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Over the last few months, one country after another has restricted travel due to the impact of Covid-19. Eventually, we’ve seen international travel come to a standstill. Now, we’re seeing a glimmer of hope as a few countries around the world see an improvement in numbers. That poses the million dollar question: When could international travel possibly resume?
International Travel Restrictions
Australia and New Zealand recently made news when leaders of the countries were apparently discussing a ‘travel bubble’. Such an arrangement would help promote trade and travel between the two countries, with minimal restrictions. However, this plan still comes with a few pitfalls, as reported by the Guardian.
Epidemiologists are widely supportive of the plan but say it will make contact tracing more difficult, and risk one or both countries re-entering stringent lockdown if cases emerge – or they can’t trust the other.
International Travel to/from the USA
As of now, the US State Department still lists a global level 4 travel advisory on their website.
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
Recently, Fox Business network asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about when international travel could resume. His response wasn’t very encouraging. During the interview, he refused to commit to whether he was optimistic about international travel reopening this year. USA Today reports about the interview and the ongoing policy discussions as the situation still remains fluid.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin encouraged Americans to focus on domestic travel this year as the international travel outlook for the rest of 2020 remains uncertain amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pundit’s Mantra
While there’s no single correct answer, a phased reopening could well be the way forward. Also, I don’t expect a big bang global reopening of travel. We could well see an initial resumption to full reopening of domestic travel in most major markets around the world.
We could then see a regional reopening, as evidenced by the ongoing discussions between Australia and New Zealand. Following that, we could finally see full resumption. Given the current numbers, early 2021 could still be a very optimistic date to foresee international travel operating at full capacity.
As frequent travelers, we’d love to hit the road right away. However, given the global nature of this crisis, we’ll all have to wait and watch as things return to normal gradually. Here’s wishing for a quick recovery!
Do you think the ‘travel bubble’ plan by Australia and New Zealand will be replicated in other regions of the world as well? Do you think it’s a viable plan to reopen international travel? Let us know in the comments section.
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