The South East Asia Travel Show

Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 5 - Australia Targets ASEAN Markets, with Brent Anderson, Tourism Australia

For much of the pandemic, 'Fortress Australia' isolated itself from the world. Now, after a rapid vaccine rollout, its borders are open. Tourism Australia is prioritising key South East Asian markets and airlines to help drive its recovery. So, this week, Gary and Hannah chat all things travel and tourism Down Under with Brent Anderson, Regional General Manager, South East Asia, of Tourism Australia. From his Singapore base, Brent explains how Australia developed its marketing campaigns to find opportunities as this new era of travel commences, and the importance of entertaining digital engagement. Rebuilding airline connectivity and capacity will be a challenge, and mass travel will take time to recover - but Tourism Australia has clearly set out its priority markets and segments. Brent explains why Western Australia's reopening on 3 March is vital for the South East Asian VFR market, and hopes for an upswing of self-drive "pick your own adventure" trips. Plus, which are Australia's "Rising Star" inbound markets, and how will it cope with the absence of Chinese visitors? And when and where will Australian outbound travellers be heading this year?

Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 4 - Pandemic Travel Experiments That Failed

Who remembers the "one billion visitors by 2024" prediction? How about GeNose testing, the Special Tourist Visa and the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble? It's been a long two years of the pandemic, and various attempts have been made to revive travel in South East Asia. In Part 4 of the Two Years of Travel Disruption series, Gary & Hannah rewind through 2020 and 2021 to pick out the travel proposals, initiatives and experiments that didn't get off the ground - or, if they did, faded from view. En route, we recall Singapore's "contract signing speed dating" project, a spurned sandbox in Cambodia and the absence of promised airline support in Thailand. Plus, what happened to the Malaysia-Indonesia VTL, why did Indonesia backtrack on banning backpackers, and will there ever be an ASEAN Travel Corridor - or at least mutual recognition of vaccine certificates between the 10 member countries?

Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 3: A New Era Beckons in Singapore, with Karen Yue, TTG Asia

Singapore and Thailand have been at the forefront of restoring controlled access for travellers over recent months. Now, as other South East Asian countries reopen their borders, how will Singapore respond? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome back Karen Yue, Group Editor of TTG Asia, to discuss the changes that have happened over the past two years, and the outlook for 2022 and beyond. Singapore has taken a different route to elsewhere in ASEAN with its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) concept. Momentum was building in late 2021, with 24 active and 3 pending VTLs. Omicron interceded, but this week Singapore restored its previous visitor quotas and opened new VTLs. Entry regulations are also being eased. So, is Singapore - which was home to South East Asia's busiest airport back in 2019 - on the way towards "buying and flying" once again? And where are Singaporeans eager to travel to? Will Singapore's MICE, business events and hospitality sectors refresh and thrive? Plus, what is the future for Cruises to Nowhere, and are multi-destination cruises on the way back? And what could be some of longer term impacts of the Great Travel Shutdown for Singapore and South East Asia as a whole?

Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 2: Bali, Indonesia & Beyond with Stuart McDonald, Travelfish

The prolonged closure of Bali has been a global media case study for the two-year decline of travel in South East Asia. As it slowly reopens, Gary chats to Bali-based Stuart McDonald, Founder of independent travel information company Travelfish, a prolific travel journalist and a respected voice on tourism in South East Asia. In April 2020, Stuart came onto the show (episode 13) and said: “I think we’re looking at least 2 to 2.5 years from today before any kind of substantial recreational tourism restarts. Obviously, I hope I’m wrong.” He reflects on that statement and describes what has (and hasn't) changed across Bali, including popular destinations such as Canggu, Ubud and Kuta. Having taken a recent trip to Flores, Stuart discusses ongoing development in Labuan Bajo - one of Indonesia's Super Priority tourism investment destinations) - and changes under way at the Komodo National Park. He also recounts tales of diving one of Indonesia's best sites, meeting Bulgarian backpackers and speaking with elders in a beautiful remote village. Plus, why is travel insurance a bigger issue than ever before, and why did Stuart decide to return to study for an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management?

Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 1: 15 Temporary & Permanent Changes in Travel

It’s almost two years since South East Asian nations began shutting their borders as COVID-19 spread across the region and beyond. Over the coming weeks, Gary and Hannah will put together a series of shows with the help of regional experts to assess the various changes that are already occurring because of the pandemic, plus changes that might happen in the coming months – and those that perhaps should, but maybe won’t, happen at all. To kick things off, we’ve created a 15-point list of evident shifts across travel and tourism since March 2020. These range from huge job losses, business closures and lasting damage to travel infrastructure to the rise of the SuperApps, and from shifts in the 'quality' vs 'mass' tourism debate to uncertainties surrounding the return of business travel. Plus, what is the future of travel insurance? Have we seen the back of over-tourism? And how have consumer perceptions about overseas travel altered during the past two years?

Is South East Asia Ready to Reboot Travel in the Year of the Tiger?

South East Asia is preparing for its third successive Lunar New Year holiday – aka Chinese New Year and Tet in Vietnam – to be impacted by the pandemic. Although this year will focus on domestic travel across the region, there is a growing sense that governments are readying to reopen their borders. Quite how quickly that will happen, or at what scale, is still hard to predict - but positivity is in the air. Today, Gary and Hannah tour vicariously around South East Asia to check out what is and isn’t happening in travel and tourism... and which countries are setting out their next moves. Are the Philippines poised to reopen?Will Singapore scale up its VTLs, and will the borders be open for the return of the Formula 1 Grand Prix? Is Vietnam edging towards welcoming back inbound travellers? Can we expect a similar announcement from Malaysia? What's the latest on Thailand's revival of its 'Test & Go' visitor entry scheme? And is Bali concentrating exclusively on hosting the G20 summit? Let's hope these hopeful vibes bring positive actions for the region's travel and tourism landscape in the Year of the Tiger.

22 for 2022: A Wishlist for Travel & Tourism in ASEAN - Part II

A new year brings new hopes … and plentiful new challenges. So (roll the drum…) it’s time for Part II of our third annual travel wish list show, which this year we are calling ’22 for 2022’. Gary and Hannah have put together a list of 20 ways in which travel and tourism could get better in 2022, plus two ideas submitted by our learned listeners – to make a total of 22. In Part II, our travel wishes include: governments start communicating with common sense, not in vacuous acronyms and proxy terms; domestic tourism stimulus packages assist players across the value chain; and the tourism industry is seen as an attractive once again for fresh grads. Plus, should all tourism businesses be required to set and publish zero emissions targets? Will the  travel media be more responsible with its pandemic terminology? And when will travel be fun again?

Producing Travel Shows in Lombok, with Josh Edwards

The beautiful Indonesian island of Lombok has long sat in the shadow of its neighbour, Bali. Things may change in future, as the coastal region of Mandalika has been prioritised by Indonesia's government for tourism infrastructure development. On today’s show, Gary chats about capturing travel on camera in different Lombok locations with Senggigi-based independent filmmaker Josh Edwards. Josh’s career took a twist during the pandemic, as he relocated from the UK to Lombok and set about producing an engaging travel show series called The Lombok Life. Season 1 featured broad-ranging documentaries filmed in the Gili Islands and at the Bayu Nyale Festival. He also climbed Mount Rinjani, and interviewed his local guide about his experiences climbing the volcano during the 2018 earthquake. Josh is currently shooting Season 2, and promises new episodes covering local cuisines, coral reef restoration and the Mandalika motor-racing circuit, which will host the Indonesian Moto GP in March. We also talk about the recent floods in western Lombok, the scale of development in Mandalika - and his work with an environmental foundation that organises beach clean-ups and helps protect Lombok's mangroves and reefs.

22 For 2022: A Wishlist for Travel & Tourism in ASEAN - Part I

A new year brings new hopes ...  and plentiful new challenges. So (roll the drum...) it’s time for our third annual travel wish list show, which this year we are calling ’22 for 2022’. Gary and Hannah have put together a list of 20 ways in which travel and tourism could get better – and surely, it really must get better – in 2022. We also added two extra ideas submitted by our learned listeners – to make a total of 22. The show is separated into two halves. In Part 1, our travel wishes include: a separation of border control from tourism management; a recognition that quarantines are unworkable; the word “reopening” will disappear from our vocabulary; and a more nuanced understanding of the value that backpacker tourism brings to South East Asia. Plus, the travel industry must confront the fact that two years of Covid-19 have changed many things. Some of these changes will be temporary, but some might be permanent.

2022: The Current State of Travel & Tourism in South East Asia

It's January. This should be peak season for travel across South East Asia. But 2022 is not starting as a 'normal' year. Instead, as we prepare for a third year of living with COVID-19, the impending spread of Omicron dominates the economic and social discourse across the region. Shards of light for travel and tourism glistened briefly back in November 2021, but most borders are once again closed or heavily patrolled. The same applies throughout much of Asia Pacific. So, Gary and Hannah kickstart the third year of the podcast by updating the current situation in 9 of the 10 ASEAN countries (in order of appearance): Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The important Lunar New Year holiday period looks like being domestic-only again this year, and a washout for intra-regional travel - but what are the prospects for the rest of the first quarter of 2022?

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