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Travel Bubble

  • 19 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania started a travel bubble to help put their economies back on track after Covid-19 lockdowns.

  • All three have been fairly successful at managing the Covid-19 outbreak and remaining comparatively safe.
  • In the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania travel bubble, residents would be able to travel freely by rail, air and sea without quarantine measures.

Baltic Countries

  • Baltic countries, the northeastern region of Europe, include the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea.
  • The Baltic states are bounded on the west and north by the Baltic Sea, which gives the region its name, on the east by Russia, on the southeast by Belarus and on the southwest by Poland and an exclave of Russia.
  • In 1991, their then popularly elected governments declared independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) with overwhelming support.
  • All three of them are members of the European Union (EU) and are sparsely populated (Lithuania-28 lakh, Latvia-19.2 lakh, Estonia-13.3 lakh people).
  • India and Baltic countries have historical connect and common linguistic roots. The cutting edge technology and innovation ecosystems of the Baltic countries complement India’s huge market and appetite for these technologies.

Key Points

  • Travel Bubble:
    • Creating a travel bubble involves reconnecting countries or states which have shown a good level of success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic domestically.
    • Such a bubble would allow the members of the group to restart trade ties with each other and open travel and tourism.
    • According to a report, potential travel bubbles among better-performing countries around the world would account for around 35% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    • Travel bubbles are favoured by smaller countries because they are likely to benefit after being able to trade again with larger partners.
  • Criteria for Entering the Travel Bubble:
    • People from the outside countries, willing to join the bubble corridor, will have to go into isolation for 14 days.
    • One should not have travelled outside the member countries of the travel bubble, in the past 14 days.
    • One should not be infected with coronavirus and should not have come in contact with anyone who has been coronavirus infected.
  • Other Countries to Start:
    • Australia and New Zealand reached an agreement to form a travel bubble, once it becomes safe to operate flights between them. Once it opens, the trans-Tasman zone (around Tasman Sea) will allow travel without a quarantine period.
      • Trans-Tasman Zone: Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement is an arrangement between Australia and New Zealand which allows for the free movement of citizens of one of these countries to the other. The arrangement came into effect in 1973 and allows citizens of each country to reside and work in the other country, with some restrictions.

  • China and South Korea have launched a fast track channel for business travellers.
  • In the USA, travel bubbles are being suggested to group states who are doing well against the pandemic.

Source: IE

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