‘Travel bubbles’ emerge as nations look to save tourism

NEW YORK:” Lockdowns to check Covid-19 pandemic has devastated global economies, including the key tourism industry. The UN is forecasting that the world economy will shrink by 3.2% this year, the sharpest contraction since 1930s Great Depression. Covid-19 is expected to slash global economic output by nearly $8.5 trillion over the next two years, the UN’s mid-year report said.
And as summer draws closer, fears that areas reliant on tourism will miss out on their biggest season are pushing nations to cautiously reinstate travel services. The European Commission on Wednesday announced its recommendation for travel across the EU, saying countries with similar levels of outbreaks should ease restrictions. The proposals include: airlines and airports should insist passengers wear masks, and reorganise check-ins and dropoffs to avoid crowds.

Some countries have already begun experimenting with “travel bubbles”, allowing movement within a group of specific nations. Austria said its border with Germany would reopen fully on June 15, and that border checks would be reduced starting Friday. Austria is aiming for similar deals with Switzerland and its eastern neighbours. The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will allow travel among the three nations from Friday. New Zealand, which saw zero new cases on Wednesday, and Australia have also agreed to allow travel between the two nations.
Meanwhile, UK started easing curbs but only in England, where people were allowed to leave their homes.

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