Here’s a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #24, published on 17 January 2021.
6 things we learned in Travel & Tourism in Asia Pacific last week include…
Vaccines & KOLs in Indonesia
We are becoming accustomed to the media theatre of world leaders taking their jab live on TV – which turns inoculation into a prime-time viewing event and a viral meme. This week, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo joined the list. Interest, however, soon shifted from the Indonesian head of state to social media influencers who were among the first people in the country to be vaccinated. Inevitably, the media was watching avidly for social media stars making social distancing indiscretions. They found one almost immediately.
Vietjet Plans New Investments
Vietnam’s aggressive low-cost carrier Vietjet, which also counts a Thai operation – looks poised for expansion. This week, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, President and CEO of Vietjet, said she was proud the carrier had avoided both job cuts and financial losses during the pandemic. This – combined with a range of preferential government policies for the aviation sector – places Vietjet in an enviable position of being able to “invest more in 2021 in key strategic areas compared to 2020.” Ms Nguyen added: “We want to invest in our fleet, infrastructure and operational systems, as well as more staff training.”
Next Wave COVID-19 Vaccines From India
The Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines. Over recent months, it has partnered with four global COVID-19 vaccine developers. It will be the world’s largest supplier of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, under the COVISHIELD brand. It is also testing three more ‘next wave’ vaccines, which will likely be approved later in 2021 and early 2022. These include single dose and nasal, rather than injected, vaccines against the novel coronavirus offering longer immunity against infection.
“The current vaccines will prevent hospitalisation, but in 30-40% of cases you may still be able to pass on the infection. However, the next wave of vaccines will offer a higher level of sterilising immunity.” – Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute.
China & Myanmar Make Railway Progress
Myanmar’s President U Win Myint and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed to undertake a feasibility study for the critical phase 2 of the China-Myanmar railway. This would ultimately connect the city of Kunming, in China’s Yunnan province, with Kyaukphyu, a deep-water port and industrial zone on the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar. Phase 1 of the railway is due for completion in 2023.
Qantas Bemoans “3-Month Setback”
Alan Joyce, the voluble CEO of Qantas announced that Australia’s national carrier would not be able to meet its target of 80% of pre-pandemic domestic air capacity by March. Instead, the December cluster outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and a renewed round of border closured between states, means the new target is June 2021.
“What we are seeing when the [Australian state] borders open is that people are travelling. It was a very rapid recovery… and we had started over 20 new domestic routes. However, this latest outbreak has probably set us back 3 months.” – Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas
WHO Redefines Travel Terms
This week, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) redefined its terminology used for collating and publishing travel statistics. The report, entitled Conceptual Guidance on Tourism Statistics in the COVID-19 Context, clarified frequently used travel industry terms, including from “traveller,” visitor and “holiday” to “overnight visitor,” “domestic tourism” and “occupancy rate.”
This is a short summary version of Issue #24 of Asia Travel Re:Set: “Are You a Traveller or a Tourist, or Both (or Neither)?”