Find out how well the 992 Australians 18+ we surveyed through Pure Profile understand travel bubbles, and how they feel about vaccines and COVID-19 rates when travelling.
- 11% of participants in our survey believe vaccines should not be required for any travel within a travel bubble
- 57% of Australians surveyed are looking to travel overseas in the next 2 years
- 14% of respondents believe Australia should not form any travel bubbles
- 35% of participants believe that Australia’s travel bubble should be with a nation other than New Zealand.
Many media pundits believe a travel bubble is an ideal way to ease Australia back into international travel in the post-COVID era. Particularly with New Zealand such a short flight away, the theory is that Australians could still scratch the travel itch, without increasing our risks of a COVID-19 outbreak.
But what are the barriers to a travel bubble, and how do Australians feel about having a bubble in place? We surveyed 992 Australians 18+ to find out.
1.0 What is a Travel Bubble?
‘Travel bubbles’ are loosely defined around the world. Air New Zealand’s definition summarises them well, as “an exclusive agreement between neighbouring countries that allows for travel across each other's borders”. Typically, the two nations will:
- Share requirements for vaccination status
- Have similar levels of COVID-19 saturations, so travel between them doesn’t increase one nation’s risks of an outbreak
- Usually help travellers avoid quarantining or testing requirements upon entry
- Typically be in close proximity to each other.
2.0 Travel Bubble Laws 2022 (as of March 2022)
All information in the table is true and correct as of 21 March 2022. Please consult with the appropriate government agencies for the latest information.
Travel Bubble with New Zealand
In early 2021, a quarantine-free travel bubble agreement was reached with New Zealand. According to SmartTraveller, this was suspended in July 2021.
As of 21 March 2022, Australia does not currently have an active travel bubble with New Zealand in effect. However, it was announced in March of 2022 that quarantine-free travel with New Zealand would recommence on 13 April 2022.
International Travel Elsewhere
|Leaving Australia||Travelling to Australia|
Borders to individual nations open and close rapidly. For the most up-to-date information, please visit SmartTraveller.
As of February 2022, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs states that all fully vaccinated travellers can travel to Australia without needing an exemption.
Australia requires travellers coming into Australia to:
3.0 Travel Bubble Survey Results
3.1 83% of Australians surveyed have travelled overseas
Have you ever travelled overseas?
Over 80% of Australian respondents have already travelled overseas. Participants from New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland had the highest rates of previous international travel, whereas South Australia and Tasmania had the highest rates of having never left Australia.
3.2 Over 57% of respondents plan to travel overseas in the next 2 years
When do you hope you'll travel overseas next?
There was a strong variance in respondents' interests in travel, based on their state. 60% of participants in New South Wales hope to travel overseas within the next 2 years, and only 14% believe they won’t be travelling overseas again. However, in Tasmania, only 36% of travellers will look to head overseas within 2 years, and almost 41% will never travel overseas again.
3.3 Over 1 in 3 respondents would like to travel to Europe next, before any other continent
Which continent would you like to travel to next?*
|Europe||Asia||Australia / Oceania||North America||South America||Africa||Antarctica|
Europe, North America and South America were largely consistent in appeal between all travellers, regardless of when they’re looking to book. However, respondents who suggested they were looking to travel in the next 12 months were far more likely to book a trip to Asia, and far less likely to book a trip within Australia / Oceania.
Conversely, those waiting at least 4 years before their next overseas trip were far more likely to stay within Australia / Oceania (including New Zealand), and far less likely to travel to Asia.
3.4 Over 50% of respondents believe we should form a travel bubble with New Zealand
If Australia was to form a travel bubble with another nation, which nation do you think it should be?
|Europe||Asia||Australia (including New Zealand)||North America||Don't plan to travel|
|United States of America||4.9%||2.2%||3.1%||19.4%||3.7%|
|I don't agree with forming any travel bubbles||10.9%||9.4%||7.5%||8.3%||36.4%|
New Zealand and England were the most popular destinations for travel bubbles with Australia among our survey participants, earning nearly 59% of votes between them.
The most noticeable finding was that a participant’s own preferences for a travel destination impacted where they think Australia should form a travel bubble. Those wanting to travel to Asia were more likely to select Singapore, Japan, Fiji, Thailand or Indonesia for Australia’s travel bubble than the average survey participant. Similarly, those wanting to travel to North America were over 3x more likely to want our travel bubble to be with the USA, compared to the average participant.
Equally, those who don’t plan to travel at all were nearly 3x more likely to believe Australia shouldn’t form a travel bubble with another nation.
3.5 On a 5-point scale, our Australian participants measured as 3.6 for caring about COVID-19 rates within an Australian travel bubble
How important is it that if Australia forms a travel bubble, both nations have similar COVID-19 rates?
On a state-by-state basis, South Australia and Tasmania were the two states most concerned about COVID-19 rates in any travel bubbles Australia sets up. Victoria was the only state to measure as less than the Australian average for concerns over COVID-19. Although it should be noted that they responded as higher than 3 - indicating general agreement that countries should share similar COVID-19 saturations.
In regards to age, an almost linear trend emerged, where as participants grew older, their concerns over COVID-19 saturations increased. Younger generations were less concerned about COVID, whereas participants over 65 years of age were the most COVID-cautious generation.
A traveller’s preferred destination also gave some insight into their concerns over COVID-19 within a travel bubble. Travellers to Asia were far less likely to be concerned, whereas those not wanting to travel, or those travelling within North America or Oceania were the most COVID-cautious.
3.6 On a 5-point scale, our Australian participants measured as 3.6 for caring about COVID-19 rates within an Australian travel bubble
Which of these statements around travel bubbles and vaccinations do you most agree with?
Roughly 60% of Australians surveyed believe that both nations should have high vaccination rates, and all travellers should be vaccinated in order for a travel bubble to work. By a small margin, respondents felt it was more important for both nations to have high vaccination rates, compared to vaccinating travellers themselves.
Roughly 15% of participants aged 25-44 believed that vaccines shouldn’t be required to form a travel bubble.
3.7 Hesitation toward travel bubbles comes mostly from political uncertainty, and wanting to support Australian businesses
Why don't you think Australia should form any travel bubbles?**
**Only participants who responded “I don't agree with forming any travel bubbles” in Q3.4 were asked this question. Users were allowed to select all options that applied, meaning percentages may add to greater than 100%.
When given a list of possible reasons to not want Australia to implement a travel bubble, respondents who weren’t in favour of one mostly believed the lack of certainty, or logistics were to blame.
Otherwise, around 1 in 6 of our survey participants who don’t believe in travel bubbles said that the risks of losing employment opportunities were a factor in their beliefs
4.0 Key Findings
Australians Agree with Legislation
When given the option of which nation Australia should form a travel bubble with, a majority selected New Zealand (where a travel bubble is due to recommence in April 2022). Similarly, 73% of surveyed Australians agreed that travel should occur only if travellers are fully vaccinated - in line with current restrictions.
In short, when given the option to select the laws without prompt or guidance on what the government had previously enacted, a majority or participants would have made the same decisions around travel bubbles.
There is Uncertainty From Those Against Travel Bubbles
Those who aren’t in favour of a travel bubble didn’t often agree on why they shouldn’t be implemented. In our research, we gave users the option of “other”, which was not strongly supported. This indicates that the reasons provided in the survey were adequate for measuring the predetermined issues some participants had with travel bubbles.
The lack of strong support for a single variable means that those against travel bubbles perhaps don’t have a strong argument as to why they don’t. This could be explored in further research.
Older Australians are More Cautious About COVID-19
When asked about the COVID-19 rates of nations in a travel bubble, or when asking about the requirements for vaccines, clear trends emerged among the age of respondents. Older Australians were more inclined to opt for greater COVID-19 security (either by wanting nations to share similar COVID-19 rates, or for all travellers to be fully vaccinated) than younger demographics.
Well over 10% of participants aged 18-35 were in favour of travel within a travel bubble without the need for any vaccines. The same age bracket also averaged the lowest average concern for COVID-19 rates of nations within a travel bubble.