As South East Asia approaches two years since the Great Pandemic Travel Shutdown began, signs of a gradual revival are emerging across the region. But the impacts on the travel and tourism industries are severe.
Over the next 8 weeks, Gary Bowerman and Hannah Pearson will produce a series of shows with the help of regional experts. Together, we will assess the changes delivered by the pandemic, expected changes up ahead – and changes that should, but probably won’t, happen at all.
To kick things off, Gary and Hannah created a 15-point list of evident shifts across travel and tourism since March 2020. These range from huge job losses, business closures and lasting damage to travel infrastructure to the rise of the SuperApps - and from shifts in the ‘quality’ vs ‘mass’ tourism debate to uncertainties around the return of business travel.
Plus, what’s the future for travel insurance, and have we see the back of over-tourism?
The prolonged closure of Bali has been a global media case study for the two-year decline of travel in South East Asia. As it slowly reopens, Gary chatted to Bali-based Stuart McDonald, Founder of independent travel information company Travelfish.
Stuart describes what has (and hasn’t) changed across Bali, including popular destinations like Canggu, Ubud, Kuta and Candi Dasa. Having taken a recent trip to Flores, Stuart also discusses ongoing development in Labuan Bajo - one of Indonesia’s Super Priority tourism investment destinations - and changes under way at the Komodo National Park.
On 17 February, the day after Singapore announced a promising acceleration of its Vaccinated Travel Lane programme, we were joined by Singapore-based Karen Yue, Group Editor of TTG Asia. In a broad-ranging chat we discussed the impacts of the past two years, Singapore’s transition towards a complete border reopening, and how different travel and tourism segments are preparing for the return of ‘normalised’ travel.
Governments and tourism boards have unveiled various initiatives to try and revive travel since borders closed in March 2020. Gary and Hannah wind back across the past two years to assess the experiments that failed to get off the ground - or faded from view - during the pandemic. These range from Thailand’s Special Tourist Visa to a spurned Sandbox in Cambodia and Indonesia’s backtrack on banning backpackers to Bali… plus much more.
Click to listen to Ep 123: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 4 - Pandemic Travel Experiments That Failed