are already in place for essential business and official travel between Singapore and a range of countries in the Asia Pacific region.

You can find more information about this from the Straits Times (access here).

Singapore has announced its first two-way air travel bubble with Hong Kong, paving the way for leisure and other forms of travel between both places.

This means that people will be able to travel between the two locations without the need to be quarantined, subject to conditions including testing negative for Covid-19.

Details are still being worked out, but people could be travelling between both places in several weeks.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (Oct 15) called the move a small but significant step for the two aviation hubs, adding that the agreement set the model for more partnerships to come to revive air travel. …

Under the agreement, travellers will likely be tested before they depart. There will be no restrictions on segments of the population, itinerary or purpose of travel. …

Hong Kong is the 10th place that Singapore has made special travel arrangements with under the landmark agreement.

There are different types of agreements.

The first is a unilateral opening – a standing invitation from Singapore to countries that have comprehensive public health surveillance systems and have successfully controlled the spread of Covid-19.

Countries in this group are New Zealand, Brunei, Australia – excluding Victoria state – and Vietnam.

Visitors have to apply for the Air Travel Pass that allows all forms of short-term travel, including leisure travel.

The second tier, bilateral green lane arrangements, are for essential business and official travel.

China was the first country to establish a green lane with Singapore. There are also reciprocal green lanes with Malaysia (from Aug 17), Brunei (from Sept 1), South Korea (from Sept 4), Japan (from Sept 18) and Indonesia (applications to begin on Oct 26). …

The Green Lane agreements are pretty much useless for the common citizen as these require lots of documentation in order to be accepted for travel.

This new agreement would be groundbreaking as it would make regular leisure travel accessible again which people are yearning for.

“Travel bubbles” as a concept have been talked about for months with different countries in the mix but so far nothing has developed from this. Some countries have started to open up to business travelers again and require to apply for visas at their respective embassies but this once again requires detailed paperwork in pretty much all cases.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore are increasingly worried about their aviation market as both Cathay Pacific as well as Singapore Airlines are largely grounded except some basic traffic.

Conclusion

It remains to be seen when and in what way this travel agreement between Hong Kong and Singapore will come to fruition. In the very least it would help people again to get out of their little spot and get into a different environment for some time.

Being stuck in Singapore or Hong Kong (tiny) must be hellish for 6+ months. I’m lucky enough that I had at least some freedom to travel around and visited various islands in Thailand and the north of the country but this isn’t an option for either Hong Kong or Singapore as both are city states.

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