Asia Travel Re: Set – Issue #107: In Summary

Asia Travel Re:Set Issue 107 Cover

Here’s a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #107 – Tourism in South East Asia Confronts the Return of Transboundary Haze!, published on 9 April 2023.

Read Asia Travel Re:set Issue 107 in full HERE

This week, Chiang Mai in Thailand topped the world cities’ pollution index. Toxic smoke clouds also shrouded parts of Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. The so-called “haze” is caused by plantation burning at this time of year. Booking cancellations caused by the poor air quality represent a setback as tourism in South East Asia starts to recover.

In recent weeks, swathes of northern South East Asia have been shrouded in hazardous smoke. This is an annual dry season event, but was less apparent during the wetter-then-normal pandemic years.

In 2016, ministers from the 10 South East Asian nations agreed a “Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control.” The agreement promised “a strategic framework for the implementation of collaborative actions to control transboundary haze pollution in the ASEAN region.” Seven years later, progress on fulfilling the terms of the agreement appears hazy.

For the tourism sector in South East Asia, unhealthy air quality is clouding a vibrant first quarter of 2023.

Travel momentum has been building ahead of China’s May Day holiday. Starting on 29 April, this five-day public holiday is widely anticipated to kickstart the return of Chinese travellers to South East Asia.

Fears of a prolonged haze season in mainland South East Asia could drive Chinese tourism bookings to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

However, the recent experiences in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar sound alarm bells as the rainy season nears completion in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The 2023 “haze” story is likely just beginning.

Read Asia Travel Re:set Issue 107 in full HERE

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