Singaporeans who have glumly accepted that there will be no vacations this year – listen up! Yesterday, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) was the first to announce Singapore and Hong Kong’s decision to implement a quarantine-free travel bubble between the two city-states. This decision might be a world’s first, according to both the SCMP and Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung.
Details are yet to be announced, so here’s what we know so far, in easy-to-digest bite size pieces.
1. How soon will you be able to book your flights? Singapore was eager to get it going but Hong Kong was like, not so fast, we have legislative things to iron out. Minister Ong had said he hoped the air bubble could become official within weeks.
2. Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) chairman Pang Yiu-kai sure knows Singaporeans well. He is now smiling ear to ear because the board’s advertisement campaign, 100 Reasons To Miss Hong Kong, will now bear fruit in the form of hungry tourists. Spoilers, the reasons to miss Hong Kong were mainly food. Such as egg rolls by Hang Heung and congee from a heritage shop opened in 1979, named Mui Kee.
3. Travelers from both sides will need to test negative for COVID-19 based on PCR tests.
4. The air bubble will be carefully monitored and adjusted based on the COVID-19 situation. Flights can be adjusted upwards, downwards or suspended – if the situation calls for it.
5. Hong Kong is the 10th country to have special arrangements made with Singapore. Some of the other countries include Australia, Brunei, New Zealand and China.
6. Flights to and from both sides will not allow transit passengers.
7. There were 34 flights between Singapore and Hong Kong in October this year. Last year, there were 532. That’s a drop of 94%.
8. The bubble will be open to anyone who’s lived in Singapore or Hong Kong for more than 14 days. There is no age or nationality requirement. According a Straits Times article published today, however, foreign workers living in dormitories will not eligible for travel.
Minister Ong has said that the workers may be included “in time”, if the situation continue to stabilize.
Now that you know all this, keep an eye out for more offers from the HKTB! You can check out some of them here on their official website. And if you’re still looking to go for your vacation, you can start your planning based on what you’d like to put in your mouth. Hey, it’s the Singaporean way.
Are you feeling a pull towards Hong Kong? Where would you like to go if you could be there tomorrow?