Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report, May 2021: In Summary

Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report Issue 3

Here’s a 60-second speed-read of the Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report, Issue #3, published on 30 May 2021.

The third monthly edition of The Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report is co-produced by Gary Bowerman, Dr Jaeyeon Choe and Michelle Dy

The report is distributed on the final Sunday of each month to subscribers of Asia Travel Re:Set.

So, here are 15 travel & tourism developments that defined May 2021 in Asia Pacific…

1) Asia Stays Closed, Europe & US Reopen

This time last year, many experts predicted that Asia Pacific destinations would reopen their borders first as several countries in the region – think Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand – were containing COVID-19 relatively well. What a difference 12 months makes during a pandemic.

2) Cocktail of Complacency & Vaccine Inequity

A confluence of factors has resulted in the current surge of infections in many Asian countries that previously seemed to be COVID-safe. However, the region should not shoulder all the blame first its current COVID-19 predicament.

3) “Book Me a Jab Tour”

As the US and Europe start to reopen, countries in the East are still struggling. Travellers from several countries in the region are researching vaccine travel destinations, including Dubai, Guam and the US, to get inoculated and take a vacation.

“Guam’s ‘Air V and V’ campaign enables US expatriates living in Asia to get vaccinated on the island and enjoy a vacation.”

4) Tourism “Facing Collapse” in Malaysia

With Malaysia beginning June by starting another full national lockdown, its travel industry continues to endure painful times. This month, Malaysia’s former Deputy Tourism Minister said the tourism sector is “facing collapse.”

5) Cargo Lifeline for ASEAN Airlines

Cargo is a rare bright spot amid a devastating year for South East Asia’s airline industry. Increased cargo revenues are helping airlines to stave off disastrous losses, but not all carriers are equal when it comes to carrying freight.

6) COVID-19 & Diplomatic Disputes

Tensions are rising, and disagreements are emerging. In May, Singapore faced off with Delhi’s Chief Minister, and the Seychelles President took and unseemly swipe at Maldives. We round up the pandemic-era diplomatic spats in Asia Pacific.

“The new form of Corona that came to Singapore is being said to be extremely dangerous for children, in India it may come as a third wave.”

7) Should the Tokyo Olympics be Cancelled? 

Will the upcoming Tokyo Olympics go ahead? “Yes”, say the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s government. “Please, No” say a majority of the Japanese people, much of the media and even Olympics sponsors. We’ve got the latest.

8) Sports Tourism Still On a Time Out

In an “ordinary year,” Asian football fans would be jetting-off to attend the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament starting in mid-June. Pre-pandemic, football tourism (and sports tourism in general) was booming, but that came to a halt in 2020. What does the future hold?

Gary Bowerman Michelle Dy Jaeyeon Choe Issue 3

9) Sustainable Duty-Free Shopping?

Duty-free shopping is enjoying a boom in South Korea thanks to innovations in ‘flights to nowhere.’ But what is the “legal fiction” of travelling internationally, and why does it matter?

10) Staying Local Brings Hope in Vietnam 

Domestic tourism has kept Vietnam’s tourism industry afloat over the past year. With a rise in infections and new variants identified, will local travellers remain eager to explore more of their country while the borders remain bolted?

11) Rural Tourism Thrives in China

Chinese tourists, who were often considered to prefer city breaks or Hainan Island holidays when travelling domestically, are exploring rural destinations across the country. The major OTAs, including, are investing accordingly.

“Chinese tourists are choosing rural and remote destinations for peace, isolation and a healthy lifestyle – and to sample local foods.”

12) ‘Millennial Airways’ Coming to Indonesia

This month, Super Air Jet announced it will take to the skies soon in Indonesia, and will cater specifically to the travel needs and desires of millennials. But what exactly makes an airline millennial-friendly?  

13) Would You Like to Choose Your Quarantine Hotel?

As full vaccine rollouts are likely to extend into next year in much of Asia, quarantine will remain a central method of pandemic travel control. Countries across the region are adjusting their quarantine terms with increased regularity as new variants emerge.

14) ‘Green List’ Status For Brunei

This month, the tiny sultanate of Brunei – located on the giant island of Borneo – was included as a ‘safe destination’ on the UK’s inaugural Green List alongside three other countries in Asia Pacific – none of which currently permits UK travellers to enter.

“Growing visitor numbers from China (21% of visitors in 2019) saw Brunei target 450,000 arrivals in 2020. Of course, that didn’t happen.”

15) Intellectual Property & Tourism in Cambodia & Sri Lanka

Debates about intellectual property (IP) rights in Asia tend to focus on consumer brands, vehicle manufacturers and industrial equipment. This month, the World Tourism Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization shifted the discussion into travel and tourism.

This is a summary of the Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report, Issue #3, May 2021, which is sent out on the final Sunday of each month to subscribers of AsiaTravel Re:Set

Read the full newsletter on Substack here

Check out more newsletters here

Share this: