All Episodes

Written, produced and hosted by two KL-based travel and media specialists, The South East Asia Travel Show discusses the hottest topics in the world’s most dynamic tourism region. Please check out some of our previous pods!

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15 Apr 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 65: Will Singapore Lead South East Asia's Travel Revival?

From 2010 to 2019, Singapore’s inbound arrivals grew significantly, from 11.6 million to 19.1 million. This expansion was boosted by the opening of two integrated resorts and smart marketing strategies in China and India. Throughout the 2010s, this small city state punched above its weight by thinking ahead and investing big. Singaporeans themselves are inveterate travellers, who are evidently eager to take flight again. This week, Gary and Hannah assess what happens next as Singapore makes various moves to reopen its travel economy - with a particular focus on MICE and business events travel.
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9 Apr 2021 • 48m00s

Ep 64: Phuket & Bali: Will They Both Reopen in July?, with Brett Henry, MG Group

Anticipation is building across South East Asia as Phuket and Bali prepare to greet international travellers in July. This week, Hannah and Gary team up with Brett Henry, President of Jakarta-based MG Group, to debate the vital issues around reopening to vaccinated travellers after more than a year. What are the near-term strategies of both destinations, and how will they ensure the safety of travellers and residents - and what are the perceived risks?
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1 Apr 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 63: The Challenges of Reconnecting the World, with Dirk Singer, SimpliFlying

This week’s episode takes on the complex task of reconnecting global air travel with Dirk Singer, Research Director of SimpliFlying, an aviation marketing and solutions firm founded by Canada-based Singaporean Shashank Nigam. From his London base, Dirk discusses the white-hot aviation, airline, airport, travel and tourism issues that are confounding policymakers in Europe, North, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Will vaccines eliminate the need for quarantines - and, if so, when?
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24 Mar 2021 • 33m00s

Ep 63: Travel Bubbles Are Back! Or Are They?

Exactly 11 months after they first emerged, Travel Bubbles are back in the news. Across South East Asia and throughout Asia Pacific, talking up travel bubbles is in vogue once more after disappearing off radar since the Hong-Kong Singapore bubble burst last November. So what’s different and what’s still the same this time? This week, Gary and Hannah sweep through Asia Pacific to see how vaccines and economic urgency are bringing Travel Bubbles back onto the political agenda.
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18 Mar 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 62: Participative Sports Tourism in Vietnam with David Lloyd

Active travel was expanding fast in South East Asia before the pandemic, and expectations are that it will take off once again post-COVID. Cycling and trail running in spectacular landscapes are likely to lead the pack. This week, Gary and Hannah assess the growth in domestic and international sports tourism with David Lloyd, Director of Sports, Topas Travel, an adventure travel provider, and Co-Founder of Velo Vietnam, a cycling tours specialist.
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17 Mar 2021 • 19m00s

Ep 61: Tourism in Transformation: Tapping Into Post-COVID Consumer Aspirations & Expectations

This week, Gary and Hannah both gave presentations at the 8th ASEAN Tourism Research Association Annual Forum. This is a recording of Gary’s presentation, entitled: Tourism in Transformation: Tapping Into Post-COVID Consumer Aspirations & Expectations. Bringing insights from the past year working with hotel groups, consumer research firms and marketing agencies, Gary analyses how Asian consumers are rethinking the meaning and purpose of travel. He also measures their possible motivations for taking trips when borders reopen.
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16 Mar 2021 • 19m00s

Ep 60: ASEAN Tourism: Where Do We Stand Now, and How Might Countries Reopen?

This week, Gary and Hannah both gave presentations at the 8th ASEAN Tourism Research Association Annual Forum. This is a recording of Hannah’s presentation, entitled: ASEAN Tourism: Where Do We Stand Now, and How Might Countries Reopen? It analyses some of the models for reopening international borders being proposed by certain countries in South East Asia – notably Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Hannah also discusses the various challenges and opportunities that each country faces in revitalising its tourism sector.
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10 Mar 2021 • 34m00s

Ep 59: The Pandemic One Year On: What Have Travel & Tourism Learned?

11 March 2021 marks one year since the WHO declared a pandemic. So, what have we learned in South East Asia, and how can those lessons be best applied? From a current standpoint, two things are clear: 1) international travel and tourism are in a desperate state, and 2) the travel industry hasn’t been able to find the solutions required to escape from the darkness. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss 10 vital learnings from the past year, and how these discoveries can be used to drive a recovery.
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4 Mar 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 58: What's the Future for Tourism Research & Education?

How will tourism research and graduate education adapt and diversify post-COVID? This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the outlook for travel and tourism across South East Asia from an academic perspective with Prof. Joseph Cheer of the Center for Tourism Research at Wakayama University in Japan, and Dr. Mary Mostafanezhad, Associate Professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa. The broad-ranging interview discusses how travel may look in the early recovery phases, the challenges of educating a new generation of tourism professionals in uncertain economic times and whether the travel and hospitality sectors will continue to engage with universities in future.
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24 Feb 2021 • 38m00s

Ep 57: Reopening. Reopening. Reopening.

How will governments use COVID-19 vaccine programmes to revitalise travel and tourism? This week, Gary and Hannah debate the latest tourism reopening proposals in South East Asia and beyond. These include moves to welcome vaccinated travellers in Thailand, Bali’s ‘COVID-free Corridor’, and the likely reboot of the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble. We also discuss a proposed ‘Calibrated’ reopening in India, the ‘Bio Bubble’ tourism initiative in Sri Lanka and ‘Vaccine-to-Go’ travel in Cuba – and their relevance to South East Asian markets.
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17 Feb 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 56: 7 Months Since Reopening in the Maldives, with Ruth Franklin

It’s 7 months since the Maldives reopened for visitors in July 2020. The Indian island archipelago nation is being considered as a successful case study for COVID-era tourism – but how has it adapted to a changed world, and what lessons has it learned? This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Ruth Franklin, Co-founder of Secret Paradise Maldives, which focuses on local island experiences beyond the luxury resorts. In a candid and insightful interview, Ruth discusses the pre-COVID opportunities and the processes and protocols implemented to reopen for inbound travel.
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10 Feb 2021 • 31m00s

Ep 55: Is it Time to Rethink Chinese New Year Tourism Marketing?

Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, Lunisolar New Year, Spring Festival and Tet – this week’s show talks all things travel for the upcoming holiday. In recent years, Chinese New Year brought a welcome surge of inbound visitors from China into ASEAN, and stimulated strong intra-regional and domestic trip volumes. This year, CNY is a purely homegrown travel scenario. In some countries - like Malaysia - inter-state travel is not even permitted, while COVID-19 infection spikes are impacting domestic travel in Thailand, Vietnam and China.
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3 Feb 2021 • 33m00s

Ep 54: The Complexities of Airline & Aviation Regulations in ASEAN & Asia Pacific, with Michelle Dy, AirAsia

The aviation industry continues to face immense challenges caused by the pandemic. This week, Gary and Hannah address the current state of aviation policy and regulation with Michelle Dy, Manager, Global Affairs & Policy at AirAsia. This broad-ranging chat looks at the history of aviation development in globally and in South East Asia and Asia Pacific. A long-standing objective has been to establish an ASEAN Single Aviation Market - so what progress has been made, and what could a Single Aviation Market mean for airlines, airports and consumers?
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27 Jan 2021 • 33m00s

Ep 53: Planning a Tourism Turnaround in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most-visited countries in South East Asia, but its inbound arrivals have been largely stagnant for a decade. Despite recording strong growth from China in the pre-pandemic years, other key markets were slowing. Over the past year, the nation’s robust domestic travel sector has attempted to step up, but stop-start lockdown restrictions have hampered its overall impact. Borders have remained shut since mid-March 2020. Moreover, the three airlines Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo, are confronting financial troubles and the KL-Singapore high-speed railway has been cancelled.
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22 Jan 2021 • 31m00s

Ep 52: Reconnecting the US & Asia Through Travel, with Sandra Thomas-Comenole

This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Denver-based travel marketer, behavioural economist and podcaster Sandra Thomas-Comenole. During a varied career, Sandra has worked with several international travel brands, including InsideJapan Tours, Croatian Tourism and the US National Parks Service. In a fascinating interview, she discusses how behavioural economics can help guide travel marketers through an uncertain 2021, the pitfalls of traveller sentiment surveys and the impending leadership challenges should tourism rebound at a rapid rate.
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15 Jan 2021 • 31m00s

Ep 51: What is ASEAN & Why is it Important for Travel & Tourism?

It’s all about ASEAN! This week, Hannah and Gary take a journey through the history of ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations. Established in 1967, ASEAN brings together the 10 countries of the hugely diverse region of South East Asia. Since founding the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, ASEAN has positioned itself as a “Third Force” in Asia Pacific, after China & India. Will it expand further (Timor Leste, Australia?
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13 Jan 2021 • 64m00s

Ep 50: What is the Realistic Outlook for Travel in South East Asia in 2021?

What are the realistic expectations for travel and tourism in 2021 in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines & Vietnam? Which will be the primary ‘comeback markets’, and what will be the influence of mega markets like China, India and the Middle East? Plus, will vaccine rollouts prove to be a magic bullet or a harbinger of false hopes? Are Travel Bubbles dead? And when should travel players start to diversify from their domestic-only strategies and prepare for the return of international travel?
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9 Jan 2021 • 28m00s

Ep 49: 21 for 2021: A Travel Industry Wish List For The New Year - Part II

In the second of a two-part appraisal of travel and tourism in South East Asia in 2021, Gary and Hannah run through numbers #12 to #21 on their 21-point wish list. “Cautious Optimism” is a widely used phrase, but tightened restrictions in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong and, most likely in Malaysia, suggest 2021 is going to be another challenging year. Topics discussed include creating long-term strategies for domestic travel, more imaginative approaches to marketing self-drive and culinary tourism, and increased attention on climate change and earth-friendliness in travel.
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8 Jan 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 48: 21 for 2021: A Travel Industry Wish List For The New Year - Part I

2020 was an awful year, but do we just write it off and discard it, or should we dig deeper to understand how travel and travel consumers have changed? What are the meaningful lessons to learn and apply? Gary and Hannah kick off 2021 by running through a 21-point wish list to revitalise travel and tourism in South East Asia. Topics discussed in Part 1 include adapting the learnings from domestic travel, a broader remit for tourism industry stimulus packages and competing on destination differentiation rather than price slashing.
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17 Dec 2020 • 32m00s

Ep 47: 2020: Looking Back On The Year That Changed Travel Forever

To round-out 12 months that no-one will ever forget, Hannah and Gary quiz each other about the travel and tourism issues that dominated 2020. Among the topics discussed are domestic tourism, travel bubbles, the absence of Chinese travellers, Zoominars, slimmed-down airlines, the future of visas, self-drive travel, political travel propaganda, the future of cruising, PCR and antigen tests, quarantines and vaccine passports. We also select our favourite podcast moments of 2020, and the questions we were both asked most frequently on webinars and interviews.
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9 Dec 2020 • 36m00s

Ep 46: “It Will Take Upwards of 5 Years to Recover,” with Simon Westaway, Australian Tourism Industry Council

It’s been a torrid year for travel and tourism in Australia. This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Simon Westaway, Executive Director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council. In a candid and insightful interview, Simon discusses a broad sweep of inbound, outbound and domestic travel issues. From the ‘Black Summer’ bushfire season, Australia quickly encountered COVID-19 with the first infection in late January. The show addresses Australia’s key 2020 developments, including the Ruby Princess, border bans, hotel quarantine outbreaks, state border politics and domestic travel in the summer season.
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3 Dec 2020 • 31m00s

Ep 45: Welcome to the Age of Vaccine Travelnomics

With over 200 COVID-19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials or early-stage development, and the first vaccines now approved in the UK and Russia, the era of Vaccine Travel is about to unfold. It will bring a tangle of economic, political and social complications. Amid this nascent landscape, the travel industry is trying to forge a way ahead. Already Qantas has said it will require passengers to be vaccinated, while Singapore Airlines and Garuda will be involved in vaccine logistics in South East Asia.
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26 Nov 2020 • 29m00s

Ep 44: In Conversation: "No-one's Wearing Masks Any More in Laos," with Jason Rolan, RDK Group

Before the pandemic, Laos was starting to expand its nascent tourism industry with a surge in arrivals from China and strong visitation from Thailand and Vietnam. Outbound tourism was also booming, but while the pandemic halted those upward curves, Laos has only recorded a total of 39 (yes, thirty-nine!) cases of COVID-19. So what’s it been like to live and work in the tourism sector in a genuinely COVID-safe country?
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19 Nov 2020 • 34m00s

Ep 43: What Next After The Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble?

The Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble kicks off on Sunday 22 November, but concerns are resurfacing across Asia about volatile new COVID-19 waves. Soon after the ATB was launched, Asia’s media was rife with speculation about which other countries might launch travel bubbles - either with or without Singapore and Hong Kong. But they seem no nearer to fruition. This week, Gary and Hannah scan the region for signs of travel bubble activity, and report the latest from Australia and New Zealand where hopes for a two-way bubble in 2021 are starting to recede.
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12 Nov 2020 • 34m00s

Ep 42: Singapore & Hong Kong Embark on an Uncharted Era of Travel

Singapore and Hong Kong are both important Asian aviation hubs, commercial centres and travel destinations. But they aren’t - or weren’t - key source markets for each other in terms of travel and tourism. So, will the Air Travel Bubble create new patterns of travel demand, or is it simply a small stepping stone towards an uncharted era? This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the (pre-COVID-19) travel landscapes of both cities and the vital roles that aviation, airports and airlines contribute to their economies.
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6 Nov 2020 • 18m00s

The Friday Rewind 8: Indonesian Flights Boost, Seoul Tourism Showcase & Tuk-Tuk DJs

In episode 8 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah zip through this week’s 5 top talking points in South East Asian travel and tourism - in less than 20 minutes. This week’s hot topics include: Hungarian Foreign Minister Tests Positive in South East Asia Philippines Sets a Ceiling Price for COVID-19 Tests Indonesian Flights Take Off in October ASEAN-Korea Tourism Pavilion Opens in Seoul Tuk-Tuk DJs Tour Phnom Penh in Style Show notes Watch the Tuk tuk DJs: https://youtu.
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30 Oct 2020 • 20m00s

The Friday Rewind 7: High-Speed Trains, More Bubbles & 'Jurassic Park' Dragons

In episode 7 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah zip through this week’s 5 top talking points in South East Asian travel and tourism - in less than 20 minutes. China features prominently this week, with the topics under discussion being: Thailand Teams With China for a High-Speed Rail Take Off Cambodia Wants a China Travel Bubble, or Does It? Laos Plans Fast Track Travel for China & Vietnam ‘Jurassic Park’ Dragons Are Endangered in Indonesia Malaysia’s Tourism Challenges Keep Multiplying
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21 Oct 2020 • 33m00s

Ep 41: The Troubles With Travel Bubbles

It’s 6 months since Australia and New Zealand first floated the concept of Travel Bubbles. Ever since, it has dominated travel talk as a potential way to safely reopen borders between two countries without requiring a quarantine. But the 2020 travel realities (and the coronavirus itself) have made bilateral bubbles extremely difficult to negotiate, agree and implement. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the different definitions of air travel bubbles, corridors, fast tracks and green lanes.
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16 Oct 2020 • 31m00s

Ep 40: Airlines & Airports Fight to Survive Across South East Asia

Well, things certainly seem to be moving, with plenty of travel announcements, gossip and rumours. But the region’s aviation industry is still struggling after several months in international inactivity. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss two pieces of positive news, the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble and the Philippines enabling its citizens to travel outbound. But airlines in Malaysia and Indonesia are desperately trying to restructure their mounting losses and debts.
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7 Oct 2020 • 32m00s

Ep 39: Singapore Takes The Travel Lead in a 3-Speed South East Asia

Having brought COVID-19 under control, Singapore has provided a clear outline of its Travel Bubble intentions for the coming months. Now in discussions with Hong Kong, Asia’s other global aviation hub, Singapore wants to open up more business travel Green Lanes. This week, Gary and Hannah analyse the latest developments in Singapore, discuss green shoots of hope for domestic travel in the Philippines, and the prospects for charter traffic in Lao.
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2 Oct 2020 • 34m00s

Ep 38: In Conversation: "COVID-19's Been Devastating for Bali," with Stuart McDonald, Travelfish

It’s six months since Bali-based Stuart McDonald last joined us on the podcast, which seems like a distant era. This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Stuart about the outcome of Bali’s reopening to domestic tourists, and its failed attempt to reboot inbound travel. Stuart provides some poignant and revealing insights about how the island is coping without mass tourism. We also discuss Thailand’s special tours visa, Singapore’s decision to allow Australian and Vietnamese air passengers to return, and we look at what happens next for countries in ASEAN that are stubbornly refusing to open their borders.
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25 Sep 2020 • 16m00s

The Friday Rewind 6: KLIA Transit Troubles, Positive Vibes in Vietnam & Tourist Trash Returns to Sender

In episode 6 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah zip through this week’s top talking points in South East Asian travel - in just 15 minutes. Today’s topics are: HKIA Bans KLIA Flights After Transit Passengers Test Positive Yogyakarta Please for Tourists Not Financial Aid International Flight Finally Departs Vietnam… With More to Come In & Out? Regional ‘Travel Bubbles’ in The Philippines Tour Agency Sparks Online Fury by Mis-locating Angkor Wat and Khao Yai National Park Mails Back Tourist Trash
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22 Sep 2020 • 29m00s

Ep 37: Olympics 2021, Space Tourism & Harry Potter: What's The Future of Travel in Japan?

This week, Gary and Hannah take a virtual trip to Japan - Land of the Rising Sun and, pre-pandemic, an increasingly popular destination for travellers from across South East Asia. Having started the year expecting the biggest ever Sakura festival in history followed by the Tokyo Olympics, 2020 has been particularly unkind to Japan. A so-called “Plague Ship” in Yokohama harbour catalysed a year of uncertainty that saw the Olympics shelved for 12 months, and hopes dashed of welcoming 10 million Chinese arrivals and 40 million visitors overall.
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17 Sep 2020 • 36m00s

Ep 36: Q4 2020: What's the Best South East Asia Travel Can Hope For?

Three-quarters of 2020 have almost disappeared, but international travel activity remains locked down in South East Asia. We should be gearing up for an October Chinese National Holiday burst then a final quarter tourism surge, but this year we are clutching at straws. This week, Gary and Hannah assess what’s the best, realistically, South East Asia can achieve in the final 3 months of 2020. Are countries looking to salvage the tourism year, or are most planning for the distribution of a vaccine in 2021 (or perhaps late 2020?
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11 Sep 2020 • 15m00s

The Friday Rewind 5: Thai Domestic Travel Delivers Big, MICE Makes Waves in Singapore & Roll on Cambodia 2023...

In episode 5 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah zip through 5 red-hot talking points in South East Asian travel from the past 7 days - in just 15 minutes. Today’s topics are: Thailand’s Songkran Replacement Holiday Rakes in B8.8bn Vietnam Restores Domestic Flights to Danang Singapore Requests Tenders for New Business Events Philippine Airlines & Singapore Airlines to Retrench Staff Cambodia Prepares for its First Ever Major Sporting Event
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10 Sep 2020 • 36m00s

Ep 35: Is it Vaccine or Bust for Tourism Reopening in South East Asia?

“This virus is just beating us all, isn’t it?” Gary and Hannah fend off feelings of despair on this week’s pod, and tackle different approaches for rebooting travel. From Iceland to Bali, Phuket to Maldives, China to New Zealand, we assess what measures have been tried, which are being ruled out, and those that still hold out faint hopes for the near future. En route, we seek to trademark the phrase “Vaccine Bubble,” and canvas ideas from travel industry figures in Asia and worldwide on taking those all-important next steps to revive tourism.
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4 Sep 2020 • 34m27s

Ep 34: 12 Months of Travel Trauma in Australia & No End in Sight

It’s been a traumatic year for travel Down Under. The 2019/20 summer season brought devastating bush fires nationwide, with COVID-19 following immediately after. With borders closed for most of 2020, inter-state politics and disagreements are now preventing a domestic travel rebound as summer approaches. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the combination of factors suffocating inbound, outbound and domestic tourism, and the prospects for an Asian-led recovery in future. We also hear from three experts in business travel, hospitality and inbound operations who provide revealing insights about the broad-ranging reforms needed to breathe new life into Australia’s ailing tourism industry.
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28 Aug 2020 • 15m56s

The Friday Rewind 4: From Bio Bubbles in Phuket to Flight Refund Woes in Philippines and Opening...

In episode 4 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah take a 15-minute zoom through 5 major talking points in South East Asian travel from the past 7 days. Today’s topics are: Japan Takes a Travel Restrictions Mini Tour - The Japanese foreign minister concludes limited border movement deals with 5 countries in South East Asia Long-Stay Tourism is Safe & Sealed in Thailand - Phuket is selected as a pilot Bio Bubble destination for charter flight tourists from 4 countries in Asia and 3 from Europe Will Malaysian Borders Stay Shut Until 2021?
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26 Aug 2020 • 31m10s

Ep 33: Bali's Reopening Postponed: What Next for Tourism in Indonesia & South East Asia?

After 2 months of high anticipation, Bali has confirmed it will not reopen to international visitors on 11 September. Instead, the Island of the Gods will likely rely on domestic travel only until the end of the year. This is a huge financial and psychological blow for Indonesia’s travel economy - but perhaps not a great surprise. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the national, regional and global factors that conspired against Bali’s inbound tourism reboot.
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19 Aug 2020 • 28m24s

Ep 32: Can Domestic Travellers Rescue South East Asia's Embattled Tourism Sector?

With flight capacity in South East Asia operating at -65% compared to pre-pandemic levels, the region’s tourism sector is fighting for its survival. Borders remain slammed shut and airline fleets are largely redundant. The pressure is mounting on domestic tourists to keep the industry afloat. But despite positive stories in the national media, huge challenges exist. Consumers remain wary of taking flights even on short routes, hotels are surviving on weekend bookings, inter-state restrictions apply in some countries, and although large discounts are being offered, domestic travellers are spending cautiously.
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14 Aug 2020 • 15m28s

The Friday Rewind 3: COVID-19 Causes ASEAN Spats, While Malaysia & Myanmar Seek Travel Cut-Through

In episode 3 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah take a 15-minute zoom through 5 major talking points in South East Asian travel from the past 7 days. Today’s discussion points are: ‘The Land of COVID’ - Media, ministers and government spokespeople are lashing out at each other in South East Asia Zero Tourism Until 2021 in Thailand - Webinar comments by the Deputy Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand go viral around the world Green Zones to Nowhere for Malaysia - Tourism Minister says that travel bubbles are impossible to negotiate if countries refuse to open their borders Myanmar & Sri Lanka Prepare for Take Off - Discussions are underway to launch direct flights between Colombo and Yangon, that could also extend to India and Nepal Eco-Tourism Inspiration in Laos - Conservation efforts in the nation’s largest protected park offer new hope for sustainability in tourism Resources https://www.
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5 Aug 2020 • 29m32s

Ep 31: Can SEA Islands Provide a Blueprint for the Future of Tourism?

South East Asia is blessed with a spectacular array of island destinations, including the world’s largest archipelago and the planet’s 2nd, 3rd and 6th-largest islands. With such a diversity of offshore travel options, will more governments promote their islands as test cases to reopen domestic, and perhaps international, tourism? All eyes are currently looking towards Bali and Indonesia, but Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar are among the countries that may promote island tourism above all else.
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31 Jul 2020 • 15m11s

The Friday Rewind 2: Summer Turns Sour in Vietnam, While Thai Tourism Plays in the Premier League

In episode 2 of The Friday Rewind, Gary and Hannah deliver an express, 15-minute recap of 5 red-hot talking points in South East Asian travel from the past 7 days. Today’s discussion points are: 1) Lockdown Meltdown in Vietnam Fears grow nationwide after domestic tourists test positive in Danang, and then head home. 2) Malaysia Airlines gets USD300 million… Then Doesn’t! Airline CEO forcefully denies a reported new government bailout for the troubled flag carrier.
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28 Jul 2020 • 33m10s

Ep 30: 7 Months in a COVID Travel Bubble

With few signs of movement on border re-openings in South East Asia, Gary and Hannah reflect on 7 lost months in travel and tourism. As August looms into view, several big questions remain unanswered. So, what have been the landmark events and milestones of 2020 so far? What outcomes have surprised, challenged and discouraged the travel industry the most? Is survival now the overarching goal for the rest of 2020? Can South East Asia reclaim its status as the world’s most dynamic travel region?
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22 Jul 2020 • 37m13s

Ep 29: Travel Anxiety & the Enduring COVID Fear Factor

This week, Gary and Hannah zone-in on a persistent COVID-19 pressure point: consumer sentiment and the travel fear factor. How are fear and anxiety impacting domestic tourism, and shaping attitudes towards border re-openings and the prospects for inbound and outbound travel? Featuring examples from Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, plus China, Japan and India, the discussion dives deep into the fearful factors discouraging travel bookings. Against this gloomy backdrop, will the Oxford and Chinese vaccine trials prove an inflection point that reveals fragments of light after 7 dark, unforgiving months for travel and tourism?
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17 Jul 2020 • 16m05s

The Friday Rewind: A Bad Week For Thailand, But AirAsia Gets Bullish

This is the debut edition of The Friday Rewind! Gary and Hannah deliver an express, 15-minute recap of 5 key talking points in South East Asian travel and tourism from the past 7 days. Today’s topics under discussion are: It’s not been a great week for Thailand Not a good week either for Vietnam Airlines AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes comes out fighting; Job losses at 2 big travel brands - Skyscanner and Resorts World Sentosa
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14 Jul 2020 • 31m48s

Ep 28: 20 SEA Travel Outcomes That No-one Predicted in 2020

2020 is proving to be a year that no-one in the travel industry or travellers themselves will forget. At times, it has seemed surreal and absurd, as well as scary and uncertain. So this week, Gary and Hannah discuss 20 travel outcomes that could not have been foreseen at the end of 2019. From Singapore Changi Airport closing 2 of its 4 terminals to a stranded Estonian tourist living in Manila Airport for 110 days, and from Chinese travellers being shut out of all SEA markets to Cambodia listing ‘Cremation Costs’ in its visitor arrival terms and conditions - the list is both thought-provoking and heart-breaking.
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12 Jul 2020 • 33m29s

Ep 27: In Conversation: Cristy Elmendorp, Soma Journeys

South East Asia and Europe provide a connective thread in the life of Cristy Elmendorp. Born in Jakarta to Dutch-Indonesian parents, she studied in Amsterdam and London, and spent 15 years living and working in Bangkok. Spells as a TV show host, resort photographer and hospitality marketer were followed by founding her own bespoke luxury travel company, Soma Journeys. Cristy’s client trips took her across Tibet, Mongolia, Java and Iceland.
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8 Jul 2020 • 35m29s

Ep 26: The 6 Key Factors Inhibiting a Travel Recovery

So, here we are in the 2nd week of July, and it is becoming increasingly evident that the route towards a travel recovery is lined with gigantic barriers. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss 6 critical factors hindering a tourism rebound in South East Asia, Asia Pacific and worldwide: The coronavirus Border closures and travel bans Rising economic uncertainty Consumer sentiment and the travel fear factor Reduced travel industry operational capacity The emerging marketing challenge Is there a take-off path to brighter skies up ahead?
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2 Jul 2020 • 35m00s

Ep 25: It's Been A Terrible Year for Travel Predictions

Well, we reach two milestones this week. We are halfway through 2020 – and what a year it’s been so far!! – and this is also our 25th podcast, so Happy Anniversary to us. To celebrate, Gary and Hannah revisit their 20 for the 2020s Travel Wishlist – which featured in the first podcast of the year back in January. Since then, of course, travel and tourism in South East Asia – and worldwide – has endured the most difficult 6 months in modern history.
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26 Jun 2020 • 41m04s

Ep 24: Is it Time for a Tourism Rethink in Malaysia?

Malaysia Truly Asia remains one of South East Asia’s most enduring tourism campaigns, but Malaysia emerges from successfully suppressing COVID-19 with several questions marks over its travel sector. Uncertainty exists for its flag carrier Malaysia Airlines and the region’s largest LCC AirAsia, annual arrivals haven’t shown significant growth for a decade and both inbound and outbound players await news on border reopening. For now, domestic travel offers a chance for tourism businesses to rebuild confidence among Malaysian travellers, and earn much-needed revenue - but demand currently appears low.
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18 Jun 2020 • 39m34s

Ep 23: Bubbles, Bailouts & Bloated Fares: SEA Airlines Are in a Mess

Airlines, aviation, and by extension, airports… What a mess! This week, Gary and Hannah attempt to unpick the complex interplay of airlines, governments and travel bans that is confusing travellers across South East Asia. The early post-COVID recovery is plagued by bailouts, air bubbles that haven’t come to fruition, governments announcing and delaying the lifting of travel bans and different states within countries being treated or responding differently. We’ve got quarantines, high fares, flight cancellations… and very little guidance from ASEAN.
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10 Jun 2020 • 33m52s

Ep 22: Can Cambodia Entice More Visitors From China & South East Asia?

Cambodia counts the second-lowest total of COVID-19 cases in South East Asia. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss whether this rising tourism star can leverage its COVID-safe status once it fully reopens. In 2019, China was its largest inbound market, followed by Vietnam. Three other South East Asian countries ranked in the Top 10. The show discusses key factors that will influence future travel to Cambodia from China and South East Asian markets, suggests creative sales & marketing tactics for travel companies and tour operators, and analyses consumer sentiment and booking trends in the region.
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29 May 2020 • 31m03s

Ep 21: It's All About Vietnam: Asia's Hottest Post-COVID Destination

This week, Gary and Hannah discuss all things Vietnam. The country’s success in containing the coronavirus has made it the most talked about destination in Asia. But Vietnam also counts thriving domestic and outbound travel sectors, and its airlines are expanding aggressively. Sustained GDP growth, a young population and expanding middle class make Vietnam a South East Asian all-star economy. Tourism benefited from this surging economic momentum, but what are the opportunities and challenges in a post-COVID world?
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21 May 2020 • 35m13s

Ep 20: Travel Recovery & The Role of the Media

This week, Gary and Hannah take on one of the most polarising topics in travel: the role of the media. The 24/7 online and TV coverage of COVID-19 has resulted in accusations of media sensationalism, and featured a heavy concentration of statistics and information from government sources. As the travel sector looks to a brighter second half of the year, what role with the media play in the next phase of the recovery?
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13 May 2020 • 41m12s

Ep 19: What is the Future for Chinese Tourism in South East Asia?

The return of Chinese travellers is global travel’s hottest topic. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss whether South East Asia might serve as a benchmark for the recovery. All destinations are desperate for the return of Chinese spending power, but several overlapping factors need addressing before China opens its airspace for outbound flights. So, we break the subject down into 5 key areas: Developments in Chinese Domestic Travel; China’s Government; Airlines; Chinese Consumers and South East Asian NTOs.
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8 May 2020 • 27m36s

Ep 18: Not Everything in Travel Relates to COVID-19!

This week, Gary and Hannah discuss 8 travel and tourism developments in 2020 that flew under the COVID-19 radar. South East Asia entered the pandemic as the world’s most dynamic tourism region. Although the entire infrastructure of travel has been shutdown by the pandemic, many intriguing developments still occurred. Topics discussed range from proposed high-speed rail networks to UNESCO World Heritage applications, and unearthed ancient treasures to new airports and, perhaps an 11th member of ASEAN.
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4 May 2020 • 33m06s

Ep 17: In Conversation: The Current State of Aviation in Asia-Pacific with Mac Patel, OAG

In this episode, Gary interviews Mac Patel, JAPAC Regional Sales Director for OAG, a global leader in flight information and intelligence. The broad-ranging discussion covers the impact of COVID-19 on airlines and airports, and the “strategic decision-making” needed across the travel sector in Asia Pacific. We address several key issues, including LCCs, Long-Haul, Airline Restructuring, Hub Airports, Major Air Markets, Travel Bubbles, Intra-Asia Travel, Health Screening and the infamous “Middle Seat”.
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29 Apr 2020 • 36m18s

Ep 16: After 4 Months of COVID-19, Where Does Travel Go From Here?

This week, Gary and Hannah look back on the 4 months that savaged the entire travel chain. With some countries starting to phase out lockdown restrictions, attention is turning to where tourism goes next. Domestic travel and regional pacts will be the first steps, but mighty challenges exist for international travel. We assess the critical issues ahead for travel brands and travellers themselves, and discuss the devastating impact on small communities in South East Asia that rely upon the tourism economy.
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22 Apr 2020 • 33m25s

Ep 15: The Future of Cruise Travel in Asia Pacific

COVID-19 has raised crucial questions about the future of cruising worldwide. In this week’s pod, Gary and Hannah discuss the challenges ahead for cruise lines, port operators and passengers in South East Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Cruise travel in Asia Pacific has expanded rapidly in recent years, but with widespread lockdowns, travel bans and fears about onboard health and safety, can cruising redefine itself for the post-pandemic tourism landscape?
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14 Apr 2020 • 26m03s

Ep 14: Which Destinations Will Recover Earliest?

Seeking to escape the travel gloom, Gary and Hannah search for signs of hope. This week, they assess destinations that could lead a recovery in domestic and inbound travel. While varied challenges abound, they sift through the results of their online survey from last week. Destinations discussed in this episode include Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Listeners can also sign up for the free Mini Briefing weekly email here.
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9 Apr 2020 • 29m43s

Ep 13: In Conversation: Leisure Travel May Take 2 Years to Recover with Stuart McDonald, Travelfish

If you listen to one travel podcast this week, this is it. Gary interviews revered Bali-based publisher and inveterate traveller Stuart McDonald, co-founder of Travelfish, who is on electrifying form. The diverse discussion veers from COVID-19 and health tracking for air passengers to over-development in SEA and a vicarious daily service for couch travellers. We also touch on small communities in South East Asia being hit by travel lockdowns, and indelible memories of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka.
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8 Apr 2020 • 24m31s

Ep 12: In Conversation: Backpacking & Business in SEA with Nikki Scott, South East Asia Backpacker

This week, Gary interviews Nikki Scott – a backpacker, business owner and publisher of the South East Asia Backpacker magazine and online portal. An experienced traveller, Nikki founded the magazine in 2008 from her base in Bangkok before taking the business online. In this week’s pod, she discusses her travel inspirations, favourite destinations and provides fascinating insights into how backpacking is evolving as technology and places change, and more Asian backpackers seek new adventures.
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1 Apr 2020 • 34m00s

Ep 11: Selfie Travel Culture in SEA

Posting on Instagram and WeChat has transformed travel in South East Asia. In this edition, Gary and Hannah analyse the origins of ‘selfie tourism’, and how travel brands are using it to their advantage. En route, they namecheck several photogenic locations, from rooftop Bangkok bars, overnight trains in Myanmar and side alleys in Penang to the temples of Angkor Wat, mirrored backdrops in Bali and romantic shots at Marina Bay.
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20 Mar 2020 • 19m00s

Ep 10: Locked Down in Malaysia

This week, Gary and Hannah are in different locations in the Malaysian capital as the Movement Control Order locks down daily life. Our 10th podcast discusses how the lockdown came about, and the impact so far on travel and tourism as well as ordinary living. With Malaysia having the fifth-highest COVID-19 infection rate in Asia, concerns abound that the two-week lockdown will be extended - and made stricter. How much more havoc will the coronavirus wreak throughout South East Asia?
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11 Mar 2020 • 30m18s

Ep 9: Dreaming of a Travel & Tourism Recovery

With confirmed Coronavirus cases in more than 100 countries, Gary and Hannah ask “When can a tourism recovery realistically begin?” Encouraging consumers to start travelling again is a monumental task, but does the current stasis offer a chance to pause and rethink the entire travel sector? In this episode, we discuss a wish list of 8 issues that the travel and tourism industry could iron out before the coronavirus is (eventually) contained.
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25 Feb 2020 • 26m43s

Ep 8: Another Torrid Week For Travel in Asia

With the coronavirus inflicting more damage on tourism across Asia, Gary and Hannah sift through the latest effects. They assess the damage to inbound, outbound and domestic travel in South East Asia, report on government stimulus measures to support tourism businesses, and look ahead at how the industry may manage the hoped-for travel rebound. A few thoughts are also spared for the team managing this year’s Toughest Job in Tourism Marketing: promoting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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12 Feb 2020 • 26m32s

Ep 7: COVID-19 Wreaks Travel Havoc Across Asia

Renamed COVID-19, the coronavirus continues to slam tourism economies across Asia. In this episode, Gary and Hannah sift through the damage for countries in South East Asia, and assess the latest statistics and postponements of travel trade shows. The gloom continues with the latest on AirAsia’s Airbus troubles, but a glimmer of light is offered by the 2nd Asia Destination Film Awards - which showcase the visual creativity of tourism marketers and travellers across the region.
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7 Feb 2020 • 27m05s

Ep 6: Travel Buzzword Bingo

Mark your bingo card as Gary and Hannah call out the phrases beloved by the travel industry. They assess the jargo that is hot and emerging – and the tired clichés that have outstayed their welcome. From the Klook generation, Ultra-long-haul and Bleisure to Super-host, In-destination booking and Panicdemic, this episode gets vocal about the language of tourism.
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31 Jan 2020 • 27m40s

Ep 5: Novel Coronavirus Global Emergency: Asia's Travel Fear Factor Returns

This special update assesses the impact of the Novel Coronavirus on travel and tourism during Chinese New Year, and looks ahead to the potential impact for Asia’s tourism economy in Q1. We’ve identified 5 key vulnerabilities across Greater China, North and South East Asia and worldwide. We also discuss the potency of the Fear Factor for business and conference travel, leisure trips and upcoming travel periods, such as Sakura season in Japan and, looking ahead, the Tokyo Olympics.
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22 Jan 2020 • 29m26s

Ep 4: 20 for the 2020s: An SEA Travel Wishlist - Part 2

Gary and Hannah debate items 11-20 on their ‘20 for the 2020s’ travel wish list. Hot topics include the future of travel agents in South East Asia, managing the challenges of more intra-ASEAN travel, and the potential impact of superbugs on tourism in Asia and worldwide. The pod also questions the ubiquity of ‘personalised’ travel and asks if this will be the decade when ‘unthinking’ tourism is curtailed. And could restaurants open up their own airlines in future?
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19 Jan 2020 • 29m02s

Ep 3: 20 for the 2020s: An SEA Travel Wishlist - Part 1

Gary and Hannah discuss the first 10 items on their ‘20 for the 2020s’ travel wish list. This decade’s hot topics range from more airports following Changi’s lead and better rail connectivity in South East Asia to less ‘greenwashing’ by brands and greater global awareness of the aspirations of Muslim tourists. The pod also touches on vegan travel and the power of Instagram, and asks “Why is hotel coffee so bad?
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9 Jan 2020 • 26m54s

Ep 2: The South East Asia Travel Show - The Pilot Edition

Gary and Hannah interview each other to tease out their personal travel histories and careers in Asian tourism. From varied routes via Oxford, London, France, the US, El Salvador, Russia and China, both spent most of the 2010s living, working and travelling from bases in Kuala Lumpur. In this pilot episode, they explain the inspirations behind The South East Asia Travel Show, and the podcast’s plans for 2020.
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14 Dec 2019 • 45m38s

Ep 1: The 2019 South East Asia Travel Year in Review

Gary and Hannah take a look back over the last 12 months to discuss the 5 Biggest Issues in South East Asian Travel & Tourism in 2019. Topics include the SuperApp battle between Grab and Gojek, the surging momentum of the Chinese, Indian and Muslim travel markets, and the ongoing growth of short-stay intra-ASEAN tourism.