Hong Kong & Singapore Establish “Travel Bubble”

Hong Kong and Singapore will be forming a reciprocal travel bubble without a quarantine requirement, which Singapore’s Transport Minister suggests is “the first reciprocal travel bubble in the region, and maybe in the world.”

How is this going to work?

Hong Kong & Singapore travel bubble basics

Here’s what we know so far about the Hong Kong & Singapore travel bubble, which will exclusively be open to residents:

  • Both governments have agreed “in principle” on the terms of this travel bubble, and while no exact date has been given for this to launch, it’s expected that it will happen before the end of the year
  • Travelers will need a negative coronavirus test prior to travel, but it’s not yet known with what timeline that needs to be done
  • Dedicated “travel bubble” flights will be set up, so those traveling between Hong Kong and Singapore won’t be sharing flights with transit passengers
  • Beyond that there will be no major restrictions, including no quarantine requirements, no limits on the type of travel allowed, no rules about what can be done at the destination, etc.

There will be dedicated flights for this travel bubble

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have been considering various types of travel bubbles, but this will be the first one to be implemented.

Singapore will be opening to those from Hong Kong

Coronavirus in Hong Kong & Singapore

At this point coronavirus is well under control in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hong Kong has seen a total of over 5,200 cases and 105 deaths, and is now down to single digit new cases daily. On some days Hong Kong is seeing zero new cases.

Singapore has seen a total of nearly 58,000 cases and 28 deaths. Singapore is down to single digit new cases daily.

As you can see, coronavirus is very much under control in Hong Kong and Singapore, especially compared to other places in the world.

This is a step in the right direction, but…

I’m sure many in Hong Kong and Singapore will be excited about this, and it’s no doubt a step in the right direction for reopening travel in a responsible and objectively low-risk way.

This is probably also a good glimpse of what we should expect as more destinations open to tourists, especially those that have largely kept borders closed. I suspect we’ll see more bilateral agreements like this between low risk places, which are individually negotiated.

I love both Hong Kong and Singapore, and I can’t wait to visit again one day. What I’m not sure of is whether today’s announcements gets us one step closer to these places opening up on a widespread basis at some point in the future, or one step further away.

Hong Kong will be opening to those from Singapore

Bottom line

Hong Kong and Singapore are establishing a travel bubble, allowing travel on specially designated flights in conjunction with a negative coronavirus test. It’s great to see this concept finally come to life, and it’s certainly a cautious and low-risk way to restart travel.

Only time will tell if this is the way that travel reopens for more destinations that largely have coronavirus under control.

What do you make of this new Hong Kong & Singapore travel bubble?