Hong Kong-Singapore bubble – a big step, says tourism industry

Published on : Saturday, October 17, 2020

Local travel agencies in Hong Kong are by now coming up with ways to capitalize, even though many believe that business travelers will be first to make a move in this segement.

Hopes high scheme will be a winner. It would make the way for similar travel corridors with other destinations.

Tourism businesses in Hong Kong have cheered up the creation of a travel bubble with Singapore. It’s being expected as a crucial step in revival of the local economy which is massively beated-up by the pandemic with expectation that it can open avenues to similar arrangements with other destinations. On Thursday, few insiders of the industry explained that they would think of developing hotel and local tour packages for travelers when government provides them with additional details about the plan, and aims on those not coming in group tours.

Also, they have forecasted that business travelers would be the first to make the use of the scheme, which will connect the two cities once again after months of border close downs by keeping away the residents from both sides from quarantine.

To quote Michael Li Hon-shing, the executive director at The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, “If this plan can really be introduced, it will be a small step forward under the pandemic. But in terms of the revival of the Hong Kong economy, it’s a big step. If this arrangement can apply to other destinations just like what we do with Singapore, then Hong Kong will not just be a pool of stagnant water anymore.”

He further added that his sector would work on other business ideas with different fires of tourism when they had more solid information in regard to the landmark Covid-19 travel arrangement.

The in-principle agreement to set up a bilateral travel bubble between the two most important air hubs in Asia as possibly the first two-way arrangement of the world of this type, as per the transport chief of Singapore.

On Thursday, while announcing the plan, Hong Kong commerce minister, Edward Yau Tang-wah stated that the travelers will have to prove that they had tested negative for the virus. However, there would not be any restrictions tied to the purpose of their travel.

Under the agreement, quarantine is removed for both sides, as airlines must move on dedicated routes on which transit passengers are not allowed.

In either city, travelers can move freely and do not have to provide a predetermined itinerary. However, protective mechanisms are to be put in place to allow changes or even a suspension of the bubble in the event of a rebound of COVID.

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