Asia Travel Re: Set – Issue #68: In Summary

Asia Travel Re:Set Issue 68 cover

Here’s a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #68 – Asia Pacific Starts 2022 With Omicron Border Controls in Placepublished on 9 January 2022.

It’s January, which should be prime travel season in much of the region.

Not this year, as 2022 starts with most borders either closed or heavily controlled throughout Asia Pacific.

This issue assesses which governments are shutting down travel to slow the spread of Omicron, and prevent the worst-case scenario: overwhelmed healthcare systems and new lockdowns. Read this issue in full HERE

So, here’s a quick recap of this week’s top 5 talking points…

1) Lunar New Year Uncertainties

Asia Pacific’s important Lunar New Year holiday season is just three weeks away. Intensifying travel restrictions mean that regional travel will be minimal this year. Domestic travel activity could also be impacted. Will governments introduce local movement restrictions to slow down the transmission of Omicron? This is possible, especially in some South East Asian countries, and maybe Japan and South Korea.

2) Test & Go(ne) in Thailand

Thailand’s quarantine-free Test & Go tourism entry scheme (launched on 1 November) offered high hopes for a tourism recovery during the annual December-February peak season. These hopes began to fade when applications were suspended by the government on 22 December. This week, Thailand indefinitely suspended the Test & Go programme as it prepares to battle a rising Omicron wave.

3) Umrah Suspended in Malaysia

Back in November, Malaysia pledged to reopen its borders by 1 January 2022. Then Omicron intervened. This week, Malaysia suspended Umrah travel to Saudi Arabia after several returning pilgrims tested positive. Influential Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also said “international border controls are amongst ways [being used] to slow down the spread of Omicron.”

4) “Tide Goes Out” in New Zealand

An article by Stuff in New Zealand perfectly highlights the situation in many countries. Without inbound tourists, the busy Christmas and New Year domestic travel season is followed by “the tide going out” in January as bookings drop off dramatically. It adds that the Omicron situation worldwide means “It is not clear if fully-vaccinated tourists will still be able to travel to New Zealand from the end of April, as originally planned.”

5) Quarantine Challenges in Vietnam

This Vietnamnet article highlights another regional problem: overcoming mandatory quarantine. The impact is starting to take effect in Vietnam after it restored flights to five destinations – Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia and the US – on 1 January. On-arrival quarantine is not only a barrier to travel, it is proving an immovable obstacle for reopening more airline routes.

This is a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #68 – Asia Pacific Starts 2022 With Omicron Border Controls in Placepublished on 9 January 2022.

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