The spectacular country of Laos has been overshadowed as more prominent destinations in South East Asia grab the reopening headlines. Laos has tentatively set in motion its own reopening plan – and is about to make its mark on the global news agenda with the opening of the China-Laos Railway. For the latest news from Laos, Gary chats with Jason Rolan, who is Senior Partner of Vientiane-based RDK Group. We have news about the upcoming land border Vaccinated Travel Lane between Malaysia and Singapore and the latest on the Philippines' reopening plans. Plus, concerns in Vietnam as its limited scale reopening coincides with a resurgence of COVID-19 infections nationwide. Hannah dials in to report on the first MATTA Fair, Malaysia's largest consumer travel show, for two years. We finish the show with an upbeat forecast about the travel outlook for 2022 in South East Asia by Dan Lynn, Co-founder of Singapore-based Zuzu Hospitality.
As the 2021 festive travel season draws near, the green shoots of recovery are emerging, even if South East Asia's reopening landscape remains patchy. On today’s show, Gary checks the region's travel and hotel booking temperature with Dan Lynn, Co-founder of Singapore-based Zuzu Hospitality. Dan’s career also includes senior management roles with Expedia, the AirAsia-Expedia joint venture and eLong. We discuss how Zuzu refocused its services to meet the shifting operational challenges of its hotel clients during the pandemic, and into the early days of recovery. We also talk about the way forward for online travel booking in South East Asia. Plus, how will Singapore's Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme further evolve, how can Thailand and Cambodia build on their recent restarts - and which ASEAN country is "on the cusp" of a scalable travel reopening? We finish by assessing the outlook for 2022, and the prospects for the greater normalisation of travel for a new era.
After sustained speculation, Cambodia this week surprised South East Asia by announcing that quarantine-free entry would apply for vaccinated travellers from every country worldwide. On episode 3 of our weekly news and current affairs show, Gary assesses the challenges ahead as Cambodia seeks to reboot its visitor economy. He also analyses the arrival of Vietnam’s first charter flights and the expansion of Singapore's VTL scheme to 21 countries. With a Singapore-Malaysia VTL starting soon, Gary chats with Shukor Yusof, CEO of Endau Analysts, for expert insights on the outlook for airlines, airports and travellers in Singapore and Malaysia. The show finishes in Bangkok, where restaurateur Jarrett Wrisley recently closed his acclaimed, and very popular Soul Food Mahanakorn restaurant. Jarrett speaks powerfully about the deep damage done to Bangkok’s dining scene during the pandemic, and looks back fondly on its halcyon days before COVID-19 took hold.
Having studied Chinese in Beijing, and worked as a restaurant critic in Shanghai, Jarrett Wrisley worked on a TV shoot in Chengdu with Anthony Bourdain. Shortly after, he moved to Bangkok and opened his own restaurant. Soul Food Mahanakorn quickly developed a local and global following, and became a crucible of contemporary Thai cooking with American accents. This week, Gary chats with Jarrett - who is a former colleague in Shanghai - about the 2010s era of inspiring culinary creativity in Bangkok. At the height of Soul Food Mahanakorn's powers - and having opened other restaurants in Bangkok and a spin-off in Hong Kong - COVID-19 intervened. Tourists were locked out, and local dining preferences changed. The subsequent months saw the collapse of a once thriving and dynamic dining scene, and resulted in Jarrett closing his beloved restaurant. Frustrated by the situation in Thailand, he decide to leave. Having written a culinary road trip book in Italy, he pondered his next move. Jarrett is currently living in Montana, in the US - but says he'll be back in Asia some time in future.
Having achieved more than a 95% vaccine rate for its adult population, Malaysia is eager to recommence International travel. Three overlapping announcements this week paved the way, but left many questions unanswered. On the second edition of our new weekly The SEA Travel News Show, Gary also looks at the top talking points in Indonesia and Myanmar. Plus, Vincent Vichit-Vadakan dials in from Bangkok to discuss the latest on Thailand's reopening and the lessons being learned from the Phuket Sandbox strategy. He also provides some advance information about an exciting South East Asia travel webinar with an all-star cast to be hosted by Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand next week. Plus, we've got some clips from Gary and Hannah's guest appearance on this week's OAG Webinar dedicated to air travel and tourism in South East Asia. We finish with an excerpt from our podcast interview with Langkawi-based travel filmmaker Kamila Delart about how travel film and video content is likely to evolve in the new era.
"I'm trying to get people curious." Travel film and video content is changing, particularly as the pandemic redefines the way we think about the purpose of travel and the meaning of tourism. To get an insider's perspective on where we are heading, Gary chats with award-winning filmmaker Kamila Delart. Based on the Malaysian island of Langkawi for a decade, Kamila has worked with tourism boards and travel companies across South East Asia. She also produces her own short films focusing on slow travel, cultural heritage and nature. In a fascinating chat, the show journeys from shooting inside heritage temples to spotting sea otters on an empty beach and an as-yet-unfulfilled shoot in Papua New Guinea. En route, Kamila discusses her multi-award-winning film, The Egret's Voyage, which was shot along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, East Malaysia, and honoured at film festivals in Cyprus, New York and Montenegro. She also talks about the ethical and cultural responsibilities that content creators must respect, and the challenges of creating tourism video content for different demographics and markets. Above all, Kamila believes that the future of travel filmmaking will encourage people to slow down and experience destinations with all their senses.
It's been a dismal year so far for travel and tourism in South East Asia. Now, as vaccine rollouts accelerate and events – and reopening speculation – gather pace, we’re launching a brand new weekly show. The SEA Travel News Show will feature a snappy mix of news, updates and mini interviews to keep you up to speed with the latest happenings here in South East Asia. Our take-off edition features the latest from Thailand, Bali, Singapore and Australia. Hannah joins Gary to chat through the potential outlook for travel and tourism for the rest of 2021 - and into 2022. Phnom Penh-based Nick Ray, Founder of Hanuman Films and long-time Lonely Planet writer, dials in from the World Travel Market (WTM) in London to tell us about the South East Asian presence at the show. And we finish in the Maldives, which recently received its 1 millionth visitor in 2021. Ruth Franklin, Co-Founder of Secret Paradise Maldives, tells us why she is feeling optimistic for tourism to the Indian Ocean archipelago in 2022.
Destination 2022: The Maldives Hits 1 Million Visitors This Year - What Happens Next?, with Ruth Franklin
It's more than 15 months since The Maldives reopened after the COVID-19 lockdown. Progress has been impressive with a few tribulations along the way - and the nation welcomed its 1 millionth visitor in 2021 last week. Many countries in South East Asia have looked closely at how the Maldives managed its reopening and rebuilt its tourism sector. So in Part 4 of our Destination 2022 series, Gary discusses the outlook for the rest of 2021 and into 2022 with Ruth Franklin, Co-founder of Secret Paradise Maldives. Ruth explains the challenges and successes for resort and local island tourism, and some exciting home-stay plans for 2022. She outlines the key inbound markets since reopening, and others - such as China and South East Asia - that are still missing from the mix. Ruth also outlines shifts in airline routes, the value of a strong repeat visitor market and emerging patterns of travel. Looking ahead to 2022 - which marks the 50th anniversary of tourism in the Maldives - we assess the marketing strategies being developed to broaden the inbound mix as more countries permit outbound travel. Plus, what are Maldives Border Miles, and why do they matter?
Australia is reconnecting with the world, but how will its phased travel revival take shape? Certainly, Australia will be a coveted destination for tourism, family visits and business trips from South East Asia, and nations across the region will look forward to welcoming back Australian visitors. So in Part 3 of our Destination 2022 series, we head Down Under. Gary discusses the outlook for all aspects of inbound, outbound and domestic travel with Melbourne-based Simon Westaway, Strategy Director at Royce Communications, who recently completed a 2-year spell as Executive Director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council. In a broad-ranging chat, Gary and Simon address the key pandemic learnings for Australian travel and tourism, ranging from domestic state border closures to the collapse of air travel and decimation of the cruise sector. Now, as Australia's new era of travel commences, which destinations will airlines prioritise for inbound and outbound travel? Where will China and India fit into the nation's near- and long-term travel landscape? And what about Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and other South East Asian markets? What's the outlook for the Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble? And, given how deeply Australia's visitor economy has been impacted over the past two years, what are realistic expectations for the year ahead?
Bali is preparing to welcome back international tourists for the first time in 19 months. Progress is slow, however, and the situation is complex. At present, no inbound flights are confirmed. So, today's show takes an up-close look at one of South East Asia's most emblematic reopening stories. Gary is joined by Simona Chimenti, Marketing & Media Relations Director of the Bali Hotels Association and General Manager of The Pavilions Bali in Sanur, and Melina Caruso, Technology & Marketing Consultant of the Bali Hotels Association. We discuss the various regulations being put into place for vaccinated tourists, and the current list of 19 countries from which visitors can travel to Bali. We also look at the importance of domestic tourism, and the challenges ahead for hotels, airlines, tour operators and all travel businesses. Will the on-arrival quarantine period be further reduced from its current 5 days, or even removed? How are forward hotel bookings shaping up for Christmas, New Year and Lunar New Year? Will visitor profiles and key source markets change? And what is the current advice for travellers planning a trip to Bali?