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South Korea lists Taiwan as priority destination for travel bubble

Seoul hopes to send tour groups to Taiwan, Singapore in July

South Korea vaccinated its athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 

South Korea vaccinated its athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — South Korea has started preliminary discussions with Taiwan and Singapore about the launch of travel bubbles, reports said Wednesday (June 9).

The government plans to allow groups of fully vaccinated South Koreans to travel overseas beginning in July, according to a report by the Korea Times.

After a Taiwan-South Korea travel bubble agreement is signed, Taiwanese can travel to the northeast Asian country without 14-day quarantine restrictions, and vice versa. Thailand, Guam, and Saipan are also on South Korea’s priority list for travel talks.

Airlines and tourism organizations have been lobbying for the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions since South Korea launched a vaccination campaign. The government plan forecasts a maximum of 200 travelers per flight, with one or two flights a week, CNA reported.

If things go according to plan, South Korea’s overseas travel market could reach 50 percent of its 2019 level. However, tourists under the travel bubble plan will have to stay in groups, present evidence of their vaccination, undergo a PCR test upon their arrival, and report any symptoms if they occur during the journey.

Taiwan launched a travel bubble with its Pacific ally Palau in April, but due to a major COVID outbreak in Taiwan that began mid-May, flights between the two countries were canceled.