The South East Asia Travel Show

Positive Vibes in Phuket One Year After the Phuket Sandbox, with Sumi Soorian of the Phuket Hotels Association

"Time has really flown in the year since we started the Phuket Sandbox." Exactly one year ago, on 1 July 2021, Thailand initiated the Phuket Sandbox to kickstart inbound travel after 16 months of tourism inactivity. Four months later, it was replaced by the Test & Go Scheme. Phuket is now buzzing. A mix of domestic and inbound tourists saw it welcome 1.7 million visitors in the first 5 months of 2022. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss Phuket's impressive progress with Sumi Soorian, Executive Director of the Phuket Hotels Association. Sumi discusses how the hospitality and tourism sectors have adapted over the past 12 months. We also discuss shifts in Phuket's key inbound markets and interesting trends in meetings, weddings and domestic travel. Plus, we look at human resource challenges for hotels, shorter booking windows and room rates and occupancy. Now, as Thailand removes virtually all of its pandemic restrictions, what is the outlook for Phuket 12 months after it pioneered the revival of tourism in South East Asia?

Is Bali Tourism Back on Track? With Simona Chimenti & Melina Caruso of the Bali Hotels Association

"Since the end of March, the landscape of travelling to Bali has changed dramatically. It's much easier to travel here now." This week, Gary and Hannah check on the current state of tourism in Bali with Simona Chimenti, General Manager of The Pavilions Bali and Marketing & Media Relations Director of the Bali Hotels Association, and Melina Caruso, Technology & Marketing Consultant for the Bali Hotels Association. After a slow start, Bali is welcoming back visitors from around the world, but is anxious to attract more flights to boost arrivals. The Ministry of Tourism & Creative Economy is targeting 1.5 million international arrivals in 2022, while domestic visitors are arriving in big numbers. Melina and Simona discuss the latest travel updates, including key visitor markets, hotel occupancy and room rates. Plus, we touch on emerging trends in hotel stays, human resource deficits and automation and digitisation of hotel services. And, we look ahead to the G20 Summit in November, and Bali's recovery outlook for the next 18 months. 

Revitalising Greater Mekong Tourism, with Catherine Germier-Hamel of Destination Mekong

The Greater Mekong Region – comprising Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China - is seeking new ways to develop and promote tourism after the ravages of Covid-19. This week, Gary and Hannah welcome Phnom Penh-based Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong, and a passionate advocate of sustainable tourism development. Born in France of Eurasian heritage, she spent several years working in South Korea, including 6 years as Director of Global Programs for the UNWTO's Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation. Cathy recently relocated to Cambodia to head-up Destination Mekong, a regional destination marketing organisation that provides a bridge between private sector travel operators and the Ministries of Tourism of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Cathy discusses the challenges and opportunities ahead for travel and tourism in the Greater Mekong Region, and "new, smart models fit for the 21st century" in areas such as community tourism and wellbeing travel.

22 Travel Wishes for South East Asia in 2022: Revisited!

We're almost halfway through 2022. Several important developments in travel and tourism have occurred across South East Asia. International travel is back, which was our primary hope. But are we any closer to seeing some of our other travel wishes come true? This week, Gary and Hannah re-visit 12 of the 22 positive changes for 2022, which we set out back in January. Which wishes have come true, which are still pending - and which were well-meant wishful thinking? En route, we reassess tourism target setting and domestic travel policies, the restart of outbound travel and vaccine equality, backpacker tourism and the employment outlook for fresh hospitality graduates. Plus, will tourism players ever be compelled to publish zero emissions targets? 

 

 

The Current State of Airlines, Airports & Aviation in ASEAN, with Shukor Yusof

As we enter the 6th month of 2022, South East Asia’s travel industry is showing signs of revival, with the aviation sector at the heart. But, rebuilding airline supply and passenger demand after the pandemic is accompanied by various operational challenges. South East Asia is playing catch-up due to the long pandemic travel restrictions, so what is the current state of play for airlines, airports and aviation? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome aviation analyst Shukor Yusof, Founder and CEO of Malaysia & Singapore-based Endau Analytics. Shukor discusses a broad range of issues, from jet fuel costs to FOREX risks, ticket pricing to start-up carriers and airport resourcing to consumer sentiment. We also assess the future role of China and India in South East Asia's air market, and the key lessons for LCCs and flag carriers from the past two-and-a-half years.

South East Asia Seeks to Build Momentum For A Travel Recovery

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 Japan and eased travel restrictions in South Korea influence the recovery? Plus, the latest on China's ongoing travel lockout.

Laos Reopens to International Tourists, with Jason Rolan

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?

Deciphering South East Asia’s Hottest Travel Recovery Buzzwords

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.

April Sees South East Asia Get Upbeat About Travel!

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. 

Talking All Things Travel & Tourism in Thailand in 2022, with Vincent Vichit-Vadakan

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.

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