Traveller Covid testing requirements are finally gone - so can South East Asia now build momentum for a sustainable tourism recovery? May was a positive month across the region, but the landscape is still evolving. Travel volumes and outlook optimism vary throughout South East Asia. Familiar destinations are leading the return of tourism, while bookings are slower elsewhere. This week, Gary and Hannah recap the key developments during May, and look forward to the second half of 2022. What opportunities and challenges lie up ahead, and how will a phased reopening in South Korea and Japan influence the recovery? Plus, the latest on China's ongoing travel lockout.
We’ve been talking in recent weeks about the pieces of South East Asia’s travel jigsaw being put back together. But a Laos-shaped hole remained. That gap has now been filled. Laos reopened to international travellers on Monday 9 May. This week, Gary and Hannah welcome back Vientiane-based Jason Rolan to discuss the tourism challenges and opportunities ahead for this beautiful landlocked country. Jason talks about the new regime for e-visas. He also explains which airlines are preparing to return to Laos - and which new routes might be developed. Plus, can Laos promote itself as a standalone destination, rather than an add-on for longer trips to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia? When will Chinese tourists ride the new China-Laos railway? And how are tour operators adapting their services for the new era?
As optimism returns to South East Asia, travel players, tourism boards and the media frequently cite a bunch of hot buzzwords. Several regularly used phrases also remain from the two-year travel shutdown. So this week, Gary and Hannah discuss the evolving lingo of travel, and assess which terms and phrases will endure, and which might just be a sign of the times. The show journeys from Pent-up Demand and Revenge Travel to a Bookings Bounceback via Visa-on-Arrival and Endemicity. We also talk tech with the Metaverse, NFTs and Cryptocurrencies, and touch on new Tourism Megaprojects, Hotel Sustainability Basics and Ultra-Long-Haul Air Travel. Plus, we recall the buzzwords discussed on Episode 6 in February 2020, and discuss which ones remain relevant and which dropped off the radar.
Optimism is returning. South East Asia’s incremental, and dramatically drawn out, travel reopenings are finally nearing ‘all systems go’ status. This week, Gary and Hannah review the latest travel developments from across the region. In particular, there is great news for travellers to (and from) Thailand and Singapore. Plus, some impressive regional aviation statistics, and strong domestic travel outlooks in Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. Gary also reports on his first international flight for two years, from KLIA to London Heathrow - and the contrasts he encountered in the two airports. In summary, this is probably our most upbeat podcast since we launched in January 2020.
Time flies. It's 10 months since we were debating the merits (or otherwise) of the proposed Phuket Sandbox. But that was then - the Phuket Sandbox started on 1 July 2021 - and this is now. A great deal has occurred in Thailand's travel sphere since then. And more changes await up ahead - including the likely removal of a PCR test on arrival. But what is the outlook for Thai tourism in 2022? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome back Bangkok-based travel journalist Vincent Vichit-Vadakan to talk all things travel and tourism in Thailand. Vincent has been travelling domestically in recent weeks and reports back on what he has observed. He also updates us on Thailand's latest arrivals figures and the timeline for easing the Test & Go entry rules. We also discuss the key takeaways from a recent seminar Vincent hosted in Bangkok featuring Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Plus, we talk mask mandates, Songkran, airport protocols, new hotel openings and Thailand's domestic travel stimulus. And, we look back over a truly dramatic year in South East Asia's most visited country.
Travel and tourism is slowly getting back on its feet in South East Asia after two long years. The economic dislocations of the pandemic are having consequences for the supply and demand of travel throughout the region and across Asia Pacific. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added an entirely new, and far-reaching, context. In addition, the Covid-19 lockdowns in China will have economic implications worldwide. So this week, Gary and Hannah sift through the potential impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war for travel, tourism and the regional economic outlook. This is a complex issue. There are innumerable unknowns, both now and in the future, but dark clouds are starting to gather. We break down the show into 4 key sections: 1) The enduring effects of COVID-19; 2) The Initial & Current War Impacts on Travel & Tourism in South East Asia; 3) The Looming Economic Headwinds; and 4) The Big Questions Up Ahead. We cover plenty of ground, from jet fuel price volatility to interest rate rises, fears of worsening food inflation to re-routed long haul flights and revised visitor arrival projections to a shifting focus toward the Indian travel market. And are there lessons to be learned from Sri Lanka's economic collapse? Plus, will tourism boards step up their domestic travel promotions, how will they adapt their international marketing strategies - and can intra-ASEAN travel markets hold up the sky?
The show analyses the responses of South East Asian governments to protect their currencies and combat the looming spectre of inflation. We look at the impact on jet fuel costs and the pricing of travel, the
What is the travel outlook for Myanmar after COVID-19 and 14 months after the military coup? And what is daily life like in Yangon, the nation's largest city? Today, Gary and Hannah are joined by Argus Tuft, who is a long-time resident of Myanmar, and an experienced operator across the aviation, travel and marine sectors. He also made TV documentaries in Australia. Argus is currently working as an independent consultant in Yangon advising local and overseas nationals and expat residents on returning to or leaving Myanmar as international flights have not been operating for the past two years. We discuss the varied impacts of the past two years on the economy in general and the travel industry, which was growing fast before the pandemic struck. Argus also addresses speculation that Myanmar is preparing to reopen to business travel and perhaps leisure tourism. We also discuss airlines, pearl farming, archipelago living, river cruising, ballooning and superyachts, and Argus shares a few hidden treasures in this beautiful country which sits at the intersection of South and South East Asia.
Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 8 - Take-off for South East Asia’s New Travel Reality, with Dan Lynn, ZUZU Hospitality
South East Asia's travel landscape is reshaping, and we're ready for take off! Travel activity is re-emerging across the region, and the travel industry is preparing for a recovery to start in earnest in the second half of 2022. The final edition of our 8-part Two Years of Travel Disruption series is perfectly timed, as both Singapore and Malaysia prepare to fully reopen on 1 April. To bring together the impacts of the past two years and anticipate an exciting, and volatile, new era of travel and hospitality, Gary and Hannah are joined by Dan Lynn, co-founder of Singapore-based ZUZU Hospitality. Dan’s career includes management roles with Expedia, the AirAsia-Expedia joint venture and eLong – and he previously joined us on the show in late November 2021. Combining the latest data with insights from South East Asia's protracted quest to restore travel and tourism flows, we check the outlook for destinations, airlines, airports, hotels and OTAs. We also discuss the absence of the Chinese market and the drivers of deeper digitalisation across travel chains. Plus, how soon will testing be dropped across the region, and where will South East Asia's inbound and outbound sectors fit into a global travel recovery in 2022.
Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 7 - Vietnam Kickstarts a New Tourism Era, with Mike Tatarski, Vietnam Weekly
Vietnam’s reopening has been one of the most talked-about in South East Asia, and also one of the most unpredictable. Even until to the scheduled reopening date on 15 March, the terms of the reopening had not been published. However, the entry procedures are now looking very promising, and Vietnam is ready to welcome back tourists. So, on this week’s show, Gary and Hannah talk all things travel and tourism in Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh City-based Mike Tatarski, who is Editor-in-Chief of Saigoneer and founder and producer of the Vietnam Weekly newsletter. We discuss the outlook for inbound, outbound and domestic travel, and address proposed investments to expand Vietnam’s airport capacity. Plus, will the North-South high-speed railway come to fruition?
This week, Malaysia announced its reopening date, and Bali made it easier for travellers to visit. Singapore expanded its VTL scheme to more countries and cities. These developments reflect a general stepping up the return of travel across South East Asia. More hurdles still exist, however. The region's travel landscape remains patchy and bureaucratic, and travellers face an avoidable administration burden. Progress is being made, though. On this week's show, Gary and Hannah take a tour around the region to assess the changing inbound, outbound and domestic travel situations in South East Asia's key markets. We also address the unfolding impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on travel to and from South East Asia. Plus, finally, some positive financial news from one of the region's major airlines.