The Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion held a hearing on “Legislative Solutions to…
New Zealand announced it would temporarily pause a quarantine-free travel agreement with Australia for at least eight weeks due to another COVID-19 outbreak on the island continent.
According to Reuters.com, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed the travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia had already been paused for tourists to and from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
While the travel bubble initially launched as test-free and quarantine-free, New Zealand introduced a testing requirement earlier this month that made it more costly for Australians to visit.
“We’ve always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved,” Ardern told Reuters. “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe.”
The travel bubble was opened on April 19, but demand for flights between the two countries never reached the levels expected. Scheduled airline capacity this month was about 44 percent of registered totals in the same month in 2019.
Officials from Air New Zealand and Qantas Airways—the only two operators on the route—said the travel bubble’s suspension would have a short-term operational and financial impact on a business already devasted by the pandemic.