How will governments use COVID-19 vaccine programmes to revitalise travel and tourism? This week, Gary and Hannah debate the latest tourism reopening proposals in South East Asia and beyond. These include moves to welcome vaccinated travellers in Thailand, Bali’s ‘COVID-free Corridor’, and the likely reboot of the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble. We also discuss a proposed ‘Calibrated’ reopening in India, the ‘Bio Bubble’ tourism initiative in Sri Lanka and ‘Vaccine-to-Go’ travel in Cuba – and their relevance to South East Asian markets. Plus, Costa Rica revives ‘Visa-Free Access’ for Chinese travellers, ‘Vaccinated students’ from China and ‘One-Way Travel Bubbles’ in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Can vaccines be successfully used to unblock pathways to a travel recovery? And what will travel look like – is it going to be both ‘Safe & Secure’ and ‘Controlled & Restricted’?
It’s 7 months since the Maldives reopened for visitors in July 2020. The Indian island archipelago nation is being considered as a successful case study for COVID-era tourism – but how has it adapted to a changed world, and what lessons has it learned? This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Ruth Franklin, Co-founder of Secret Paradise Maldives, which focuses on local island experiences beyond the luxury resorts. In a candid and insightful interview, Ruth discusses the pre-COVID opportunities and the processes and protocols implemented to reopen for inbound travel. We discuss the future of sustainable tourism, tailor-made island experiences and guest house stays, plus the growing appeal of long-vacation travel. We also talk about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the potential for vaccine tourism – and what needs to happen for the Maldives to achieve its goal of attracting 1.5 million visitors in 2021.
The Complexities of Airline & Aviation Regulations in ASEAN & Asia Pacific, with Michelle Dy, AirAsia
The aviation industry continues to face immense challenges caused by the pandemic. This week, Gary and Hannah address the current state of aviation policy and regulation with Michelle Dy, Manager, Global Affairs & Policy at AirAsia. This broad-ranging chat looks at the history of aviation development globally and in South East Asia and Asia Pacific. A long-standing objective has been to establish an ASEAN Single Aviation Market - so what progress has been made, and what could a Single Aviation Market mean for airlines, airports and consumers? And how does the scale and scope of Chinese airlines impact this strategic objective? We also discuss how COVID-19 will impact the regional aviation landscape in 2021 and beyond, the challenges for domestic air travel and enduring border closures across the region. With COVID-19 vaccine rollouts commencing, should airline staff be treated as essential workers, and will all air travellers require inoculation?
Malaysia is one of the most-visited countries in South East Asia, but its inbound arrivals have been largely stagnant for a decade. Despite recording strong growth from China in the pre-pandemic years, other key markets were slowing. Over the past year, the nation's robust domestic travel sector has attempted to step up, but stop-start lockdown restrictions have hampered its overall impact. Borders have remained shut since mid-March 2020. Moreover, the three airlines Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo, are confronting financial troubles and the KL-Singapore high-speed railway has been cancelled. To escape the rut, Malaysia has published a broad-ranging 10-year National Tourism Plan that aims to breathe new life into inbound travel once the borders reopen. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the myriad challenges facing travel and tourism across Malaysia, and the solutions and strategies being proposed to stimulate the sector right up until 2030.
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This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Denver-based travel marketer, behavioural economist and podcaster Sandra Thomas-Comenole. During a varied career, Sandra has worked with several international travel brands, including InsideJapan Tours, Croatian Tourism and the US National Parks Service. In a fascinating interview, she discusses how behavioural economics can help guide travel marketers through an uncertain 2021, the pitfalls of traveller sentiment surveys and the impending leadership challenges should tourism rebound at a rapid rate. We also discuss the current state of destination marketing in the US, and some of the opportunities for engaging more closely with Asian markets and travellers to accelerate the economic recovery. After being overlooked as a priority economic sector by several US administrations, does the Biden-Harris ticket offer new hope for travel and tourism funding, strategy development and implementation for tourism in the US?
It's all about ASEAN! This week, Hannah and Gary take a journey through the history of ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations. Established in 1967, ASEAN brings together the 10 countries of the hugely diverse region of South East Asia. Since founding the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, ASEAN has positioned itself as a "Third Force" in Asia Pacific, after China & India. Will it expand further (Timor Leste, Australia?), and why is ASEAN integral to the newly signed RCEP trade agreement in Asia Pacific? Most importantly, how will ASEAN influence the future of the aviation, cruise, travel and tourism sectors in a post-pandemic world? Will there be an ASEAN Air Travel Bubble, and can South East Asia really be promoted as a single tourism destination?
What are the realistic expectations for travel and tourism in 2021 in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines & Vietnam? Which will be the primary 'comeback markets', and what will be the influence of mega markets like China, India and the Middle East? Plus, will vaccine rollouts prove to be a magic bullet or a harbinger of false hopes? Are Travel Bubbles dead? And when should travel players start to diversify from their domestic-only strategies and prepare for the return of international travel? This special edition of The South East Asia Travel Show features a webinar debate between Gary, Hannah and Brett Henry, President of Jakarta-based MG Group - as we set the scene for travel and tourism in South East Asia during the transitional COVID-19 phase.
In the second of a two-part appraisal of travel and tourism in South East Asia in 2021, Gary and Hannah run through numbers #12 to #21 on their 21-point wish list. "Cautious Optimism" is a widely used phrase, but tightened restrictions in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong and, most likely in Malaysia, suggest 2021 is going to be another challenging year. Topics discussed include creating long-term strategies for domestic travel, more imaginative approaches to marketing self-drive and culinary tourism, and increased attention on climate change and earth-friendliness in travel. Plus, can hotels and airlines be more flexible, more innovative and introduce new services while keeping down staff and operational costs?
2020 was an awful year, but do we just write it off and discard it, or should we dig deeper to understand how travel and travel consumers have changed? What are the meaningful lessons to learn and apply? Gary and Hannah kick off 2021 by running through a 21-point wish list to revitalise travel and tourism in South East Asia. Topics discussed in Part 1 include adapting the learnings from domestic travel, a broader remit for tourism industry stimulus packages and competing on destination differentiation rather than price slashing. We also how ask how technology can be used more effectively, address the the "Urban" vs "Nature" and "High Yield" vs "Mass" tourism debates, and look at the prospects for vaccine rollouts, and the dreaded 14-day quarantine. Plus, what will be the role of National Tourism Boards in the post-pandemic era - are they still relevant, or should tourism planning and development be decentralised?