Issue #82 - 10 Asia Pacific Travel Stories You May Have Missed This Week
Updates from China, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and more.
Welcome to issue 82 of Asia Travel Re:Set…
This was a week of family reunions at New Zealand airports, ultra-long-haul hype in Australia, positive reopening news in Japan and Laos, culturally insensitive tourism behaviour in Bali and official reaffirmation of China’s ‘Dynamic Covid-Zero’ policy.
So, I thought I’d dig up 10 stories that may have journeyed beneath the radar.
Next week, I’ll be heading to Europe, so the newsletter will take a vacation for 2 weeks. Back on Sunday 22 May.
Thanks for being onboard.
The Sunday Itinerary
- “IN THE NEWS”
- 10 Asia Pacific Travel Stories You May Have Missed This Week
Updates from China, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and more
- Deciphering South East Asia’s Hottest Travel Recovery Buzzwords
Assessing the evolving lingo of travel as optimism returns to the tourism industry
“IN THE NEWS”
This week, I was interviewed by April Lee Tan for her Insight current affairs show on ABS-CBN News in the Philippines about the outlook for travel in South East’s Asia. The show airs on Tuesday.
My first article for an academic journal was published this week. Many thanks to Dr Jaeyeon Choe for commissioning me to write An Industry Perspective: Vietnam Confronts Dual Forces in Tourism Development: Sustainable Initiatives Versus Megaproject Investments for a special issue of e-Review of Tourism Research dedicated to Sustainable Tourism Development in Vietnam.
10 Asia Pacific Travel Stories You May Have Missed This Week
1) United Nations Debate on Tourism
The General Assembly of the United Nations held a “high-level thematic debate" on the theme of Putting sustainable and resilient tourism at the heart of an inclusive recovery. This was a global debate, not specific to Asia Pacific, but it more than merits inclusion here. A key tenet was “We must not reboot global tourism in a business-as-usual manner, we must be more ambitious than that, more responsible than that." Watch the debate here. It was actually pretty good.
2) China Tests Omicron-Specific Vaccine
Many China-watchers (including me) have argued that the reopening of its economy and its borders will rely heavily on administering a homemade mRNA vaccine. So could a new clinical trial for a vaccine developed by Suzhou Abogen Biosciences provide the pathway out of ‘Dynamic Covid-Zero’? Reuters weighs up the outlook in Chinese Omicron-specific mRNA COVID vaccine candidate to be trialed in UAE.
3) Vietnam Bigs Up its Glass Bridge
This week’s bragging rights go to Vietnam for claiming to open “the world’s longest glass bridge” in time for the Reunification Day holiday. This story was picked up by media on all continents, which is fitting for what is a multinational project. In World's longest glass bridge in Vietnam draws thousands upon opening, VN Express explains: “The bridge's deck is made of super tempered glass by leading French company Saint Gobain… The entire cable car system was imported from South Korea.”
4) Will South Korea Scrap PCR Tests?
With more countries in Asia removing the requirement for a PCR travel test, South Korea could be next up. As The Korea Herald points out in Korean Air president urges to scrap PCR testing upon departure, arrival: “Other airlines have expanded up to the 90% level for international routes compared to the pre-coronavirus period, but South Korean air carriers are only operating some 10% of the previous routes.”
5) ‘Blecation’ is a Thing in Thailand
Or at least it is with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. As the Bangkok Post reports in TAT aims to rekindle East Asian market, Thailand’s tourism marketers in Tokyo “will introduce a ‘Blecation campaign’ combining business, leisure and vacation to attract corporate firms and independent tourists.” Yep, Blecation!
6) Environment vs Tourism in the Philippines
This Rappler article, Palawan council reverses decision to pave way for ‘Maldivian’ resort on forestland, kind of says what many people are feeling across South East Asia right now as new tourism megaproject investments are unveiled: “Like many parts of Palawan, the pristinely beautiful and biodiverse town of Culion is being rezoned to pave the way for tourism development that would not bode well for the environment.”
7) Penang to “Regulate” Homestay Rentals
Bad news if you bought a property in Penang to rent out on Airbnb. Or if you’re a digital nomad planning to head to the island for an extended stay. In Penang plans to regulate short-term rentals, homestays, Malaysia’s The Edge Markets reports “[the state government] will set up new rules and regulations to regulate short-term rental homes or homestays… [as] they have created unfair competition for licensed hotels.”
8) Japanese Travel Agency Turns to Farming
With Japan’s travel lockout continuing to slam the tourism sector, travel agency H.I.S. has instead “set up a wholly owned subsidiary to produce and sell fresh fruits and vegetables.” In COVID-hit Japan travel agency looks for growth in agriculture, Japan Today notes the firm “is not ignoring its core business, as it plans to incorporate tours at the farms to allow people to have a hands-on agricultural experience.”
9) Singapore Singles Out Sailing Tourism
The City State’s accelerating shift into sports tourism takes to the water. In S'pore will be first Asian country to host SailGP; racing at East Coast Park on Jan 14-15, The Straits Times reports exactly what it says in the headline. Singapore will host one of the 10 legs of the SailGP hydrofoiling series in 2023 as part of a 3-year deal. Other destinations hosting the series include Bermuda, Copenhagen and Saint-Tropez.
10) Macao Hosts Drone Gala
For 4 nights during the May holiday in China, Macao is hosting the Light up Macao Drone Gala. According to the Macao Government Tourism Office, it will feature “two drone shows to take place each evening at Nam Van Lake”. Each show lasts for 15 minutes and promises “A constellation of 880 drones choreographed to present a dazzling array of 2D and 3D patterns combined with lighting, music and narration.”
Deciphering South East Asia’s Hottest Travel Recovery Buzzwords
On this week’s The South East Asia Travel Show, we discuss the evolving lingo of travel and tourism. Which currently hot 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 Bounce-back 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.
Listen to Deciphering South East Asia’s Hottest Travel Recovery Buzzwords, here:
Or search for The South East Asia Travel Show on any podcast platform.
And, that’s a wrap for Issue 82.
I’m taking a two-week break in Europe, and will be back on 22 May.