Each weekly issue of Asia Travel Re:Set features the travel DashBoard. This curated selection of 5 vital statistics provides a numerical snapshot of the week.
Here’s a rewind of three DashBoard presentations from January 2021, with a short commentary for each:
Issue #27: Is ASEAN More Divided Than Ever on Travel?
This week’s DashBoard zones in on Indonesia.
The largest country in South East also counts the region’s biggest population and economy.
Indonesia’s current population of 270.20 million makes it the world’s 4th most populace nation, and the largest Muslim-majority country.
Indonesia’s headcount is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand – the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most populace nations in ASEAN, respectively.
Indonesia’s economy failed to avoid negative growth in 2020, though it is predicted to rebound strongly in 2021.
Bali, however, may struggle to edge towards growth this year given the island’s heavy reliance on tourism spending.
Issue #26: When Will Chinese Outbound Travellers Return?
China’s Travel Numbers Are Huge, Even When They’re Not.
Year-on-year comparisons are difficult at present, given the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances.
However, 3 of this week’s statistics show that even though Chinese domestic travel has proved robust in recent months, the annual shortfalls are vast.
1) 1.15 billion domestic Chinese New Year trips in 2021 would mark a 20% drop from 2020, and a 60% slump from 2019. In fact, it would be the lowest Spring Festival trip total since 2003.
2) Guangzhou Baiyun’s impressive airport passenger total of 43.77 million in 2020 represents a big slump from 73.39 million passengers in 2019.
3) Any destination would be delighted with 600,000 monthly visitors. For Macau, the December 2020 total compares to 3.01 million in December 2019, and 3.6 million in December 2018.
Issue #24: Are You a Traveller or a Tourist, or Both (or Neither)?
Incremental costs will be a future of travel in future.
2 things immediately jump out from this week’s DashBoard selection.
1) A COVID-19 insurance minimum threshold in Singapore, and a new Tourism Fee in Thailand.
The additional costs to be borne by travellers were signposted last year.
Remember Cambodia’s USD3000 arrival deposit (to cover medical fees and funeral costs)? Or the rate of COVID-19 tests required for the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble? Thailand’s Special Tourist Visa also contained a slew of extra costs.
Whenever travel reboots in Asia Pacific, the addition costs and fees will likely be notified upfront, rather than hidden in the fine print.
We may also see travellers paying for their own COVID-19 inoculation to expedite the process of getting back in the air.
So is the era of visa-free and visa on-arrival access we once enjoyed gone forever – or are we simply about to enter a transitional period?