South Korea is looking to speed up talks of a travel bubble with countries such as Singapore and Taiwan to hopefully allow quarantine-free travel for people who have been fully vaccinated from as early as July this year. This move comes as part of South Korea's national campaign to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
The Transport Ministry in South Korea said this week that it is trying to allow people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to go on group tours to countries that have been managing the pandemic well and have stringent measures in place.
However, only 4.5 per cent of the population in South Korea has been fully vaccinated since they began vaccinating people on February 26.
The ministry added that talks are already in progress with Singapore and Taiwan to sign a travel bubble agreement. They are also looking to speak to other destinations such as Guam, Saipan and Thailand to talk about restarting air travel.
Singapore has yet to provide any details on a possible travel bubble with South Korea especially considering that they recently had to defer a travel bubble with Hong Kong for the second time following a spike in community cases in Singapore.
South Korean Prime Minister, Kim Boo-kyum, said on Wednesday that border restrictions have severely impacted the aviation and travel industry and that people are hoping to travel overseas again soon.
"Resuming international travel will mark the beginning of life going back to normal," he said during the meeting.
Currently, South Korea has said that it only plans to allow selected package tours during the first phase of its travel bubble programme. Those who choose to travel must also stick to their itineraries instead of being able to roam freely.
They must also test negative for Covid-19 three days before their departure and again when they arrive at their destination.
South Korea's plans for new air travel bubbles come as they attempt to get more of their population vaccinated by introducing incentives such as allowing those who have received at least one dose of the vaccine to stop wearing masks outdoors and allowing their citizens to have bigger family gatherings from July.
In fact, in South Korea, you do not have to stick to the gathering limit of four people from July onwards if you are fully vaccinated.
You will also get free tours at royal palaces and discounted tickets to traditional performances if you have at least one vaccine dose.
South Korea is currently hoping that they can get over 14 million people to have their first jab by the end of the month and 36 million by September.