Yesterday, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a plan to implement a trans-Tasman travel bubble in an effort to resuscitate the tourism sector.
The plan proposed using a Canberra to Wellington route as a test path with politicians, business industry leaders and journalists first passengers on initial flights to ensure its safety before being extended to the general public and other regions of both Australia and New Zealand.
However, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has reportedly rejected the plan. With just one active case of COVID-19 in New Zealand, Ardern says more work needs to be done in Australia to combat the virus before she would sign off on the travel arrangement.
Fair enough. But the impact on New Zealand’s economy from maintaining the travel ban will be far greater than Australia’s, given it is one fifth the size (in population terms) and is far more dependent on tourism.
Given the tiny number of active cases in Australia – i.e. 1.8 cases per 100,000 population – it’s hard to see how an objective cost benefit analysis would support maintaining such a travel ban between the two nations.
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