I was looking forward to many more travel bubbles news but it does seem that many of these travel bubble plans do face lots of Covid-19 headwind. New Zealand travel bubble with Australia latest development (click to read). Closer to us, Singapore and Hong Kong’s travel bubble is very close to starting on 26th May 2021. That’s just 23 days away. This may now be facing a problem. The number of cases in Singapore has suddenly shot up even if this number remains small when compared with most countries.
Article in straitstimes.com.sg Education Minister Lawrence Wong responded to a question about the travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong and he said, “If it starts, but along the way the threshold is breached, then it may well be suspended.”
Mr Wong is co-chair of the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19. He said, “This is not a situation where new initiatives are rolled out and then they will continue permanently without any potential for disruption.”
The travel bubble will have a cautious start with one flight a day in each direction, capped at 200 passengers on each flight for the first two weeks. If everything goes well, it will be increased to two flights per day from June 10. Passengers from both sides must test negative for COVID-19 before boarding and take a test on arrival too. Please do read the full article here: Article in straitstimes.com.sg
200 per day per flight for first 14 days is still a ‘wow’ start
I imagine the flights are going to be full. 200 visitors coming to Singapore, staying 7 nights will easily spend SGD3,100 (S$200 per day for accommodation and S$100 per day for food) per person. That’s S$3,100 x 200 on first flight, another S$3,100 x 200 on second flight and so on. That’s S$3,100 x 200 = S$620,000 into the economy just from first flight… Think about the economic multipliers.
With 200 people, 100 rooms may be needed if all of them are sharing rooms. By the second day, total rooms needed would be 200 and by 3rd day it will be 300. Hotels will be happy. This is an fresh start for them. Tourism spots will also be popular and these visitors will really spend (some call this revenge spending) because they have NOT been out of Hong Kong for a long, long time. Of course, it’s vice-versa too. Basically, both countries would benefit if the travel bubble really do start as scheduled.
Travel Bubble is a good sign
The more the merrier. Maybe not so soon for any travel bubble for the whole of Malaysia with another country but if Johor could reduce their cases tremendously, surely it’s possible for a Johor – Singapore travel bubble too. Anyway, interstate travel is still not allowed. The only issue may just be how to control the social distancing rule when we have over 100,000 people trying to cross over to Johor from Singapore or the other way round. Anyway, when there’s a will, there’s going to be some ways to do it. Till then, stay safe.
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