Why Everyone Wants to Book a Holiday to Saipan
Saipan is the largest island in the Northern Mariana Islands, is only seven hours from Sydney and, if I'm being honest, is somewhere I never even knew existed!
When most Aussies think of family holidays close to Australia, Bali, Fiji and Vanuatu frequently come to mind. But in light of Covid-19 and international travel still a giant looming question mark staring Australia in the face, it's been many months since anyone has thought about planning a holiday to one of these tropical destinations. But the days of tropical wanderlust could be about to change because of Saipan's vaccination rollout.
Why Saipan is the New Bali for Australians
It's no secret that Australians have a love affair with Bali. We travel in the millions to the island paradise year after year and who can blame us? It's a quick seven-hour flight over there if you're travelling from the east coast, has some of the cheapest accommodation around, is super family-friendly, and you can't beat those sunsets.
Unfortunately, all that has changed since the spread of Covid-19 and the more recent Delta outbreak. And while Australians can't currently travel anywhere overseas for recreation, Bali is likely to be way down on our list of potential travel destinations once international travel does open up again. Indonesia is experiencing one of the greatest peaks in Covid-19 cases in the world (up to 34,000 cases in one day), which is placing extreme demand on its hospital system.
These alarming numbers have lead many government officials to question the future of Australia's travel ties with Bali, in particular, WA Premier, Mark McGowan stating that until Bali has reached zero covid cases, West Australians won't be allowed to enter. And According to Neil Hansford, an Australian aviation expert, “No Australian health authority is going to allow travel to Bali any time soon, same with the Philippines. Australians are going to want to go somewhere that’s Covid-safe and Saipan ticks all the boxes."
Holidaying in Saipan
Australians who can't get enough of Bali's tropical climate, cheap accommodation rates, nightlife and family-friendly attractions will be pleased to hear that Saipan offers all these holiday perks and more, but the most pleasing aspect of the island paradise is the fact that their adult population is close to 80 per cent vaccinated against Covid-19.
For those, like me, who had never heard of Saipan until today, Saipan is the largest and most developed of The Marianas islands in the western Pacific (above Papua New Guinea and to the east of the Phillippines). Garapan is the main tourist area on the island and, along with stunning beaches and some of the best snorkelling in the world, offers plenty of high-end resorts, restaurants, shops, golf courses, and a thumping nightlife.
According to a report in The Australian, Saipan's governor is keen to accommodate us eager Aussie travellers looking for a slice of paradise for our next holiday and has backed plans for a new airline, Marianas Pacific, to fly to Covid-safe destinations, including Australia and vice versa. There are currently flights from Australia to Saipan but, you know, Covid.
*Adds Saipan to post-lockdown travel list*
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