Travel corridor vs travel bubble: Everything to know about flying in 2021

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Okay, so you’ve already booked your vaccination appointment and you’re now raring to go — but where?

Here’s a complete guide to all the travel corridors and travel bubbles in discussions for Singapore at the moment .

As Circuit Breaker anniversary creeps up on us (has it already been a year?!), we’re forced to make peace with the fact that free-and-easy travel might still be a while away.

As certain countries fight to contain the virus, others are struggling to sustain their economies that were once dependent on travel.

The UN World Tourism Organisation cited that international tourist arrivals took a 74 per cent plunge in 2020, with an estimated loss of USD 1.3 trillion (S$1.7 trillion) in export revenues.

This is more than 11 times that of 2009’s global economic crisis! Still, many are looking to travel bubbles and any possible travel corridor as their last hope to resuscitate the tourism industry .

If you’re unsure what those terms entail, we’ve researched so you don’t have to. Read on for everything you need to know about travel corridors and travel bubbles in 2021.

Travel corridor vs travel bubble: What’s the difference?

When talks of international travel were first floated in the past , it was maintained that voyagers would be required to spend at least two weeks in self-isolation to test for Covid-related symptoms.

This deterred many from even considering the thought of travel — and why would they? Imagine spending 14 days of your annual leave admiring the view…from the confines of your hotel room . Great.

Enter: Travel bubbles

Also known as travel bridges, travel bubbles allow for quarantine-free land-air-or-sea travel between two countries where the coronavirus has been successfully contained.

This means that if you’re travelling to Australia , you will not be permitted to enter New Zealand from Australia on that same trip –– even if New Zealand and Australia had a separate travel bubble agreement.

If it’s anything like the Taiwan-Pulau travel bubble, it might mean having to be part of a tour group. This involves following a government-approved schedule that prohibits travellers from venturing off on their own.

Enter: Travel corridors

Although sometimes it can be used interchangeably with travel bubbles, the term “ travel corridor ” also refers to travel between multiple destinations on a single trip. This will happen when or if travel bubbles work — most likely expanding from two to the neighbouring countries in the region between countries.

That means you might be able to go from Thailand to Australia and even Taiwan on the same trip — only if all three countries are in agreement.

What about Reciprocal Green Lanes & Air Travel Passes?

The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) allows for short-term essential business and official travel between Singapore and other countries. On the other hand, the Air Travel Pass (ATP) enables foreigners who are short-term visitors departing from certain countries and regions to seek entry into Singapore.

Latest travel bubble & travel corridor updates for Singapore travellers

Countries Travel Bubble Travel Corridor Air Travel Pass (ATP) / Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL)
Australia ?? In talks (to launch by July) ATP
Brunei ?? In talks ATP,  RGL
China ?? ATP, RGL for the following states:
Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang
Germany ?? RGL suspended
Hong Kong ?? Postponed from last November. Still in talks (TBC) RGL suspended
India ??
Indonesia ?? In talks with Batam and Bintan (as soon as April 21) RGL suspended
Japan ?? RGL suspended
Malaysia ?? In talks with Johor state RGL suspended
The Netherlands ?? Lifted entry restrictions for Singapore residents.
New Zealand ?? Discussing mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates ATP
Philippines ??
South Africa ?? Allowed to enter South Africa via Cape Town, Durban, or Johannesburg.
South Korea ?? RGL suspended
Taiwan ?? In talks ATP
Thailand ?? In talks RGL suspended
Turkey ?? Lifted Covid-19 related restrictions on international travel.
United States ?? There are no restrictions on Singapore travellers.
United Kingdom ??
Vietnam ?? In talks RGL suspended

“ When can I book a holiday to these destinations? “

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he hoped Singapore would start reopening its borders by the end of the year.

While talks of Travel Bubbles and Travel Corridors are underway for a few countries, nothing is set in stone as seen from the Hong Kong and Singapore Travel Bubble situation.

A quick search on Agoda showed me that I can still book hotels and flights to Phuket! Before you pack your sunscreen and swimsuit, you’ll need to check the latest travel regulations for your destination before booking. We advise checking with local authorities for additional guidance before you plan your trip.

Checklist: Do you have these existing travel protocols?

1. Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (“PCR Test”)

PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

This test detects active Covid-19 infections and is done by taking a nose or throat swab sample from the traveller. Although it ultimately depends on the destination country, all travellers coming into Singapore will be required to take a PCR test before and upon arrival.

For your pre-departure test, you are required to ensure that the test conducted by your clinic of choice meets the testing requirements of the country you’re going to. In general, get it done more than 38 hours before your flight to ensure that you’ll receive your results on time.

2. Serology test

PHOTO: Reuters

This test is mainly for travellers with a history of Covid-19 infection. It detects antibodies for Covid-19 and is done by taking a blood sample from the traveller. This is to see if the traveller has indeed recovered from the infection.

3. Covid-19 vaccinations

PHOTO: The Straits Times

To travel, you will need to have proof of your vaccination. There are currently two being administered in Singapore, namely Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA , with the third (Sinovac Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine) still undergoing review. Read more about the vaccinations here .

This article was first published in YouTrip.