With restrictions easing on both sides of the Tasman sea, we take a look at the latest developments to welcoming guests back to Vanuatu soon.
It is no secret that Pacific island nations, that rely heavily on tourism, have taken a major hit in their GDP’s during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this week, Australia and New Zealand have reached a formal agreement to establish a trans-Tasman travel “bubble” as soon as it is safe to allow flights between the two countries.
It is expected that both countries will be very careful in handling this situation given their success in suppressing COVID-19 infections. Neither would want cross-infections between nations and will surely impose their strict parameters to prevent this.
“It is expected that Australia will seek to re-establish international flight connections to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific, especially those struck by recent cyclones such as Vanuatu, as a way to strengthen ties through tourism and to help them recover. Vanuatu, visited by 61,000 Australians each year, has recorded no COVID-19 cases.” Dr Nogueira de Moraes said. *
Australia took the first step on the *Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia. The aim is to reach Step 3 during July – where internal domestic air travel commences and cross-Tasman and Pacific Islands international travel is next for the stamp of approval.
A number of Pacific island nations such as Vanuatu have not recorded any COVID 19 cases. While not accepting international travelers, local businesses are not restricted and are operating as normal while practicing relevant health and safety measures.
This is very good news for the Pacific. And we are definitely looking forward to resuming business as usual.
Although we do know that this travel bubble will not materialise overnight, we are hopeful that we will soon see you all on our shores.
Our team is using this period to freshen up the renowned OB experience in anticipation for welcoming you all back.
We are getting ready
During the current travel lockdown, our team have been working hard; making improvements and upgrades, to provide a bigger and better OB experience.
When the trans-Tasman/Pacific bubble is open we will be ready for the new normal. See you on the other side!
*Dr Leonardo Nogueira de Moraes, a postdoctoral research fellow in tourism, resilience and planning at the University of Melbourne.