[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]
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 U.S. resort territories of Guam and Saipan.
The transport and culture ministries announced Wednesday that Korean government is discussing travel bubble with countries that have been relatively successful in containing Covid-19.
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.
[Photo by Kim Ho-young]
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.
Direct flights between travel bubble partners will be initially operated once or twice a week and expanded gradually. Up to 200 people are expected to be allowed on board per flight.
“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,” a government official said.
South Korea"s Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum. [Photo by Yonhap]
The government expects that the new travel plan will revive the country’s air travel and tourism industries devastated by yearlong pandemic crisis and excite the nation’s inoculation pace.
Vaccination progress gained speed this month, reaching 17.9 percent as of Wednesday.
Amid pickup in vaccine program, the United States lowered its travel advisory for Korea to the lowest level on Tuesday. European countries including France, Spain and Greece have also opened their borders to Koreans.
By Lee Soo-min
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]