This Week’s Top 5 Travel Takeaways: Issue #6

Asia Travel Re:Set Top 5 Travel Takeaways: Issue #6

Welcome to our easy-to read analysis of Asia Pacific’s Top 5 Travel Takeaways: Issue #6.

This week’s snapshots feature Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Each Monday, we deconstruct 5 key travel and tourism stories you may have missed.

Top 5 Travel Takeaways: Issue #6 is adapted from Issue 73 of Asia Travel Re:Set.

Click HERE to read this week’s edition.

1) Vietnam to Green Light Reopening

Two years after shutting its borders, Vietnam will welcome back vaccinated visitors from 15 March. But, mirroring the trend across South East Asia, travellers should carefully monitor the visa/entry rules.

Takeaway: Vietnam has restored flights from 20 of the 28 countries that served the country before COVID-19. Flight frequencies will take time to rebuild, however. While this marks progress towards welcoming back tourists on 15 March, the travel industry is seeking more clarity. Entry rules for inbound visitors remain opaque, and the clock is ticking for tourism players to prepare.

2) Singapore Super-Charges VTLs

Singapore scaled up its daily arrivals quota for 24 quarantine-free Vaccinated Travel Lanes to November 2021 levels. It will also launch postponed VTLs with Qatar, UAE & Saudi Arabia, and add Israel, Hong Kong, the Philippines & more Thai cities to the VTL list. Plus, it will ease testing requirements for travellers.

Takeaway: Singapore is committed to a full border reopening, but the government remains hesitant. Daily Omicron infections are rising fast, and this is an inhibiting factor. Although Singapore expresses a desire to “live with the virus,” the possibility of more reverse steps – to mitigate “bumps along the road” as it says – remains.

3) Western Australia Agrees to Reopen

Western Australia will finally join Australia’s reopening party. The rest of the country will greet vaccinated visitors on 21 February, but Western Australia has chosen 3 March to lift its travel ban.

Takeaway: Nicknamed “Fortress Australia” due to its pandemic isolation from the rest of the world, Australia is ready to reopen. It has endured long periods of lockdown, and bitter internal state border closures. These earned it another epithet: The Fractured Federation. Western Australia implemented the strictest state border controls in recent months.

4) Malaysia in a Muddle Over Tourism

As discussed in Issue 72 of Asia Travel Re:Set, Malaysia has stated that it is not yet ready to confirm a reopening schedule. The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said this week that further “study” needs been undertaken.

Takeaway: Malaysia risks falling behind its neighbour countries in ASEAN. Alongside Brunei and Myanmar, Malaysia is yet to press the reopening button, even though it has a high vaccination rate. Various political factors are in play, but the economy badly needs tourism and business travel to return. Entering Q2 with its borders closed would be unpopular with travel players.

5) More Pressure on Japan’s PM

Internal pressure continues to intensify on Japan’s government to go beyond permitting foreign students and business travellers to enter the country.

Takeaway: Strategic and economic burdens are converging on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as Japan prepares to “review” its strict COVID-19 border policies. As this opinion in The Mainichi states: “Calls to review entry restrictions have been erupting from the business world… the government must expedite efforts to create a system that ensures both that infections are kept down, and that Japan is an open country.”

Click HERE to read Issue 73 of Asia Travel Re:Set – Singapore, Super-Charging VTLs and the Road to a Full Reopening

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