The Korean government will push for a ‘Travel Bubble’ with excellent quarantine countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. The concept is to temporarily allow small-scale tours to neighboring countries that have a safe quarantine system amid blocked overseas travel due to the COVID-19 all over the world.
If the “Travel Bubble” is agreed with those countries mentioned above, the “Immunity Passports” will be introduced. With the immunity passport, the traveler will temporarily exempt a two-week-long quarantine when entering the country. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism recently held a closed-door meeting to discuss the introduction of the Travel Bubble. About 15 relevant members of the tourism industry participated and discussed the future of tourism amid COVID-19.
An official who attended the closed-door meeting said, “The travel industry has suggested the need to introduce ‘Travel Bubble’ and the tourism authorities have also decided to actively review it. The behind-the-scenes consultations with the Foreign Ministry and health authorities are also being carefully conducted to introduce immune passport essential for the Travel Bubble.” The key issues discussed on the day, including travel bubbles and immunity passport, will be included in the agenda of the 6th National Tourism Strategy Conference.
The Travel Bubble is already being piloted between Australia and New Zealand, and between Vietnam and Thailand to open the “waterway” for tourism amid COVID-19. This is the first time in Korea that a government-led discussion on Travel Bubble has been held.
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The government considers Taiwan, a neighboring country with an excellent quarantine system, as the first country to share the Travel Bubble and plans to include Vietnam and Thailand are being discussed. If agreed, the two countries that created the Travel Bubble will issue an “immunity passport” to a person who receives a negative diagnosis on the COVID-19 test. Actual contact is being made with Taiwan. It has been confirmed that the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has exchanged opinions several times with Taiwan, a neighboring country, and an excellent quarantine country, in order to attempt the Travel Bubble ahead of the Korea-Taiwan International Academic Conference to be held in Jeju Island early next year.
An official from the Korea Tourism Organization said, “The Taiwan branch of the Korea Tourism Organization and the Taiwan Tourism Authority are exchanging detailed plans regarding the travel bubble through local meetings. There are many barriers to overcome, including consultations with diplomatic and health authorities, but we will carefully push ahead with them.”