Smart and safe travel zone: Proposal for trans-Tasman bubble considers every step of a passenger’s journey

A proposed blueprint into how safe trans-Tasman travel could re-open is advancing fast, with a draft to be presented to New Zealand and Australian governments for consideration in early June.

Over the past two weeks, a diverse team of 40 experts from both sides of the Tasman have been working alongside each other to develop a coordinated and detailed set of recommendations for the re-opening of borders between Australia and New Zealand.

To ensure the proposal is safe, robust and low-risk, the expert group is considering every aspect of the passenger journey – from the point a person starts to consider a trip across the Tasman; to pre-flight health requirements and eligibility; to protections on board an aircraft; to movement through airports; and contact tracing requirements once people reach their destination.

“New Zealand and Australia have worked really hard to get where they are in containing the spread of Covid-19 and both of our countries have been successful to date,” said Scott Tasker, co-chair of the Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group and Auckland Airport’s General Manager Aeronautical Commercial.

“New Zealanders and Australians are some of the most frequent travelers in the world and we are very fortunate to now be in a position where our governments can even contemplate the safe re-opening of the trans-Tasman border, for the benefit of our communities and economies.

“Our aim is to put forward a detailed set of recommendations that safely manage any health risks, while also allowing Kiwis and Australians to travel to each country without the need for a 14-day quarantine,” said Mr Tasker.  

Co-ordinated by the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, the ‘Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group’ is made up of 11 government agencies, six airports, two airlines, and includes health experts and airline, airport and border agency representatives from both Australia and New Zealand.

As part of developing the proposal, co-chair of the Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group and CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Margy Osmond said experts were considering various layers of protections which could be put in place to create a safe travel zone, including eligibility for travel; management of traveler flows; capacity and distancing; enhanced cleaning protocols and education campaigns.

“It’s critically important that people can have confidence in the safety of a trans-Tasman safe travel zone, and we are poring over every detail and aspect of the customer journey to find a safe and practical way forward, for the review and consideration of our respective governments.

“We have an opportunity now to work together to show how we can support tourism on both sides of the Tasman and do it safely,” Ms Osmond said.

Initiated by Auckland Airport, and supported by the Tourism and Transport Forum Australia, the working group will complete its proposal by early June and share this with Ministers on both sides of the Tasman.

Australia and New Zealand are two of the most integrated economies in the world, with a Single Economic Market agenda in place to support a seamless trans-Tasman business environment. Each country is vital to the success of each other’s small and medium-sized businesses, and contribute strongly to each other’s tourism sectors, with estimated $3 billion in international visitor spend each way every year.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, New Zealand was the most popular outbound travel destination for Australians with 1.5 million visitors arriving from across the Tasman in 2019, accounting for 40% of all foreign visitors to New Zealand. Likewise, Australia was the most popular outbound travel destination for Kiwis. New Zealand is Australia’s second largest source market for visitors (behind China), with 1.4 million visitors in 2019, accounting for 15% of total visitors to Australia.

The ANZLF has a strong track record of collaboration, successfully working alongside government to support the development and implementation of initiatives such as e-Gate technology as part of the Single Economic Market border workstream.

The Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group will also recommend how the trans-Tasman border experience could be used to model and test processes that could be applied to other countries in the future to enable progressive lifting of border restrictions.

 

Media Contact Details

Charlotte Jaques, ANZLF Director, Australia

Charlotte.Jaques@bca.com.au

Fiona Cooper, ANZLF Director, New Zealand

FionaCooper@outlook.co.nz

 

About the ANZLF

  • Since 2004 the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) has brought business and government together to help Australia and New Zealand prosper.
  • The ANZLF enables discussion between senior business and government leaders about ways to improve business and trade between Australia and New Zealand.  
  • The ANZLF is steered by the Australian and New Zealand Co-Chairs, Ann Sherry AO (Chair, UNICEF Australia and ENERO) and Greg Lowe (Group Chief Executive at Beca).
  • ANZLF manages business-led Sector Groups focused on driving change across five key areas: Innovation, Tourism, Health Technology, Infrastructure, and Indigenous Business, while working closely with the Australian and New Zealand governments on the Single Economic Market (SEM) Agenda. It also has an Emerging Leaders Group.
  • The Tourism Sector Group has historically focused on delivering a streamlined travel experience across the Tasman which strengthens borders, as well as identifying and implementing practical/low cost efficiency measures towards seamless trans-Tasman travel.
  • With borders now closed, the co-chairs of the Tourism Sector group will lead a new and focused Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group tasked specifically with designing a proposal for how the trans-Tasman border could be safely reopened when the time is right. This new group will be able to draw on its strong working relationships with public and private sector and understanding of Trans-Tasman travel and border processes enabling fast progress. 
  • The Tourism Sector group is co-chaired by Margy Osmond, CEO Tourism and Transport Forum Australia and Scott Tasker, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial Auckland International Airport.
  • ANZLF is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and leading Australian and New Zealand businesses.