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

Asia Travel & Tourism Report 9 Cover

Here’s a 60-second speed-read of the Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report Issue 9, published on 28 November 2021.

The ninth monthly edition of the Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report is co-produced by Gary Bowerman and Dr Jaeyeon Choe

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

So, here are the month’s 10 top travel talking points as Omicron casts a shadow over South East Asia’s reopening…

1) Omicron Threatens New Global Crisis

It’s almost 23 months since the world first learned about cases of “suspected pneumonia” in the Chinese city of Wuhan. We know what happened next. This week, we learned that a new COVID-19 “variant of concern,” B.1.1.529 – or Omicron – has seemingly spread worldwide.

2) South East Asia’s Reopening Lists

Cambodia’s decision this month to reopen to vaccinated travellers from all countries is unusual in South East Asia.  We’ve become accustomed to governments, such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, selecting tranches of eligible countries based on various criteria.

3) Thailand Reports Gradual Recovery

Thailand’s eagerness to rebuild tourism is driven by its pre-pandemic contribution of between 12% (direct) and 20% (direct + indirect) to GDP. In the first two weeks after reopening quarantine-free to visitors from 63 countries on 1 November, around 50,000 visitors arrived in the country.

4) Diverse Approaches in Australia & New Zealand

A contrasting summer season beckons Down Under as Australia and New Zealand follow different paths toward rebuilding their vital visitor economies.

5) Bali Retreats from Inbound Tourism

Bali officially ‘reopened’ to inbound travel on 14 October. However, several weeks into the reopening, no airlines had resumed direct services. The number of advance hotel reservations from international visitors has been low to possibly zero.


6) South Koreans Kickstart Vietnam’s Reopening

Vietnam began the gradual reopening if its travel economy this month. Among the first to arrive 20 November were a group of 200 South Korean tourists to Vietnam’s largest island Phu Quoc.

7) Squid Game(s) for VTL Visitors to South Korea

On 15 November, the first tourists from Singapore since the start of the pandemic arrived in South Korea under a bilateral Vaccinated Travel Lane agreement. Among the new enticements on offer was a chance to participate in ‘traditional’ Korean games that featured in the TV series, Squid Game.

8) Readying to Ride the China-Laos Railway

The spectacularly beautiful country of Laos is preparing for Friday 3 December, which will see the opening of the long-awaited China-Laos railway – which runs through the country from the Chinese border to the capital, Vientiane.

9) Vietnam’s 1st Metro Line in Hanoi

On 6 November, Hanoi opened Vietnam’s first metro line. The capital city of 8.3 million people is plagued by traffic congestion, and the new metro line is intended to increase the number of public transport users, reduce traffic congestion and ease the city’s worsening air pollution.

10) Philippines Prepares to Reopen to 159 Countries

Fully vaccinated visitors from 159 “non-visa required countries” will be able to enter the Philippines for general travel purposes from 1 December, the government has announced. 

This is a summary of the Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report Issue 9 November 2021, which is sent out on the final Sunday of each month to subscribers of AsiaTravel Re:Set 

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