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Korea eyes travel bubbles with Taiwan, Singapore, Guam

06/09/2021| 5:11:07 PM|

If things go according to plan, South Korea’s overseas travel market could reach 50 percent of its 2019 level.

South Korea said on Wednesday it will accelerate travel bubble talks with the likes of Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand to allow quarantine-free package tours for those who are fully vaccinated from as early as July.

With only group tours allowed at the beginning, one or two flights will fly a week, carrying up to some 200 passengers once a travel bubble is formed, with plans to extend the scale of the travel scheme later, the Transport Ministry said.

The move comes as the government is set to announce new social distancing rules this month that will take effect starting July.

With the country hoping to reach herd immunity by November, travel bubbles are part of efforts to start bringing things back to normal.

“Movement between countries has been restricted for too long, dealing a severe blow to the aviation and travel industries with so many people wanting to travel abroad again,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said in a meeting Wednesday.

“Resuming international travel will mark the beginning of life going back to normal,” he said.

With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise in Taiwan, one official said the prospect of forming a travel bubble is higher with Singapore, Guam and Saipan, which have shown “great enthusiasm” for such a deal.

Though people who have got fully vaccinated in Korea are allowed to travel abroad and come back without facing quarantine, travel bubbles will give the same privilege to anyone vaccinated in travel bubble partner countries “regardless of their nationality,” another official at the Transport Ministry explained.

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TAGS: South Korea | outbound tourism | taiwan
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