Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble pops

Deserted arrival area at Singapore’s Changi airport

The planned travel corridor – or “travel bubble” – between Singapore and Hong Kong, originally slated to start on November 22, has been scrapped only one day earlier due to a sudden spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.

The surprise decision comes as a setback for both cities’ flagship airlines and tourism businesses which have eagerly awaited the world’s first quarantine-free travel bubble to kickstart an economic recovery. It is also a blow for other countries that had been hoping the scheme might be a model to replicate.

Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, announced on November 21 that the travel bubble flights are being postponed, adding that the two governments will announce in early December as to if and when the flights will take off.

Singapore’s transport minister Ong Ye Kung said that airlines will be contacting affected passengers over refund payments or rebooking arrangements.

“I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travelers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer, from a public health standpoint,” Kung said.

Both destinations strongly depend on air travel

Hong Kong and Singapore have both suffered comparatively mild outbreaks with strict social distancing and border measures imposed soon after the pandemic first emerged. But with small populations and a heavy dependence on links to the outside world, they have been hard hit as the global travel industry collapsed.

The travel bubble was to be the first in the world that is open to all residents of two countries and not just selected travelers. As such, it was being closely watched by other nations, including Thailand.

Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore have domestic air routes to fall back on. So flagship carriers Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have been affected especially hard. Singapore is a major market for Hong Kong’s tourism industry with more than 450,000 arrivals from the city-state recorded in 2019, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Singapore as of November 21 had 58,148 coronavirus cases, with 58,058 recovered and 28 deaths, while Hong Kong so far counted a total of 5,561 infections, with 5,248 recovered and 108 deaths.



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Deserted arrival area at Singapore's Changi airport The planned travel corridor – or “travel bubble” – between Singapore and Hong Kong, originally slated to start on November 22, has been scrapped only one day earlier due to a sudden spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong. The surprise decision comes as a setback for both cities’ flagship airlines and tourism businesses which have eagerly awaited the world’s first quarantine-free travel bubble to kickstart an economic recovery. It is also a blow for other countries that had been hoping the scheme might be a model to replicate. Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary...

Deserted arrival area at Singapore’s Changi airport

The planned travel corridor – or “travel bubble” – between Singapore and Hong Kong, originally slated to start on November 22, has been scrapped only one day earlier due to a sudden spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.

The surprise decision comes as a setback for both cities’ flagship airlines and tourism businesses which have eagerly awaited the world’s first quarantine-free travel bubble to kickstart an economic recovery. It is also a blow for other countries that had been hoping the scheme might be a model to replicate.

Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, announced on November 21 that the travel bubble flights are being postponed, adding that the two governments will announce in early December as to if and when the flights will take off.

Singapore’s transport minister Ong Ye Kung said that airlines will be contacting affected passengers over refund payments or rebooking arrangements.

“I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travelers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer, from a public health standpoint,” Kung said.

Both destinations strongly depend on air travel

Hong Kong and Singapore have both suffered comparatively mild outbreaks with strict social distancing and border measures imposed soon after the pandemic first emerged. But with small populations and a heavy dependence on links to the outside world, they have been hard hit as the global travel industry collapsed.

The travel bubble was to be the first in the world that is open to all residents of two countries and not just selected travelers. As such, it was being closely watched by other nations, including Thailand.

Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore have domestic air routes to fall back on. So flagship carriers Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have been affected especially hard. Singapore is a major market for Hong Kong’s tourism industry with more than 450,000 arrivals from the city-state recorded in 2019, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Singapore as of November 21 had 58,148 coronavirus cases, with 58,058 recovered and 28 deaths, while Hong Kong so far counted a total of 5,561 infections, with 5,248 recovered and 108 deaths.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

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Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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