Talking Points: Is this the right time to discuss travel bubbles with other cities?

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  • This week, readers chat about the impact of Covid-19 on tourism
Jamie Lam |

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Hong Kong is in the process of creating a travel bubble with Singapore.

Definitely yes. Right now, there are several countries that have a low number of Covid-19 cases or even with no infections at all. It is safe to travel to those countries.

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, economic growth has stalled, and millions of people have lost their jobs. This is the time to boost Hong Kong’s economy via tourism and trade with other countries.

What’s more, tourism provides a good break for people who have been stuck at home for a long time.

Jack Ma, 16, King Ling College

Hong Kong will soon be setting up a travel bubble with Singapore, one of Asia’s major financial hubs. Economically, this will be beneficial for both cities as the bubble encourages business visits. This allows trade talks and other meetings to take place, helping to boost the post-coronavirus recovery.

The bubble will also boost the two cities’ aviation and tourism industries.

Hong Kong’s tourism industry is one of the sectors worst hit by the pandemic, as officials have shut the city’s borders to tourists since March.

I hope the government will establish more travel bubbles with other places which are safe for travellers.

Adrian Wong, 18, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Britain

Should Hong Kong students temporarily stop going abroad for university because of Covid-19?

No. This is because a fourth wave of Covid-19 could hit Hong Kong later this year, according to health experts. The virus is still killing thousands of people every day around the world. So the government’s priority should be to prevent it spreading in Hong Kong.

A Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble could pose a danger because people who have visited other cities and been infected with Covid-19 could end up here. If this happens, the Hong Kong government will have a tough time tracing patients’ close contacts and isolating them immediately.

So it is not a good idea to allow foreigners to come to Hong Kong now. We need to get rid of the pandemic first, sending the message that this is a safe city for people from other countries to visit.

Livia Lam, 12, Pope Paul VI College

I am against setting up a Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble. The reason is that Covid-19 is still raging, especially in the US and Europe.

If people keep travelling between cities, the virus may infect a large number of them. It is a massive risk and could even destroy our economy, which is already suffering.

I suggest that we stay alert and wait for a better time to open our borders to outsiders. Then we can be more certain it is safe.

Lu Chu-hao, 17, Shek Lei Catholic Secondary School

Travel bubbles are one way to kickstart the struggling tourism industry.

No, I don’t think so. Hong Kong is still reporting Covid-19 cases almost every day, although the numbers are low.

A travel bubble might increase the risk of infection among people from the two cities.

What’s more, people are then more likely to focus on discussions about travel bubbles and other economic measures instead of the pandemic that has gripped the entire world. And they may not take the possibility of a surge in infections in the coming winter seriously.

So this is not the right time to discuss travel bubbles with other cities or countries.

Sammi Ip, 15 , Fung Kai No 1 Secondary School

I don’t think this is the right time to discuss travel bubbles with other cities. The aim of a travel bubble is to lift travel restrictions in order speed up economic recovery. Even though I think economic recovery is very important for a city or country, it’s still not the right time to discuss travel bubbles as Covid-19 remains rampant and there is still a possibility of another outbreak.

Karis Yik, 14, Pope Paul VI College

I think it’s not the right time to discuss travel bubbles. Although Covid-19 is still ravaging the world and the travel industry from all countries is affected by the impact, I still think we should discuss how to make the epidemic end as soon as possible, instead of always focusing on economic development. After all, human health is the most precious commodity.

Noki Wong Nok-ki, 15, Fung Kai No 1 Secondary School

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For me, of course yes! Hong Kong people like travelling. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted travel plans all over the world this year, which has made many people sad, bored and stressed about life so it’s time to open up some borders if it is safe to do so.

Hilary Lee, 16, King Ling College

Yes, as long as the other cities in the travel partnership are declared safe, with a low risk of virus transmission.

Travel bubble is essentially a bubble that is established within a small group of countries that opens up borders, usually for business or tourism purposes. Just like how bubbles can pop, travel bubbles are also fragile. Hence, one should exercise caution when discussing travel bubbles in this pandemic season to ensure that the disease is circumvented and not exacerbated.

That said, Covid-19 will be pervasive till a vaccine is invented. Life cannot stagnate till Covid-19 is fully eradicated, as the road to recovery is far. Countries have to ramp up their economic resilience by ensuring their trade links are stronger than ever to heal from the economic scarring. So, it is rational to discuss travel bubbles with cities that have successfully managed Covid-19, as it is safe and an opportunity to slowly recover from the economic contraction.

Sivakami Arunachalam, 18, National Junior College Singapore

Next week’s question:

Are airlines’ “flights to nowhere” during the pandemic a good thing or a bad thing?

Send your answers to [email protected] before midnight on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line, as well as your name, age and school.

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