The Current Situation in Travel Industry, All You Need To Know: A Compilation from AP LBC on Asia and America
Jul 02 / admin@aplbc
The COVID-19 pandemic had created a massive impact in the travel industry and continue to affect the world’s most prolific and busy industry for a second year in succession. At AP LBC, our travel and globe-trotting experts have compiled a list of important updates on the industry and how the virus has created a massive disruption in the industry that flourished fluently before.
In this compilation, our experts have made a compilation and collection of important updates in the industry from the countries of Asia and America.
This how the situation stands currently as per the updates.
1. Things as it is: Asia (China and Hong Kong)
a. Tripcom’s CEO sees pivot to private tours in mainland China
Private group tours refer to trips that cater to a family or a small number of travellers who prefer to avoid public transport amid worries about contracting the coronavirus. Trip.com said bookings for private group tours during the upcoming Labour Day holiday from May 1 to 5 have jumped 533 per cent from a year earlier.
b. Hong Kong – Singapore travel bubble back on for 26 May launch
According to a statement by Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, the travel bubble will have a cautious start, with just one flight a day in each direction and passengers capped at 200 passengers on each flight for the first two weeks. But with the recent TTSH cluster, further determination of how this ATB will go will need to be reviewed.
c. Hong Kong Vaccinations a must for future travel bubbles
Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development said future discussions on travel-bubble arrangements with other countries would be premised on outbound local travellers having had two coronavirus vaccine jabs.
d. Hong Kong social distancing measures to ease as “vaccination bubbles” are ongoing
Bars and karaoke lounges in Hong Kong will be allowed to open gradually while restaurants will be given the option of easing dine-in restrictions to allow up to eight people per table from 29 April.
Hong Kong – However, there are signs of the new variant covid cases starting from a man from India and government is trying to contain and track the linkage of possible spread to the community.
e. 35-year-old Wincastle Travel hit by epidemic and closes down
The epidemic has lasted for more than a year and the tourism industry has almost stopped resulting in many travel agencies closing down. The 35-year-old Wincastle Travel with four offices closed down on 23 April.
2. Industry Stat Update – Asia (North Asia)
a. Singapore submits travel bubble proposal to Taiwan
Singapore’s transportation chief confirmed Monday (April 26) that the city-state’s government has submitted a proposal to Taiwan to launch a travel bubble between the two nations.
b. Taiwan to send 150 oxygen concentrators to India
As India’s second COVID-19 wave has led to a desperate shortage of medical supplies, Taiwan announced Thursday (April 29) that it will be sending 150 oxygen concentrators to India this weekend.
c. Taiwan to trial 7-day quarantine for those vaccinated in May
With 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine shots administered worldwide, Taiwan’s CECC announced that it would start a pilot program in May that will allow people arriving in Taiwan from overseas to cut their mandatory quarantine down to seven days.
d. Japan to introduce ‘vaccine passports’ for international travel
Japan plans to introduce “vaccine passports” to make it easier for people who have been inoculated against COVID-19 to travel internationally, government sources said.
e. Japan Health ministry panel to make decision on Moderna vaccine on May 20
A health ministry panel may decide as early as May 20 whether to approve Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in Japan, government sources said possibly paving the way for a second type of shot to be available in the country after the one developed by Pfizer Inc.
3. Industry Feedback – Asia (S.E.A.)
a. Singapore hotels, tour operators rev up for return of Hong Kong travellers after travel bubble announcement
Tourism and hospitality players in Singapore are raring to go with new inbound and outbound campaigns, as the country’s travel bubble with Hong Kong is set to take off on May 26. Launching packages targeted at incoming travellers, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and Fullerton Bay Hotel will offer perks such as arrival champagne, limousine transfers and private dinners exclusively for Hong Kong guests.
b. Singapore can consider allowing travel to places with low Covid-19 cases without quarantine for those vaccinated
Singapore can consider allowing residents who are vaccinated to travel to countries that have low numbers of Covid-19 cases without having to be quarantined on their return.
c. Singapore tops ranking of world’s best places to be amid Covid-19 pandemic
A combination of nailing the virus and rolling out vaccines at one of the fastest rates in Asia saw Singapore top Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking this month, dethroning New Zealand for the first time in the measure of the best and worst places to be in the pandemic era.
d. Singapore-HK air tickets for May to early June snapped up after travel bubble re-launch announced
Flights from Singapore to Hong Kong have sold out after the re-launch of an air travel bubble slated to start on May 26 was announced. Tickets for one-way direct flights from Singapore to Hong Kong by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Cathay Pacific Airways from May 26 to June 4 were sold out as at noon on April 27
e. Singapore further tightens border measures for travellers from India
Singapore will ban all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India within the last 14 days from setting foot into or transiting through the country from April 23
f. Vaccinated Malaysian workers may be allowed to return from Singapore for Aidilfitri, says Johor rep
A move to allow Malaysian workers that have received Covid-19 vaccination in Singapore to return especially to celebrate Aidilfitri is being studied.
g. Indonesia will stick to ‘3B’ travel bubble plan
Indonesia’s plan to restart international tourism has gone through a number of false starts. However, Indonesia’s tourism and creative economy minister is assuring the sector that the Bali-Batam-Bintan travel bubble is “still on schedule” to open in June-July.
h. Vietnam among six travel bubble destinations Taiwan eyes
Following the success of the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble, Taiwan is actively negotiating with Vietnam, Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore to set up similar travel bubbles. Palau is an island country in the western Pacific.
i. With few travellers, Thailand turns airport into vaccination centre
Long queues have returned to Thailand’s unusually quiet international Bangkok airport this week, after it converted its check-in area into an immunisation centre as part of efforts to speed up its COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
j. Karnataka govt announces lockdown from April 27 for 14 days
Karnataka on April 26 announced that the entire state, including Bengaluru city, will go for a full lockdown for two weeks starting from April 27 night in a bid to contain the raging COVID-19 crisis in the state.
k. Philippines & Cambodia ban travellers from India
The Philippines will ban travellers coming from India to prevent the spread of a new variant blamed for a huge surge in cases in the South Asian nation. Travellers coming from India or those with travel history to that country within the last 14 days before arrival will be banned from entering the Philippines from April 29 to May 14.
l. Seychelles to allow entry to vaccinated visitors from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
In the wake of the ongoing rise of COVID-19 outbreak in the Asian Subcontinent, Seychelles has issued new travel measures for Indian visitors in a press conference held recently in the island nation. Effective immediately, the Public Health Commissioner has announced that only vaccinated visitors from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who have completed two weeks after their second dose are permitted to travel to and enter Seychelles with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
4. Update on Thailand and India’s Lockdown:
a. Thailand’s three-stage roadmap to reopen six major tourism provinces
Minister of Tourism and Sport said the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), approved a three-stage roadmap to reopen six major tourism provinces — Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai — to vaccinated foreign visitors.
b. Thailand Govt eyes 30m jabs by August
The Public Health Ministry has unveiled a plan to progressively roll out almost 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine across all 77 provinces by August.
c. Koh Samui planning to implement safe-and-sealed “Samui Wonder Island” protocol to welcome foreign tourists by July
The CCSA has in principle approved Koh Samui’s reopening plan, “Samui Wonder Island”. It would see foreign travellers transferred from the airport to the hotel in a private car with protective barriers, travellers would need to quarantine in their hotel rooms until day 2/3, when they would be tested.
d. Phuket to open without quarantine to foreigners by 1 July
Foreign visitors will be allowed entry to Phuket without quarantine from 1 July, with nearly a million doses of Covid-19 vaccine ready for local residents before then, under a plan approved by provincial authorities.
e. Thailand sees Chinese spearheading tourists’ return to Phuket after reopening
Thailand expects about two million foreign tourists, mostly Chinese and Europeans, to visit Phuket this year after the nation’s most popular resort island reopens to vaccinated visitors from July 1.
f. India night curfew from March 28: Timings, restrictions, all about Covid-19 situation
India had announced that the state government is imposing a night curfew in the state from Sunday i.e March 28 onwards. The night curfew is expected to begin at 8:00 pm and will end at 7:00 am.
g. India Summer travel: DGCA approves operation of 18843 flights per week
India’s civil aviation regulatory body, has approved 18843 flights per week for the summer schedule. These flights will be operational from 108 airports in India. The summer schedule began on the last Sunday of March, and is set to end on the last Sunday of October 2021.
h. Russia opens borders for all visa categories & sets new visa centres in India
“We are open for all!” – was the welcome message for the citizen of India planning to visit Russia, pertaining to all visa categories, as two new Russia visa centres officially opened doors in Mumbai and New Delhi in March.
i. Air India’s Hyderabad London flight booking is open to authorized travel agents
AI’s Hyderabad-London flight booking is open to authorized travel agents. Air India has announced that it is all set to launch flights between Hyderabad and London from May 9, 2021 to September 6, 2021.
5. Industry Feedback – Americas (U.S.)
a. CDC released new guidance for domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine. Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine, and they don’t need to test negative before or after their travels unless the destination requires it.
b. US passport holders have more international traveloptions now than at any point during the Covid-19 pandemic.
c. Also, all air passengers2 and older must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test that’s no more than three days old to enter the United States.
d. Majority U.S. companies are moving up their return to office date, i.e., instead of September they moved up to April and or moving up to May/June.
e. TripActions is seeing about 10-15% increase in corporate travel booking week-over-week for domestic and inter-country travel but also seeing a positive trends from international travel as well.
f. Booking lead time has now shifted to 7 days from the 1-day window, showing that more and more are planning their travel in advance.
g. Leading industries traveling outside of government and healthcare are construction, manufacturing, consulting and companies with extensive sales teams.
h. Biggest challenge is the constant change in COVID protocols (Stateside and International). Travelers having to keep up with the necessary documents to satisfy travel and entry requirements.
i. Contactless interactions will continue to dominate. Companies will need to keep up with the demand and introduce seamless integrations.
j. Despite the excitement driving the return to normalcy, travel marketers would be wise to factor in the more lasting effects of the pandemic on travelers’ attitudes, and thus consequent behaviors.
k. Many travelers report that the pandemic has changed them, leaving them more budget and safety conscious, and generally more on their guard. Even with the growing selection of cities as trip destinations, travelers report they are more into the outdoors than ever.
l. The demand for leisure travel is back and is expected to last throughout the summer.With many hotels running significantly behind budget, the beginning of March looked bleak. However, that soon changed. According to Azim, who owns hotels across Florida, “In the last four to five weeks, it seems like someone turned the lights on in Orlando. There have been huge pickups in demand.” That trend appears to be continuing as many hotels have surpassed their April forecasts. Similar experiences are seen in the Western region of the U.S., where outdoor destinations have done well throughout the winter and are well-positioned for the summer.
m. While there are signs that group business is returning, the demand is gradual and booking windows are shorter. where group business has been severely affected, there is a struggle to offer competitive group rates while also “having the confidence to raise rates when you’re seeing demand even if the booking window is short because you’re worried that you’re going to lose business.”
n. Staffing is clearly a major challenge for hoteliers; however, they also face challenges around setting guest expectations.After having to lay off a large percentage of their workforce, “Labor is probably the number one challenge. The whole industry is really struggling to get jobs filled.” Alongside limited staff, hoteliers are also met with the challenge of setting visitor expectations both within the hotel and in the destination.
o. In addition to communicating that travel can be done safely, Destination Marketing Organizations can support hotels by celebrating the hospitality industry. DMOs to generate the message that hotels, airlines, attractions and all tourism-related businesses have carefully developed protocols and guidance to keep visitors and staff safe.