Here’s a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #109 – 6 Tourism Stories You May Have Missed This Week in Asia Pacific!, published on 7 May 2023.
It’s been a holiday period in Asia. International Labour Day was combined with national and cultural celebrations to create extended ‘Golden Week’ public holidays in many countries.
So what did we learn? Domestic and regional travel rebounded strongly from the same 2022 period. Various new challenges emerged, though, including a spike in Covid infections. Here are 6 key takeaways:
1) Domestic Tourism A-to-Zibo in China
Travel returned in earnest in China. Some 274 million domestic trips were made during the 5-day May Golden Week. Social media has been buzzing about Zibo, an industrial city in Shandong province. Zibo became a hot destination due to its open-air barbecues, with hotel bookings “increasing 20-fold year-on-year.”
2) Tourism Quota in Bali
After talk about a tourism tax and a scooter ban, now comes a proposed tourist quota. Bali’s governor Wayan Koster suggested introducing a cap on arrived in an effort to stifle bad behaviour by foreign tourists who disrespect local ways of living. Could visitors have to book 1 year in advance?
3) Cannabis Tourism Uncertainty in Thailand
Almost 1 year after Thailand became South East Asia’s first country to decriminalise cannabis, nerves are jangling. The lack of a legal framework around cannabis use means the nation’s hotel and tourism authorities are unsure about the outlook after the May 14 general election.
4) Casino Tourism Controversy in Malaysia
A proposed casino at the new Borneo Highlands golf resort in the state of Sarawak is causing a media stir. Malaysia’s Tourism, Arts & Culture Minister Tiong King Sing, who is from Sarawak, supports the casino project. Meanwhile. political party PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) is strongly opposed. What happens next?
5) Tourism Cost Complaints in Vietnam
Domestic travel scored well, with Vietnam recording 7 million domestic trips during the 5-day holiday. This was a strong uplift from 5 million in 2022. The media, however, has been filled with tourist complaints about overpriced domestic flight tickets and over-charging in popular destinations.
6) Is Covid Caution Returning?
Media across North East Asia and South East Asia has been reporting rising Covid-19 infections. This coincides with the WHO declaring that the virus no longer “a public health emergency of international concern.” Mask wearing in some destinations has become more prevalent in recent days.