The South East Asia Travel Show

July in Review: Delta Variant Spreads Across ASEAN & Asia Pacific

July 2021 saw the Delta variant spread at an accelerated speed through the region. It now dominates every aspect of economics, social and health policy and daily discourse. On the monthly review show, Gary and Hannah unravel this month's worrying statistics from across South East Asia, plus China, Japan and South Korea. We also analyse what the worsening COVID-19 situation combined with variable speeds of vaccine rollout will mean for proposed tourism reopenings in Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. And what about Singapore, where the government has signalled that quarantine-free travel could commence for vaccinated travellers from September... Where will Singaporeans be able to go, and who will be able to visit the city state? Finally, we look at how the pandemic is dislocating entire parts of the travel industry chain, with deepening impacts for other sectors of the economy, ranging from catering to coffee to meat and livestock.

2021: The Year So Far in Singapore, with Karen Yue

It's been an up-and-down year in Singapore. An accelerated vaccine programme offers real hope of emerging from the pandemic but a return almost to normality was halted by two recent COVID-19 clusters and new movement restrictions. Overlapping this, the government's transition to an "Endemic Covid" framework should mean quarantine-free travel will soon be possible for vaccinated travellers. So, this week, Gary and Hannah tackle a range of key issues from the year so far with Karen Yue, who is Group Editor of Singapore-based TTG Asia. The broad-ranging interview discusses the challenges of catering to domestic tourism in such a small nation, and the creative success of the Cruises to Nowhere initiative. We asses the outlook for Singapore's two high-profile potential travel bubbles, with Hong Kong and Australia, and ponder which nations might be included in the first-phase reopening from September onwards. Plus, we find out about the current appetite for overseas travel among Singaporeans, and the destinations topping their bucket lists after 18 months of closed borders.

2021: The Year So Far in Vietnam, with Mike Tatarski

Two-thirds through July, South East Asia's travel recovery has yet to occur - and is receding into the distance. With the Delta variant spreading fast across ASEAN, nations that were COVID-safe earlier in the year are now under strict lockdown. So today’s show kicks off the “2021: The Year So Far” series, which will feature local experts and analysts in each market. The journey begins in Vietnam, as Gary and Hannah welcome Ho Chi Minh City-based Mike Tatarski, who is Editor-in-Chief of Saigoneer and founder of the Vietnam Weekly newsletter. We track back to the start of the year, when domestic travel was relatively free, and then a case surge began around the Tet Holiday. The current outbreak began in late April, and new infections continue to soar daily. Mike discusses the up-to-date situation nationwide, and the why the vaccine rollout began so slowly. We also debate the outlook for airlines, travel firms and domestic tourism. Plus, what are the prospects for the proposed Phu Quoc Sandbox, which is slated to start in October?

When Will US & Canadian Tourists Return to Asia?, with Ernst Flach

The US and Canadian travel sectors were upturned by COVID-19. However, accelerated vaccination rates and pent-up desire for domestic trips are creating a partial summer rebound. Inbound and outbound markets remain subdued, and an upturn may take time. On today's show, Gary and Hannah welcome Vancouver-based Ernst Flach, Executive Director at Wagstaff Media and Marketing, to discuss all things travel and tourism in North America. We dig through the current trends in the US and Canada, the protocols for travelling in and out of each country and an encouraging rebound for travel advisors. We also look at where US and Canadian travellers that are taking an overseas vacation this summer are heading, and the outlook for the rest of 2021 and beyond. In addition, we address the trajectory for regrowth in business travel and the airline, car rental and cruise* sectors. Plus, when will Americans and Canadians return to South East Asia – and how can marketers tap an expansion of outbound travel from North America?

* Since the show was recorded, Ernst has confirmed that Canada will welcome cruise ships from November. Canada has also announced it may open to fully vaccinated Americans from mid-August, and to other countries by September.

2021: The Year So Far in ASEAN - Top 20 Travel Talking Points

So, two weeks into the 2nd half of 2021 – and the travel outlook remains rather gloomy. That said, there has been plenty to talk about, and in the 35th podcast of the year, Gary and Hannah take a critical look back … and forward. We compiled a list of the Top 10 Travel Talking Points of 2021 So Far, and a second list of the potential Top 10 Travel Talking Points for the Second Half of 2021. Looking back, we assess the current and long-term impact of a second consecutive Chinese New Year blowout, plus the extension of Singapore's Cruises to Nowhere season, the Phuket Sandbox, and the Delta Variant. Looking ahead, we discuss vaccine mixing, emerging pressures on government finances and currencies in key economies, and concerns that a new COVID-19 variant could emerge in Indonesia - South East Asia's largest and hardest hit nation. On a brighter note, we pick our  two 'dark horse' markets that could bring a little optimism later in 2021.

 

The Current State of Airlines in ASEAN, with Brendan Sobie

Airlines have felt the brunt of the collapse of international travel in South East Asia since borders were closed in March 2020. This week, Gary and Hannah talk all things aviation and airlines with Singapore-based Brendan Sobie, founder of Sobie Aviation. We discuss the varying challenges facing flag carriers in South East Asia, including Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Garuda Indonesia and Philippine Airlines. Also, how can LCCs manage to survive if an international travel recovery doesn’t occur any time soon? Against this backdrop, new airlines are making applications to operate, so could the aviation market in Asia Pacific look very different in the coming years? Plus, we talk about the new EU-ASEAN Air Transport Agreement and compare the 2021 outlook for long-haul and short-haul markets. Finally, we assess whether the Phuket Sandbox - and the phased reopening of Thailand - presents a viable model for other countries to welcome back vaccinated leisure travellers.

June in Review: Delta Variant Derails Tourism Planning

June 2021 proved to be a another difficult month for governments, citizens, companies and travel policy planners. The fast-spreading Delta variant caused previously COVID-safe countries to take stricter precautions, and worsened the situation in nations still battling to contain the coronavirus. Governmental travails impact every aspect of daily life, work and leisure throughout the region. On the first edition of a new monthly review show, Gary and Hannah look back on 6 headline travel talking points across South East Asia, and beyond. Of course, the Phuket Sandbox and the postponement of Bali's reopening to inbound travellers feature prominently. We also discuss proposed moves to reboot educational travel, compare the current travel situations in Asia, North America and Europe, and analyse a new US venture by one of South East Asia's high-profile tourism players. And which travel operators applied before the deadline for one of Malaysia's soon-to-be-issued Digital Banking licences?

South Korea Emerges As Asia’s Most Exciting Travel Market, with Dr Jaeyeon Choe

While most Asian borders remain locked, South Koreans are heading off on summer holidays to European destinations. They are also booking ahead for Lunar New Year 2022. So what are the reasons behind this unexpected renaissance in one of Asia's largest outbound travel markets? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome Dr Jaeyeon Choe, Visiting Professor at the School of Hospitality & Tourism at Hue University, Vietnam, and a sustainable tourism consultant for Insita Bali, Indonesia. Jaeyeon discusses recent innovations in domestic tourism, including "one-month stay" packages, camping and outdoor cooking tutorials. Now, with an accelerating vaccination rate, Koreans are eager to travel overseas once more. Ordinarily, this time of year would see large numbers of summer vacationers flying to South East Asian destinations, so will ASEAN's allure remain in future? [Spoiler Alert: Vietnam and the Philippines are hot picks.] We also talk about innovative booking trends, such as flexible packages and gamified TV travel promotions, an ongoing travel agency revival - and the rekindled passion for travel among Korean honeymooners.

Preparing Hotels for a New Travel Era, with The Phuket & Bali Hotel Associations

As Phuket and Bali prepare to welcome back international tourists, how are hotels in both destinations getting ready for the vaccinated travel era? On this special edition, Gary and Hannah are joined by Brad Edman, General Manager of Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa &, representing the Phuket Hotels Association (PHA), and Jean Heliere, General Manager of Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach & Chairman of the Bali Hotels Association (BHA). In this in-depth chat, Brad and Jean discuss the deep impacts of COVID-19 for the hotel sectors on both islands, and how Association members have reacted by reaching out to domestic travellers. We also discuss the new health, hygiene and safety standards being put in place, and shifts in marketing and community outreach strategies. Plus, which destinations are the PHA and BHA looking to as case studies for reopening to tourism, which inbound source markets will they target, both initially and longer term, and which airlines might provide the all-important airlift. Finally, how are the two hotel associations sharing insights and intelligence to help rebuild the visitor economies of these popular South East Asian island getaways.

A Roadmap For Tourism Reopening in Cambodia, with Nick Ray

How do you go from filming Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie at Angkor Wat to writing travel guides for Lonely Planet and producing travel video content for Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism? Pretty easy for Nick Ray, Principal at Hanuman Films, Lonely Planet writer for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and an ecotourism consultant with the World Bank. This week, Hannah and Gary chat all things travel, tourism and film production in Cambodia with Nick, who has lived and worked across the country for over two decades. During this compelling chat, we discuss how Cambodia is preparing a Roadmap for Tourism Reopening in collaboration with private sector travel operators. We also chat about intriguing developments in domestic travel during the pandemic, opportunities in culinary tourism and the future role of video content in destination marketing. Plus, we find out how Nick managed to film footage for a BBC TV travel show and a National Geographic series during lockdown, and learn about a fascinating ecotourism project in the the beautiful Cardomom Mountains. Finally, which inbound markets might Cambodia target for its planned reopening to inbound tourists later in 2021?

 

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