"Vietnam was really hot in 2019," says Sydney-based Kerry Newsome, Australian Manager of ITS Vietnam and host of the What About Vietnam podcast. Kerry supports Australian travel agents wanting to sell tours to Vietnam, and accompanies travel groups in Vietnam. She was in the country right before the closure of borders in March 2020 working to help Australian tourists return home before COVID-19 lockdowns took hold. In this fascinating interview, she tells Gary and Hannah about her passion for the landscapes, cuisines and cultures of Vietnam, and how adventurous Australians were increasingly eager to experience more of the country. Kerry also discusses how her company ITS Vietnam has adapted to the pandemic era, the prospects for Vietnam reopening to international travel and the future outlook for Australian travellers into Vietnam and South East Asia.
On this week’s show, Gary and Hannah take a break from Travel Bubbles, PCR Tests and Reopening Strategies. Instead, the show builds a virtual guide of all the travel resources that we read, watch and listen to when researching the show, and producing our own weekly reports. The South East Asia Travel Show Resources Guide surveys the information, media and data landscape, and discusses how it’s developed and diversified since COVID-19 took hold. The multimedia mix extends from travel webinars, podcasts and weekly and monthly reports to newspaper websites, vaccine trackers, airline and and hotel dashboards and COVID-19 infection aggregators. Plus, some of the very best e-newsletters that have emerged in recent months by local writers in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bali.
With the COVID-19 pandemic now in its 14th month, what have we learned and how will those lessons be – or not be – applied in future? This week, Gary and Hannah take on some of the ‘big picture’ talking points in travel and tourism in ASEAN. The show asks, and tries to answer, 7 critical questions: 1) What do travel and tourism mean today, and do we have a different outlook than before the pandemic? 2) What have been the biggest changes for the travel industry - which will be temporary, and will any be permanent? 3) What has been the most overlooked development so far? 4) What have we learned in the first 4 months of 2021, and is the current outlook different than expected at the end of 2020? 5) Are travel bubbles relevant any more now that we have vaccines? 6) Realistically, what are the expectations for travel and tourism in South East Asia in 2021 - and will there be a noticeable ‘turning point’? 7) Looking further ahead, what are the reasons to be optimistic, and what are the pessimistic factors?
From 2010 to 2019, Singapore's inbound arrivals grew significantly, from 11.6 million to 19.1 million. This expansion was boosted by the opening of two integrated resorts and smart marketing strategies in China and India. Throughout the 2010s, this small city state punched above its weight by thinking ahead and investing big. Singaporeans themselves are inveterate travellers, who are evidently eager to take flight again. This week, Gary and Hannah assess what happens next as Singapore makes various moves to reopen its travel economy - with a particular focus on MICE and business events travel. Which markets might Singapore focus on the bring back leisure and business travellers, will the IATA Air Travel pass help the recovery and will the air travel bubble with Hong Kong succeed second time around? Plus, how has Singapore become the world's largest cruise market during the pandemic, and what new attractions and amenities are planned? Last, but not least, how many Singaporeans say they would rather take an overseas holiday than fall in love?
Anticipation is building across South East Asia as Phuket and Bali prepare to greet international travellers in July. This week, Hannah and Gary team up with Brett Henry, President of Jakarta-based MG Group, to debate the vital issues around reopening to vaccinated travellers after more than a year. What are the near-term strategies of both destinations, and how will they ensure the safety of travellers and residents - and what are the perceived risks? What approaches are each destination taking to attract travellers from different source markets - and which markets are likely to be off limits? How will travel, airline and hospitality players plan ahead for a gradual return of international tourists? And what does the imminent return of inbound visitors mean for the future of domestic tourism? And we round off by comparing which of the two reopening plans we think is likely to kick into gear first.
This week's episode takes on the complex task of reconnecting global air travel with Dirk Singer, Research Director of SimpliFlying, an aviation marketing and solutions firm founded by Canada-based Singaporean Shashank Nigam. From his London base, Dirk discusses the white-hot aviation, airline, airport, travel and tourism issues that are confounding policymakers in Europe, North, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Will vaccines eliminate the need for quarantines - and, if so, when? Can Green Zone travel actually work? How will vaccine passports be issued and accepted worldwide? What is a Vaccine Hierarchy and why does it matter? What are the specific challenges for intercontinental air hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai? Will European borders reopen this summer? What is the 50:50 Trigger? And, will the lessons of COVID-19 enable airlines to future-proof themselves against 'the next pandemic'? Fascinating stuff.
Exactly 11 months after they first emerged, Travel Bubbles are back in the news. Across South East Asia and throughout Asia Pacific, talking up travel bubbles is in vogue once more after disappearing off radar since the Hong-Kong Singapore bubble burst last November. So what's different and what's still the same this time? This week, Gary and Hannah sweep through Asia Pacific to see how vaccines and economic urgency are bringing Travel Bubbles back onto the political agenda. In some countries, the term Travel Bubble is being replaced with alternative iterations like Safe Travel Corridor and Safe Travel Zone, but they will still be small-scale reopening models with plentiful restrictions and protocols to which travellers must adhere. Without a proper two-way bubble yet in place, South East Asia is closely watching developments in Australia and New Zealand as they look to reciprocate the (currently) one-way Trans-Tasman Bubble. We've got the latest announcements from Down Under which may influence how bubble negotiations develop across the region in future.
Active travel was expanding fast in South East Asia before the pandemic, and expectations are that it will take off once again post-COVID. Cycling and trail running in spectacular landscapes are likely to lead the pack. This week, Gary and Hannah assess the growth in domestic and international sports tourism with David Lloyd, Director of Sports, Topas Travel, an adventure travel provider, and Co-Founder of Velo Vietnam, a cycling tours specialist. After a decade of developing and managing mountain running and cycling events and trips across Vietnam, David provides fascinating insights about the upward trajectory of active sports in Asia. He also discusses issues of sustainability, giving back to local communities and supporting kids’ charities, as well as the future opportunities for high-quality sports tourism in Vietnam.
Marking one year since Gary and Hannah experienced lockdown for the first time in Malaysia, we've produced a new trailer updating you on how the weekly podcast has developed. During the past 12 months, we've expanded from discussing the latest travel industry developments in South East Asia and beyond. We've hosted a range of debates and discussions and interviewed thought leaders and interesting people from across the travel sphere. Find out more in our 60-second update!