S. Korea seeks travel bubbles with Thailand, other countries

S. Korea seeks travel bubbles with Thailand, other countries

Trips for vaccinated people possible in July

A woman wearing a mask takes photographs of her boyfriend at a Han River park in Seoul on May 24, 2021. (Reuters photo)
A woman wearing a mask takes photographs of her boyfriend at a Han River park in Seoul on May 24, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SEOUL: South Korea is eyeing travel bubble agreements with Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Guam and Saipan.

The South Korean Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry said on Wednesday the government is seeking travel bubble agreements with Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Guam and Saipan that will allow group trips as early as July for fully vaccinated people.

Under the proposal, the bubbles would be limited between Incheon airport and a designated airport in the second country. It would mark the first step in the recovery of South Korea’s tourism and airline markets, the ministry said.

The government has been in talks with Singapore and Taiwan to sign such exclusive travel partnership and plans to add locations like Thailand, Guam and Saipan, Pulse reported.

Vaccinated South Koreans can plan overseas vacation as agency-arranged tours will become possible as early as next month through travel bubble arrangements, under which quarantine mandates are waivered, with relatively virus-safe countries like Singapore and US resort territories of Guam and Saipan.

Travel bubble allows people to cross borders and travel freely within designated zones without having to undergo on-arrival quarantine. They will be required to present a Covid vaccine certificate and negative RT-PCR result taken within 72 hours from the departure date and take the PCR test and confirmed negative upon arrival at the destination.

The Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry, and Transport Ministry said direct flights between travel bubble partners will be initially operated once or twice a week and expanded gradually, according to Pulse. Up to 200 people are expected to be allowed on board per flight, they added.

“We need to gradually ease restrictions on international travel in line with the new social-distancing rules to be announced in July and our goal to attain herd immunity by November,” Pulse quoted a government official as saying.

The government expects that the new travel plan will revive the country’s air travel and tourism industries devastated by year-long pandemic crisis and excite the nation’s inoculation pace.

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