Could Australians be visiting Bali before Kiwis get to the Cooks?
While plan for a Cook Islands-New Zealand travel zone hangs in the balance, Australians are set to launch their own holiday bubble with Indonesia as soon as next month.
The tourist island went into lockdown due to the coronavirus four months ago, shutting its international borders. However, from next month international visitors will be free to visit Bali.
Indonesia has hoped to welcome Australian tourists back to resorts in Bali as soon as September 11th. While Bali has undergone a slow re-opening to domestic travel since August, it is hoping that Australian visitors will be back this year.
The Indonesian government is currently negotiating in Canberra, according to The Australian on the details of a "Bali bubble" exclusively for Australian travellers.
Aiming to open up Indonesia's party island before the end of 2020, there have been a number for setbacks to the plan. Community transmission of coronavirus in Australia has spiked and - looking across the Tasman to New Zealand's own cautious plans for safe travel bubbles - it's unlikely that many tourists will have a holiday in Bali this year.
Phil Turtle, Australia Indonesia Business Council president told the Australian it was a "great ambition" to establish an air bridge with Bali.
"We would certainly view it positively if and when it can be implemented… but (Australians) can't even travel internally at the moment," he said.
"I would think it would be very unlikely to happen before the end of the year, but it would be wonderful if it did happen."
In spite of enthusiasm on both sides, the bubble would require Australia's inclusion on a list of 'safe destinations'. Something that has been carefully reviewed since local outbreaks of coronavirus in Victoria.
A safe travel bridge between New Zealand and the Cook Islands has suffered setbacks after community transmission re-emerged, on Monday.
While there was no given date for the bubble, Cook Islanders and Kiwi travellers were expecting restriction free travel by the end of the year.
The Cook Islands' government which were pursuing a travel agreement with New Zealand have described the news of active Covid 19 cases as a "setback".
"This news shows how quickly that can change. We still want to have free travel between our country and New Zealand, but as both countries have said all along, it has to be safe for both parties," said prime minister Henry Puna, in the Cook Islands News.
While a robust safety and screening process in place at New Zealand's international airports – the New Zealand TIC said it expected the bubble to proceed as planned.
"It is likely that reoccurring community transmissions will be the norm over the next few years as highlighted by Prime Minister of New Zealand," said Puna.
"While New Zealand authorities have applied stringent public health measures at the border, the disease appears to have slipped through."