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Travel Bubble trouble – the options for Palau
05:27 am GMT+12, 03/07/2020, Palau

Palau’s involvement in a trans-Tasman bubble may be unlikely given that there is no direct flight with Australia and New Zealand and they are not the nation’s key source market of tourism or trade.
 
However, it cannot be ruled out. 
 
And there may be better options for a travel bubble with Japan, Taiwan, or Korea.
 
A travel bubble would see quarantine-free travel allowed between Australia and New Zealand and earlier talks indicate that Pacific countries- which are mostly COVID-free - can also take part in the bubble, 
 
“The Palauan government should either negotiate a bubble with Japan or where the destinations are in this case the Australian and New Zealand one is not appropriate for you,” Chris Cocker, CEO of South Pacific Tourism Organisation (STPO) said in response to the question whether Palau can be part of the Trans-Tasman bubble.
 
Cocker told Pacific reporters that the trans -Tasman bubble is unlikely to involve all Pacific nations.
 
“With the 20 island countries in the Pacific, not all of them have Australia and New Zealand as their major source markets. Micronesia or North Pacific has different source markets.  Even Melanesia their major source market is Australia but of course, there are differences.  Then we have Rapanui which is mainly Chile and South America and in this case Europe, so it makes the situation complex. “
 
But to make the travel bubble work, he said the responsibility lies with the governments to negotiate a bubble with different source markets.
 
On Wednesday, Vice President Arnold Oiluch told the media that President Remengesau Jr. is ready to discuss with other leaders the possibility of reopening the nation to limited travel.
  
Oillouch said the president is meeting with members of Congress Council of Chiefs, Governors’ Association, and Speakers’ Association next week to discuss reopening of travel. 
 
“That will be the focus of the discussion. How to facilitate a more travel-friendly and efficient process that addresses health safety concerns for limited travel,” Vice President Oilouch said. 
 
The travel bubble is being considered with Taiwan, given its success in containing COVID-19.
 
“Knowing that travellers come from Taiwan gives a sense of assurance and at the same time allows us to reassess our quarantine protocols appropriately,” added Vice President Oilouch.
 
In a press conference Wednesday,  Vice President Arnold Oilouch told the media that President Remengesau is keen on exploring ways to facilitate a less cumbersome form of travel into the country....

SOURCE: ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS


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