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!

Or listen to us on: Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocketcastsGoogle Podcasts

Play
25 Nov 2022 • 32m10s

Ep 156: This Week’s 8 Top Travel Talking Points in South East Asia

The G20 Summit. A proposed aerotropolis. Resolution of a long-running passport saga. A new direct flight service with Canada. It’s been another busy period for travel news as the region’s recovery gains traction. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the top 8 travel and tourism developments from across South East Asia. The journey takes us to 8 of the 10 countries of ASEAN, plus Japan, China, India and Taiwan. So, which country expects 60 million domestic travellers over Christmas and New Year?
Play
5 Nov 2022 • 31m53s

Ep 155: South East Asia Starts to Reopen for Travel - One Year On!

Test & Go. Vaccinated Travel Lanes. ‘The Most Open Country in South East Asia.’ One year ago, on 1 November 2021, Thailand introduced the Test & Go tourism entry policy. In the same month, Singapore accelerated its Vaccinated Travel Lanes and Cambodia made travel easier for visitors than anywhere else. This week, Gary and Hannah rewind to November 2021 – the month that reignited travel in South East Asia after 20 months of lockdowns and labyrinthine travel restrictions.
Play
28 Oct 2022 • 30m34s

Ep 154: South East Asia Prepares for an Uplifting Holiday Season

South East Asia is eagerly anticipating a strong end-of-year holiday season, which is nearing fast. We’ve already completed 10 months of 2022 – and October was another busy period for new travel policies, announcements and developments. This week, Gary and Hannah round up the latest travel travel and tourism talking points across the region. En route, we discuss a new Hotel Industry Transformation Roadmap in Singapore, a debut South Asian flight route in Vietnam, and media controversy around flight prices during Malaysia’s upcoming general election.
Play
14 Oct 2022 • 27m53s

Ep 153: South East Asia’s Top 8 Travel & Tourism Talking Points Ahead of ITB Asia

“Travel news stories should get more interesting now there’s two-way travel again between South East Asia and North East Asia.” With Japan and Taiwan now open for travel, the competitive landscape in Asia Pacific has just become very competitive. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the Top 8 travel talking points across South East Asia. En route, we check out Singapore Changi as it resumes operations at all four terminals, discuss the visitor arrivals target progress in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, and Indonesia’s eye-watering projection for domestic trips in 2022.
Play
7 Oct 2022 • 35m50ss

Ep 152: ASEAN's New Era of Travel Infrastructure, with James Clark, Future South East Asia

What’s it like to ride the China-Laos train? Will Vietnam’s North-South Railway get built? When will the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line open? And is a pan-ASEAN rail network a realistic possibility? This week, Gary assesses the outlook for rail infrastructure development across the region with James Clark, Editor-in-Chief at Future South East Asia and author of the Nomadic Notes newsletter. We look at some of the big railway projects being planned, compare the rail network models in China and South East Asia and ponder what could be the impacts for domestic aviation.
Play
29 Sep 2022 • 31m02s

Ep 151: Good News for South East Asia as Japan, Taiwan & Hong Kong Reboot Travel

A big buzz in South East Asia as Japan prepares to reopen, and Hong Kong and Taiwan ease entry restrictions. Hannah is back from Japan, where she observed the response to its decision to unlock the airport gates from 11 October while attending Tourism Expo Japan in Tokyo. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the potential inbound and outbound boost for South East Asia as North East Asia gradually returns to the travel fold.
Play
16 Sep 2022 • 36m02s

Ep 150: Japan Reopens for Tourism, with Kyoji Kuramochi, JNTO

“From 6.2 million visitors in 2011, Japan welcomed 32 million arrivals in 2019.” The reopening of Japan has been eagerly anticipated across Asia Pacific. Japan is both a highly desirable “four seasons” destination and a vital market for travel and tourism region-wide. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the outlook as Japan accelerates its reopening with Kyoji Kuramochi, Executive Director, Global Strategy Headquarters of the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO).
Play
8 Sep 2022 • 34m40s

Ep 149: When Will Chinese Travellers Return - And What’s Changed?

When will Chinese travellers return to Asia Pacific - and what has changed in China in the interim? These are questions that all tourism operators are asking themselves. On this week’s show, we fill in some of the gaps. Gary recently produced the China Travel Market Report 2021-2025 for Phocuswright, and is working on a couple of other China travel economy projects. So, Hannah grills him on the impact of the pandemic across the Chinese travel industry - and what happens next as the world awaits the return of Chinese tourists.
Play
1 Sep 2022 • 32m42s

Ep 148: 10 Reasons August Was an Eventful Month for Travel & Tourism in Asia Pacific

Two-thirds of the way through 2022, travel and tourism in South East Asia are gaining momentum. Visitor arrivals increased across the region in August, while stirrings of travel activity in China and Japan are sparking optimism. This week, Gary and Hannah assess the 10 key travel talking points of the past month throughout Asia Pacific. The journey takes us to Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, plus China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Play
25 Aug 2022 • 35m28s

Ep 147: Tourism & Climate Change in Asia, with Alexander Trupp, Sunway University

“We wanted to create a status quo assessment of tourism and climate change in Asia, where research has been limited.” This week’s show tackles a white-hot issue for the travel industry: how to address carbon emissions and global heating. The impacts of climate change are all around us in South East Asia, with a recent report citing Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam as particularly vulnerable to climate risks. This week, Gary chats with Alexander Trupp, Associate Dean of Research & Postgraduate Studies at the School of Hospitality & Service Management, Sunway University in Malaysia.
Play
18 Aug 2022 • 30m41s

Ep 146: The Top 10 South East Asian Travel & Tourism Stories This Week (#2)

“We are in a real period of flux, globally and regionally right now.” On this week’s show, Gary and Hannah sift through the 10 top travel and tourism stories in South East Asia over the past 7 days as regional and global economic factors take hold. The journey takes us to Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam & the Philippines, plus New Zealand and India. En route, we discuss tourism entry fees, fly-cruise travel, new flight routes, overland travel and NTO slogans.
Play
11 Aug 2022 • 33m27s

Ep 145: Checking Malaysia’s Travel Recovery Pulse, with Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar Tunku Abdullah

“Both Malaysia and ASEAN have been generally dependent on the Chinese outbound market, so we need a conscious and strategic shift to other markets.” This week, Gary and Hannah bring it home to Malaysia to discuss the emergent travel recovery with special guest Tunku Dato Seri Iskandar Tunku Abdullah, Group Executive Chairman of Melewar Group. An experienced tourism industry leader in Malaysia, Tunku is a life member of ASEANTA and a Former President of PATA.
Play
3 Aug 2022 • 30m54s

Ep 144: Domestic Travel & Tourism Lead the Recovery Across South East Asia

A promising outlook for domestic travel and tourism is emerging across South East Asia. This week, Gary and Hannah take a trip through Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos to assess some of the key issues around domestic travel as the regional recovery takes shape. Homegrown tourism kept the travel industry afloat during the border closures of 2020 and 2021 – and into 2022 in some countries – and continues to evolve.
Play
28 Jul 2022 • 29m37s

Ep 143: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Travel Recovery Outlook, with Liz Ortiguera, CEO, PATA

Assessing the broader regional picture is vital to tracking travel and tourism flows in, out of and around South East Asia. So this week, Hannah and Gary approach the ongoing travel recovery from a pan-Asia Pacific perspective with special guest Liz Ortiguera, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Liz took on this high-profile position in May 2021, a highly challenging point in time for countries throughout Asia Pacific. She explains the challenges across the past year and the emerging opportunities for travel businesses and travellers, and the direction PATA will navigate for its members in future.
Play
21 Jul 2022 • 31m57s

Ep 142: The Top 10 South East Asian Travel & Tourism Stories This Week

On this week’s show, Gary and Hannah sift through the 10 top travel and tourism stories in South East Asia over the past 7 days. The journey takes us to Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, plus Brunei and Timor Leste, about which we don’t talk nearly enough. En route, we discuss tourism fees and visitor price hikes, annual arrival forecasting and booster vaccine travel requirements. We also ask when ASEAN will welcome its 11th member, and pass through the only country in the region not yet fully open to visitors.
Play
13 Jul 2022 • 30m24s

Ep 141: Charting Cambodia’s Aviation Recovery, with Stephen King, Cambodia Airports

“Phnom Penh has come back strongly as the main air gateway to Cambodia.” Cambodia has been at the forefront in South East Asia for removing Covid-19 restrictions for visitors. Its three international airports handled 11.6 million passengers in 2019, and Cambodia is eager to revive its airline sector to support a tourism recovery. This week, Gary and Hannah welcome Stephen King, Chief Commercial Officer at Cambodia Airports, to discuss the progress in the first half of 2022 and the outlook for the rest of the year.
Play
5 Jul 2022 • 35m57s

Ep 140: The Top 12 Travel Talking Points in South East Asia & China in 2022 So Far

“The slew of [Chinese government] policy changes has prompted an increase in flights, with airline companies racing against each other to resume international flights with China.” Breaking developments in China mean the second half of 2022 in South East Asia will be dominated by the quest to entice back Chinese tourists. But how did we get here? This week, Gary and Hannah discuss the 12 key travel and tourism developments that define 2022 to date - and set the scene for a stronger recovery in the second half of the year.
Play
30 Jun 2022 • 30m59s

Ep 139: Positive Vibes in Phuket One Year After the Phuket Sandbox, with Sumi Soorian of the Phuket Hotels Association

“Time has really flown in the year since we started the Phuket Sandbox.” Exactly one year ago, on 1 July 2021, Thailand initiated the Phuket Sandbox to kickstart inbound travel after 16 months of tourism inactivity. Four months later, it was replaced by the Test & Go Scheme. Phuket is now buzzing. A mix of domestic and inbound tourists saw it welcome 1.7 million visitors in the first 5 months of 2022.
Play
23 Jun 2022 • 30m53s

Ep 138: Is Bali Tourism Back on Track? With Simona Chimenti & Melina Caruso of the Bali Hotels Association

“Since the end of March, the landscape of travelling to Bali has changed dramatically. It’s much easier to travel here now.” This week, Gary and Hannah check on the current state of tourism in Bali with Simona Chimenti, General Manager of The Pavilions Bali and Marketing & Media Relations Director of the Bali Hotels Association, and Melina Caruso, Technology & Marketing Consultant for the Bali Hotels Association. After a slow start, Bali is welcoming back visitors from around the world, but is anxious to attract more flights to boost arrivals.
Play
16 Jun 2022 • 37m30s

Ep 137: Revitalising Greater Mekong Tourism, with Catherine Germier-Hamel

The Greater Mekong Region – comprising Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China - is seeking new ways to develop and promote tourism after the ravages of Covid-19. This week, Gary and Hannah welcome Phnom Penh-based Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of Destination Mekong, and a passionate advocate of sustainable tourism development. Born in France of Eurasian heritage, she spent several years working in South Korea, including 6 years as Director of Global Programs for the UNWTO’s Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation.
Play
9 Jun 2022 • 28m56s

Ep 136: 22 Travel Wishes for South East Asia in 2022: Revisited!

We’re almost halfway through 2022. Several important developments in travel and tourism have occurred across South East Asia. International travel is back, which was our primary hope. But are we any closer to seeing some of our other travel wishes come true? This week, Gary and Hannah re-visit 12 of the 22 positive changes for 2022, which we set out back in January. Which wishes have come true, which are still pending - and which were well-meant wishful thinking?
Play
3 Jun 2022 • 42m23s

Ep 135: The Current State of Airlines, Airports & Aviation in ASEAN, with Shukor Yusof

As we enter the 6th month of 2022, South East Asia’s travel industry is showing signs of revival, with the aviation sector at the heart. But, rebuilding airline supply and passenger demand after the pandemic is accompanied by various operational challenges. South East Asia is playing catch-up due to the long pandemic travel restrictions, so what is the current state of play for airlines, airports and aviation? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome aviation analyst Shukor Yusof, Founder and CEO of Malaysia & Singapore-based Endau Analytics.
Play
27 May 2022 • 37m15s

Ep 134: South East Asia Seeks to Build Momentum For A Travel Recovery

Traveller Covid testing requirements are finally gone - so can South East Asia now build momentum for a sustainable tourism recovery? May was a positive month across the region, but the landscape is still evolving. Travel volumes and outlook optimism vary throughout South East Asia. Familiar destinations are leading the return of tourism, while bookings are slower elsewhere. This week, Gary and Hannah recap the key developments during May, and look forward to the second half of 2022.
Play
11 May 2022 • 25m34s

Ep 133: Laos Reopens to International Tourists, with Jason Rolan

We’ve been talking in recent weeks about the pieces of South East Asia’s travel jigsaw being put back together. But a Laos-shaped hole remained. That gap has now been filled. Laos reopened to international travellers on Monday 9 May. This week, Gary and Hannah welcome back Vientiane-based Jason Rolan to discuss the tourism challenges and opportunities ahead for this beautiful landlocked country. Jason talks about the new regime for e-visas. He also explains which airlines are preparing to return to Laos - and which new routes might be developed.
Play
5 May 2022 • 35m32s

Ep 132: Deciphering South East Asia’s Hottest Travel Recovery Buzzwords

As optimism returns to South East Asia, travel players, tourism boards and the media frequently cite a bunch of hot buzzwords. Several regularly used phrases also remain from the two-year travel shutdown. So this week, Gary and Hannah discuss the evolving lingo of travel, and assess which terms and phrases will endure, and which might just be a sign of the times. The show journeys from Pent-up Demand and Revenge Travel to a Bookings Bounceback via Visa-on-Arrival and Endemicity.
Play
26 Apr 2022 • 34m10s

Ep 131: April Sees South East Asia Get Upbeat About Travel!

Optimism is returning. South East Asia’s incremental, and dramatically drawn out, travel reopenings are finally nearing ‘all systems go’ status. This week, Gary and Hannah review the latest travel developments from across the region. In particular, there is great news for travellers to (and from) Thailand and Singapore. Plus, some impressive regional aviation statistics, and strong domestic travel outlooks in Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. Gary also reports on his first international flight for two years, from KLIA to London Heathrow - and the differences he encountered in the two airports.
Play
20 Apr 2022 • 32m44s

Ep 130: Talking All Things Travel & Tourism in Thailand in 2022, with Vincent Vichit-Vadakan

Time flies. It’s 10 months since we were debating the merits (or otherwise) of the proposed Phuket Sandbox. But that was then - the Phuket Sandbox started on 1 July 2021 - and this is now. A great deal has occurred in Thailand’s travel sphere since then. And more changes await up ahead - including the likely removal of a PCR test on arrival. But what is the outlook for Thai tourism in 2022?
Play
14 Apr 2022 • 41m12s

Ep 129: South East Asia Travel & Tourism Braces for Long-Term Impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War

Travel and tourism is slowly getting back on its feet in South East Asia after two long years. The economic dislocations of the pandemic are having consequences for the supply and demand of travel throughout the region and across Asia Pacific. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added an entirely new, and far-reaching, context. In addition, the Covid-19 lockdowns in China will have economic implications worldwide. So this week, Gary and Hannah sift through the potential impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war for travel, tourism and the regional economic outlook.
Play
30 Mar 2022 • 34m49s

Ep 128: Destination Myanmar: Assessing the Impacts of the Past Two Years, with Argus Tuft

What is the travel outlook for Myanmar after COVID-19 and 14 months after the military coup? And what is daily life like in Yangon, the nation’s largest city? Today, Gary and Hannah are joined by Argus Tuft (pseudonym), who is a long-time resident of Myanmar, and an experienced operator across the aviation, travel and marine sectors. He also made TV documentaries in Australia. Argus is currently working as an independent consultant in Yangon advising local and overseas nationals and expat residents on returning to or leaving Myanmar as international flights have not been operating for the past two years.
Play
25 Mar 2022 • 34m45s

Ep 127: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 8 - Take-off for South East Asia’s New Travel Reality, with Dan Lynn, ZUZU Hospitality

South East Asia’s travel landscape is reshaping, and we’re ready for take off! Travel activity is re-emerging across the region, and the travel industry is preparing for a recovery to start in earnest in the second half of 2022. The final edition of our 8-part Two Years of Travel Disruption series is perfectly timed, as both Singapore and Malaysia prepare to fully reopen on 1 April. To bring together the impacts of the past two years and anticipate an exciting, and volatile, new era of travel and hospitality, Gary and Hannah are joined by Dan Lynn, co-founder of Singapore-based ZUZU Hospitality.
Play
16 Mar 2022 • 27m39s

Ep 126: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 7 - Vietnam Kickstarts a New Tourism Era, with Mike Tatarski, Vietnam Weekly

Vietnam’s reopening has been one of the most talked-about in South East Asia, and also one of the most unpredictable. Even until the scheduled reopening date on 15 March, the terms of the reopening had not been published. However, the entry procedures are now looking very promising, and Vietnam is ready to welcome back tourists. So, on this week’s show, Gary and Hannah talk all things travel and tourism in Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh City-based Mike Tatarski, who is Editor-in-Chief of Saigoneer and founder and producer of the Vietnam Weekly newsletter.
Play
9 Mar 2022 • 32m01s

Ep 125: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 6 - South East Asia Steps Up The Return of Travel!

This week, Malaysia announced its reopening date, and Bali made it easier for travellers to visit. Singapore expanded its VTL scheme to more countries and cities. These developments reflect a general stepping up the return of travel across South East Asia. More hurdles still exist, however. The region’s travel landscape remains patchy and bureaucratic, and travellers face an avoidable administration burden. Progress is being made, though. On this week’s show, Gary and Hannah take a tour around the region to assess the changing inbound, outbound and domestic travel situations in South East Asia’s key markets.
Play
2 Mar 2022 • 32m47s

Ep 124: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 5 - Australia Reopens & Targets ASEAN, with Brent Anderson

For much of the pandemic, ‘Fortress Australia’ isolated itself from the world. Now, after a rapid vaccine rollout, its borders are open. Tourism Australia is prioritising key South East Asian markets and airlines to help drive its recovery. So, this week, Gary and Hannah chat all things travel and tourism Down Under with Brent Anderson, Regional General Manager South & South East Asia, of Tourism Australia. From his Singapore base, Brent explains how Australia developed its marketing campaigns to find opportunities as this new era of travel commences, and the importance of entertaining digital engagement.
Play
22 Feb 2022 • 30m54s

Ep 123: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 4 - Pandemic Travel Experiments That Failed

Who remembers the “one billion visitors by 2024” prediction? How about GeNose testing, the Special Tourist Visa and the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble? It’s been a long two years of the pandemic, and various attempts have been made to revive travel in South East Asia. In Part 4 of the Two Years of Travel Disruption series, Gary & Hannah rewind through 2020 and 2021 to pick out the travel proposals, initiatives and experiments that didn’t get off the ground - or, if they did, faded from view.
Play
17 Feb 2022 • 33m32s

Ep 122: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part 3: A New Era Beckons in Singapore, with Karen Yue

Singapore and Thailand have been at the forefront of restoring controlled access for travellers over recent months. Now, as other South East Asian countries reopen their borders, how will Singapore respond? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome back Karen Yue, Group Editor of TTG Asia, to discuss the changes that have happened over the past two years, and the outlook for 2022 and beyond. Singapore has taken a different route to elsewhere in ASEAN with its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) concept.
Play
9 Feb 2022 • 33m18s

Ep 121: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part II: Bali, Indonesia & Beyond with Stuart McDonald

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 chats to Bali-based Stuart McDonald, Founder of independent travel information company Travelfish, a prolific travel journalist and a respected voice on tourism in South East Asia. In April 2020, Stuart came onto the show (episode 13) and said: “I think we’re looking at least 2 to 2.
Play
4 Feb 2022 • 38m02s

Ep 120: Two Years of Travel Disruption, Part I: 15 Temporary & Permanent Changes in Travel

It’s almost two years since South East Asian nations began shutting their borders as COVID-19 spread across the region and beyond. Over the coming weeks, Gary and Hannah will put together a series of shows with the help of regional experts to assess the various changes that are already occurring because of the pandemic, plus changes that might happen in the coming months – and those that perhaps should, but maybe won’t, happen at all.
Play
28 Jan 2022 • 30m25s

Ep 119: Is South East Asia Ready to Reboot Travel in the Year of the Tiger?

South East Asia is preparing for its third successive Lunar New Year holiday – aka Chinese New Year and Tet in Vietnam – to be impacted by the pandemic. Although this year will focus on domestic travel across the region, there is a growing sense that governments are readying to reopen their borders. Quite how quickly that will happen, or at what scale, is still hard to predict - but positivity is in the air.
Play
21 Jan 2022 • 32m59s

Ep 118: 22 for 2022: A Wishlist for Travel & Tourism in ASEAN - Part II

A new year brings new hopes … and plentiful new challenges. So (roll the drum…) it’s time for Part II of our third annual travel wish list show, which this year we are calling ’22 for 2022’. Gary and Hannah have put together a list of 20 ways in which travel and tourism could get better in 2022, plus two ideas submitted by our learned listeners – to make a total of 22.
Play
18 Jan 2022 • 35m15s

Ep 117: Producing Travel Shows in Lombok, with Josh Edwards

The beautiful Indonesian island of Lombok has long sat in the shadow of its neighbour, Bali. Things may change in future, as the coastal region of Mandalika has been prioritised by Indonesia’s government for tourism infrastructure development. On today’s show, Gary chats about capturing travel on camera in different Lombok locations with Senggigi-based independent filmmaker Josh Edwards. Josh’s career took a twist during the pandemic, as he relocated from the UK to Lombok and set about producing an engaging travel show series called The Lombok Life.
Play
14 Jan 2022 • 35m00s

Ep 116: 22 For 2022: A Wishlist for Travel & Tourism in ASEAN - Part I

A new year brings new hopes … and plentiful new challenges. So (roll the drum…) it’s time for our third annual travel wish list show, which this year we are calling ’22 for 2022’. Gary and Hannah have put together a list of 20 ways in which travel and tourism could get better – and surely, it really must get better – in 2022. We also added two extra ideas submitted by our learned listeners – to make a total of 22.
Play
7 Jan 2022 • 29m00s

Ep 115: 2022: The Current State of Travel & Tourism in South East Asia

It’s January. This should be peak season for travel across South East Asia. But 2022 is not starting as a ‘normal’ year. Instead, as we prepare for a third year of living with COVID-19, the impending spread of Omicron dominates the economic and social discourse across the region. Shards of light for travel and tourism glistened briefly back in November 2021, but most borders are once again closed or heavily patrolled.
Play
13 Dec 2021 • 38m00s

Ep 114: 2021 in Review: The Good, The Bad & The Delta Variant

This time last year, our 2020 in Review show described it as “12 months that no-one will ever forget.” We could say exactly the same for 2021. Long periods of lockdown throughout South East Asia, stop-start domestic travel, governments moving forwards and backwards and strict border policies in place. There were a few bright spots, but not as many as hoped for, or perhaps expected. So, for the 2021 in Review show Gary and Hannah created a list of 10 events and developments that will always remind us of this year, plus 4 more that bubbled just beneath.
Play
10 Dec 2021 • 25m00s

Ep 113: What’s it Like to Fly From ASEAN to Australia During the Pandemic?

As the world awaits definitive scientific conclusions about the transmissibility and viral impact of Omicron, travel developments in South East Asia have been few and far between. Governments continue to be cautious and defensive. On today’s show, we’ve got the latest updates from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, where a “will it, won’t it?” drama is playing out regarding the phased reopening for international flights. So what is it like to travel from South East Asia to Australia during a time of such uncertainty and administrative overload?
Play
3 Dec 2021 • 18m00s

Ep 112: The SEA Travel News Show: South East Asia Retreats From Travel (Again!)

This was the week that Omicron caused the return of flight bans, quarantines and an overall retreat from travel across South East Asia. It now appears that Singapore has recorded the region’s first cases. On today’s show, we’ve got the latest updates from the Philippines and Indonesia, as they turn away from travel reopenings. More optimistically, the first US-Vietnam direct commercial flights by a Vietnamese carrier landed this week. The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of travel and tourism over nearly two years, including the work of NGOs.
Play
30 Nov 2021 • 31m00s

Ep 111: Omicron Strikes Fear into South East Asia

Here we go again! “Omicron’s very emergence is another reminder that although many of us might think we are done with COVID-19, it is not done with us,” said the WHO this week. The emergence of a new ‘variant of concern’ is striking fear across South East Asia after the damage the Delta variant caused earlier in 2021 - and continues to cause in some countries of the region. Omicron events have already moved quickly, as governments around the world erect new travel barriers and quarantines come back into fashion.
Play
26 Nov 2021 • 23m00s

Ep 110: The SEA Travel News Show: Riding the China-Laos Railway

The spectacular country of Laos has been overshadowed as more prominent destinations in South East Asia grab the reopening headlines. Laos has tentatively set in motion its own reopening plan – and is about to make its mark on the global news agenda with the opening of the China-Laos Railway. For the latest news from Laos, Gary chats with Jason Rolan, who is Senior Partner of Vientiane-based RDK Group. We have news about the upcoming land border Vaccinated Travel Lane between Malaysia and Singapore and the latest on the Philippines’ crystallising reopening plans.
Play
23 Nov 2021 • 37m00s

Ep 109: Checking the Travel & Hotel Booking Pulse in South East Asia, with Dan Lynn

As the 2021 festive travel season draws near, the green shoots of recovery are emerging, even if South East Asia’s reopening landscape remains patchy. On today’s show, Gary checks the region’s travel and hotel booking temperature with Dan Lynn, Co-founder of Singapore-based Zuzu Hospitality. Dan’s career also includes senior management roles with Expedia, the AirAsia-Expedia joint venture and eLong. We discuss how Zuzu refocused its services to meet the shifting operational challenges of its hotel clients during the pandemic, and into the early days of recovery.
Play
19 Nov 2021 • 26m00 s

Ep 108: The SEA Travel News Show: Cambodia Opens to the World

After sustained speculation, Cambodia this week surprised South East Asia by announcing that quarantine-free entry would apply for vaccinated travellers from every country worldwide. On episode 3 of our weekly news and current affairs show, Gary assesses the challenges ahead as Cambodia seeks to reboot its visitor economy. He also analyses the arrival of Vietnam’s first charter flights and the expansion of Singapore’s VTL scheme to 21 countries. With a Singapore-Malaysia VTL starting soon, Gary chats with Shukor Yusof, CEO of Endau Analysts, for expert insights on the outlook for airlines, airports and travellers in Singapore and Malaysia.
Play
18 Nov 2021 • 26m00s

Ep 107: The Highs & COVID-era Lows of Bangkok‘s Restaurant Scene, with Jarrett Wrisley

Having studied Chinese in Beijing, and worked as a restaurant critic in Shanghai, Jarrett Wrisley worked on a TV shoot in Chengdu with Anthony Bourdain. Shortly after, he moved to Bangkok and opened his own restaurant. Soul Food Mahanakorn quickly developed a local and global following, and became a crucible of contemporary Thai cooking with American accents. This week, Gary chats with Jarrett - who is a former colleague in Shanghai - about the 2010s era of inspiring culinary creativity in Bangkok.
Play
12 Nov 2021 • 26m00s

Ep 106: The SEA Travel News Show: An Extraordinary Week of Travel Announcements in Malaysia

Having achieved more than a 95% vaccine rate for its adult population, Malaysia is eager to recommence International travel. Three overlapping announcements this week paved the way, but left many questions unanswered. On the second edition of our new weekly The SEA Travel News Show, Gary also looks at the top talking points in Indonesia and Myanmar. Plus, Vincent Vichit-Vadakan dials in from Bangkok to discuss the latest on Thailand’s reopening and the lessons being learned from the Phuket Sandbox strategy.
Play
11 Nov 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 105: Slow Travel, Cultural Heritage & Nature Filmmaking in South East Asia, with Kamila Delart

“I’m trying to get people curious.” Travel film and video content is changing, particularly as the pandemic redefines the way we think about the purpose of travel and the meaning of tourism. To get an insider’s perspective on where we are heading, Gary chats with award-winning filmmaker Kamila Delart. Based on the Malaysian island of Langkawi for a decade, Kamila has worked with tourism boards and travel companies across South East Asia.
Play
4 Nov 2021 • 23m00s

Ep 104: The SEA Travel News Show: Two Months To Rescue Travel & Tourism in 2021!

It’s been a dismal year so far for travel and tourism in South East Asia. Now, as vaccine rollouts accelerate and events – and reopening speculation – gather pace, we’re launching a brand new weekly show. The SEA Travel News Show will feature a snappy mix of news, updates and mini interviews to keep you up to speed with the latest happenings here in South East Asia. Our take-off edition features the latest from Thailand, Bali, Singapore and Australia.
Play
3 Nov 2021 • 34m10s

Ep 103: Destination 2022: The Maldives Hits 1 Million Visitors This Year - What Happens Next?, with Ruth Franklin

It’s more than 15 months since The Maldives reopened after the COVID-19 lockdown. Progress has been impressive with a few tribulations along the way - and the nation welcomed its 1 millionth visitor in 2021 last week. Many countries in South East Asia have looked closely at how the Maldives managed its reopening and rebuilt its tourism sector. So in Part 4 of our Destination 2022 series, Gary discusses the outlook for the rest of 2021 and into 2022 with Ruth Franklin, Co-founder of Secret Paradise Maldives.
Play
29 Oct 2021 • 41m00 s

Ep 102: Destination 2022: Australia Gets Ready to Reopen - What Happens Next?, with Simon Westaway

Australia is reconnecting with the world, but how will its phased travel revival take shape? Certainly, Australia will be a coveted destination for tourism, family visits and business trips from South East Asia, and nations across the region will look forward to welcoming back Australian visitors. So in Part 3 of our Destination 2022 series, we head Down Under. Gary discusses the outlook for all aspects of inbound, outbound and domestic travel with Melbourne-based Simon Westaway, Strategy Director at Royce Communications, who recently completed a 2-year spell as Executive Director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council.
Play
19 Oct 2021 • 34m00s

Ep 101: Destination 2022 - All Eyes on Bali: What Happens Next?, with the Bali Hotels Association

Bali is preparing to welcome back international tourists for the first time in 19 months. Progress is slow, however, and the situation is complex. At present, no inbound flights are confirmed. So, today’s show takes an up-close look at one of South East Asia’s emblematic reopening stories. Gary is joined by Simona Chimenti, Marketing & Media Relations Director of the Bali Hotels Association and General Manager of The Pavilions Bali in Sanur, and Melina Caruso, Technology & Marketing Consultant for the Bali Hotels Association.
Play
18 Oct 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 100: Destination 2022 - How Will South Korea Leverage K-Culture in Tourism?, with Dr Jaeyeon Choe

With travel starting to return, Gary kicks off a new series called Destination 2022. Each episode will analyse the travel outlook in places that will be hot tickets for South East Asian travellers. We start in South Korea – where the nation’s brilliantly packaged mix of K-pop, K-drama, K-cuisine and K-beauty, plus smart destination video marketing, have kept it top of mind for the region’s youthful travellers. Gary is joined by Dr Jaeyeon Choe in Seoul who teaches Tourism Studies at the University of Swansea, and is Visiting Professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Hue University, Vietnam.
Play
15 Oct 2021 • 19m18s

Ep 99: 7 Days of Travel Drama in South East Asia!

In today’s show, Gary recounts the dramatic events of the past 7 days as some governments in South East Asia finally made decisive moves to restart travel. The process was kickstarted by Singapore whose announcement of 9 new Vaccinated Travel Lanes triggered other countries to start playing catch up. Within days, Malaysia and Thailand had accelerated the return of travel - albeit in different ways. Vietnam and Cambodia are racing to keep up, while Bali’s now in-process reopening to vaccinated inbound travellers remains shrouded in mystery and confusion.
Play
12 Oct 2021 • 37m00s

Ep 98: Reporting Travel in South East Asia During a Pandemic, with Julia Winterflood

The travel trade media has experienced huge disruption during the pandemic. Story angles have been forcibly changed as South East Asia’s decade of growth disintegrated and destination borders stayed shut. But what happens next as governments in the region prepare to bring back travel and tourism? This week, Gary chats about the intricacies of COVID-era travel journalism with Bali-based Julia Winterflood. During the pandemic, Julia has been Head Writer of The Bali Beat, and a travel journalist for Travel Weekly Asia, BBC Storyworks and Travelfish.
Play
8 Oct 2021

Ep 97: Travel Storytelling in South East Asia & China, with Simon Ostheimer

The international travel media continues to change as blogs, vlogs and social media dominate content consumption. On this week’s show, Gary chats with Phnom Penh-based travel writer and editor Simon Ostheimer. Having grown up in Hong Kong, Simon has lived and worked across South East Asia and Greater China over the past two decades. Along the way, he has managed city magazines in Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, plus a newspaper in Phuket.
Play
29 Sep 2021 • 36m13s

Ep 96: The Outlook for Airlines, Airports & Aviation in ASEAN, with Mayur Patel

Airlines have been severely impacted by South East Asia’s long and ongoing border shutdowns. So what happens next in the aviation sector? On today’s show, Gary and Hannah chat with Singapore-based Mayur “Mac” Patel, who is Regional Sales Director of OAG. In a broad-ranging interview, we discuss the year so far for airlines and airports, and look ahead at the prospects for the final quarter of 2021, and 2022. Will the hoped-for mutual recognition of vaccine certifications actually happen, and will that help rebuild confidence in air travel?
Play
28 Sep 2021 • 37m21s

Ep 95: 10 Tough Travel Learnings From the First Three-Quarters of 2021

As South East Asia enters the 4th quarter of 2021, Gary and Hannah bash heads together to create a list of 10 top travel learnings from a year that – as yet – hasn’t really got going. Perhaps a rush of travel activity awaits around the corner… but 2021 has taught the travel industry some harsh lessons. So on this week’s show, we discuss the following points: 2021 is shaping up to worse than 2020 for tourism businesses Governments being in control of travel is a disaster Any ASEAN cooperation is a pipe dream South East Asian tourism planners are directionless without Chinese tourists Vaccines have not been the save-all the tourism industry thought they would be Reopening may come down to 2 models: Thailand’s Phuket Sandbox or Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane Pent-up demand is probable, but not guaranteed Overlooking domestic markets is a long-term mistake Outbound travel is of little importance to governments and Media reporting of travel during the pandemic is clickbait driven.
Play
15 Sep 2021 • 34m00s

Ep 94: 2021: The Year So Far in Thailand, with Vincent Vichit-Vadakan

Thailand has grabbed headlines for much of 2021 in South East Asia, but what’s it been like to live and work in a country that appeared COVID-safe, and then was hit very hard by the Delta variant? In the final part of our ‘2021: The Year So Far in ASEAN’ series, Gary and Hannah chat with Vincent Vichit-Vadakan, a freelance writer and editor based in Bangkok. Vincent is also the host of tourism-related seminars for Destination Mekong and the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.
Play
9 Sep 2021 • 36m00s

Ep 93: Did August Mark the Start of ASEAN's Travel Turnaround?

Will history record that August 2021 was the month when travel returned to government agendas? It was certainly an eventful month in South East Asia as governments recognised that COVID-19 will be endemic, and that they must plan accordingly. Accelerating vaccination rollouts remains a priority, and a big challenge - especially for countries with large populations, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. This week, Gary and Hannah review the 6 top talking points in travel and tourism during August, and bring each one right up to date.
Play
1 Sep 2021 • 33m00s

Ep 92: 2021: The Year So Far in Cambodia, with Jacques Guichandut

After successfully managing the pandemic in 2020, the Delta variant has hit Cambodia harder than expected this year. That said, one of the region’s most concerted vaccination programmes offers hope for rebuilding both tourism and the economy. In the penultimate edition of our 10-part ‘2020: The Year So Far in ASEAN’ series, Gary and Hannah welcome Jacques Guichandut, Managing Director of All Dreams Cambodia, which is a B2B tour operator based in Phnom Penh.
Play
26 Aug 2021 • 38m00s

Ep 91: 2021: The Year So Far in Indonesia, with Julia Winterflood

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, and counts the planet’s fourth largest population. It is also South East Asia’s largest country and its biggest economy. The size, scale and diversity of the nation have been decisive factors for its long struggle to contain COVID-19, and the immense logistical challenges of inoculating its people. That said, significant progress is being made, and although the reopening of Bali to international travellers has faded from view for now, a cautious optimism exists for the future.
Play
19 Aug 2021 • 34m00s

Ep 90: 2021:The Year So Far in ASEAN - In Statistics

From 4.3 billion down to 0 - and an array of figures in between. On this special extra edition in the “2021: The Year So Far in ASEAN” series, Gary and Hannah crunch the year’s distressing travel numbers. We created a list of 2021 statistics that, taken together, sum up what has been another very difficult year so far in South East Asia. En route, we assess the current vaccine rollout figures, the staggering drop in ASEAN’s air travel capacity, and chart the slide in Thailand’s visitor arrivals projections.
Play
18 Aug 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 89: 2021: The Year So Far in Malaysia, with Faeez Fadhlillah

Malaysia continues to struggle with containing COVID-19, and despite an accelerated vaccine programme is not currently permitting international or interstate travel. Compounding the problem is a worsening economic and political crisis, which resulted this week in the resignation of the government. So in Part 6 of our 2021: The Year So Far In… series, Gary and Hannah bring it home to Malaysia to chat with Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO of TripFez, Honorary Treasurer of the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents and a PATA Board Member.
Play
11 Aug 2021 • 37m00s

Ep 88: 2021: The Year So Far in the Philippines, with Feliz Axalan

The Philippines is South East Asia’s second largest nation with a population of more than 110 million. While it has struggled to contain COVID-19 from the outset, travel sentiment remains strong. This week, in Part 4 our “2021: The Year So Far” series, Gary and Hannah chat with Manila-based Feliz Axalan, General Manager at Tradewings Tours & Travel. Feliz joins us from Switzerland, having spent 3 months travelling in Europe, including Spain, Greece and Switzerland.
Play
4 Aug 2021 • 30m00s

Ep 87: 2021: The Year So Far in Laos, with Jason Rolan

The spectacular country of Laos has been overshadowed as prominent destinations in South East Asia attempt to reopen for travel and tourism. Laos, however, has tentatively set in motion its own reopening plan. So, this week, Gary and Hannah tackle developments in the year so far in Laos with Jason Rolan, who is Senior Partner of Vientiane-based RDK Group. Jason was last on the show in November 2020, when Laos was COVID-safe.
Play
30 Jul 2021 • 30m00s

Ep 86: July in Review: Delta Variant Spreads Across ASEAN & Asia Pacific

July 2021 saw the Delta variant spread at an accelerated speed through the region. It now dominates every aspect of economics, social and health policy and daily discourse. On the monthly review show, Gary and Hannah unravel this month’s worrying statistics from across South East Asia, plus China, Japan and South Korea. We also analyse what the worsening COVID-19 situation combined with variable speeds of vaccine rollout will mean for proposed tourism reopenings in Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Play
28 Jul 2021 • 34m00s

Ep 85: 2021: The Year So Far in Singapore, with Karen Yue

It’s been an up-and-down year in Singapore. An accelerated vaccine programme offers real hope of emerging from the pandemic but a return almost to normality was halted by two recent COVID-19 clusters and new movement restrictions. Overlapping this, the government’s transition to an “Endemic Covid” framework should mean quarantine-free travel will soon be possible for vaccinated travellers. So, this week, Gary and Hannah tackle a range of key issues from the year so far with Karen Yue, who is Group Editor of Singapore-based TTG Asia.
Play
21 Jul 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 84: 2021: The Year So Far in Vietnam, with Mike Tatarski

Two-thirds through July, South East Asia’s travel recovery has yet to occur - and is receding into the distance. With the Delta variant spreading fast across ASEAN, nations that were COVID-safe earlier in the year are now under strict lockdown. So today’s show kicks off the “2021: The Year So Far” series, which will feature local experts and analysts in each market. The journey begins in Vietnam, as Gary and Hannah welcome Ho Chi Minh City-based Mike Tatarski, who is Editor-in-Chief of Saigoneer and founder of the Vietnam Weekly newsletter.
Play
16 Jul 2021 • 30m00s

Ep 83: When Will US & Canadian Tourists Return to Asia?, with Ernst Flach

The US and Canadian travel sectors were upturned by COVID-19. However, accelerated vaccination rates and pent-up desire for domestic trips are creating a partial summer rebound. Inbound and outbound markets remain subdued, and an upturn may take time. On today’s show, Gary and Hannah welcome Vancouver-based Ernst Flach, Executive Director at Wagstaff Media and Marketing, to discuss all things travel and tourism in North America. We dig through the current trends in the US and Canada, the protocols for travelling in and out of each country and an encouraging rebound for travel advisors.
Play
15 Jul 2021 • 38m00s

Ep 82: 2021: The Year So Far in ASEAN - Top 20 Talking Points

So, two weeks into the 2nd half of 2021 – and the travel outlook remains rather gloomy. That said, there has been plenty to talk about, and in the 35th podcast of the year, Gary and Hannah take a critical look back … and forward. We compiled a list of the Top 10 Travel Talking Points of 2021 So Far, and a second list of the potential Top 10 Travel Talking Points for the Second Half of 2021.
Play
7 Jul 2021 • 37m00s

Ep 81: The Current State of Airlines in ASEAN, with Brendan Sobie

Airlines have felt the brunt of the collapse of international travel in South East Asia since borders were closed in March 2020. This week, Gary and Hannah talk all things aviation and airlines with Singapore-based Brendan Sobie, founder of Sobie Aviation. We discuss the varying challenges facing flag carriers in South East Asia, including Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Garuda Indonesia and Philippine Airlines. Also, how can LCCs manage to survive if an international travel recovery doesn’t occur any time soon?
Play
2 Jul 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 80: June in Review: Delta Variant Derails Tourism Planning

June 2021 proved to be a another difficult month for governments, citizens, companies and travel policy planners. The fast-spreading Delta variant caused previously COVID-safe countries to take stricter precautions, and worsened the situation in nations still battling to contain the coronavirus. Governmental travails impact every aspect of daily life, work and leisure throughout the region. On the first edition of a new monthly review show, Gary and Hannah look back on 6 headline travel talking points across South East Asia, and beyond.
Play
30 Jun 2021 • 38m00s

Ep 79: South Korea Emerges As Asia's Most Exciting Travel Market, with Dr Jaeyeon Choe

While most Asian borders remain locked, South Koreans are heading off on summer holidays to European destinations. They are also booking ahead for Lunar New Year 2022. So what are the reasons behind this unexpected renaissance in one of Asia’s largest outbound travel markets? This week, Gary and Hannah welcome Dr Jaeyeon Choe, Visiting Professor at the School of Hospitality & Tourism at Hue University, Vietnam, and a sustainable tourism consultant for Insita Bali, Indonesia.
Play
21 Jun 2021 • 36m00s

Ep 78: Preparing Hotels for a New Travel Era, with The Phuket & Bali Hotel Associations

As Phuket and Bali prepare to welcome back international tourists, how are hotels in both destinations getting ready for the vaccinated travel era? On this special edition, Gary and Hannah are joined by Brad Edman, General Manager of Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa &, representing the Phuket Hotels Association (PHA), and Jean Hélière, General Manager of Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach & Chairman of the Bali Hotels Association (BHA). In this in-depth chat, Brad and Jean discuss the deep impacts of COVID-19 for the hotel sectors on both islands, and how Association members have reacted by reaching out to domestic travellers.
Play
18 Jun 2021 • 41m00s

Ep 77: A Roadmap For Tourism Reopening in Cambodia, with Nick Ray

How do you go from filming Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie at Angkor Wat to writing travel guides for Lonely Planet and producing travel video content for Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism? Pretty easy for Nick Ray, Principal at Hanuman Films, Lonely Planet writer for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and an ecotourism consultant with the World Bank. This week, Hannah and Gary chat all things travel, tourism and film production in Cambodia with Nick, who has lived and worked across the country or over two decades.
Play
15 Jun 2021 • 42m00s

Ep 76: Travel Reopening: Is it Only About Inbound Tourists?

Inbound vs Outbound vs Domestic. With Phuket and Bali focused on attracting international visitors, how will outbound and domestic travel be incorporated into tourism planning across South East Asia in future? After 15 months of border closures and a reliance on domestic travel only, Gary and Hannah discuss how Thailand and Indonesia are leading the charge to reboot inbound tourism. Domestic travel, though, appears to have assumed less importance. Meanwhile neither country is looking yet at attracting travellers from fellow ASEAN countries, as outbound travel remains static due to government restrictions.
Play
11 Jun 2021 • 37m00s

Ep 75: Will Phuket Reopen on 1 July?, with David Luekens

Thailand, and specifically Phuket, is central to tourism discussions in South East Asia right now. To check the inbound reopening pulse, Gary and Hannah chat with David Luekens, Bangkok-based travel journalist and creator of the Thai Island Times newsletter. The discussion looks back on the various proposals by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai government to reboot tourism over the past year, and the reasons for the failure of the Special Tourist Visa.
Play
10 Jun 2021 • 29m00s

Ep 74: The Past, Present & Future of Golf & Casino Tourism in ASEAN, with Bill Healey

Golf and casino tourism were booming across South East Asia and Asia Pacific before the pandemic - but both sectors face an uncertain future. This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Bill Healey, a hospitality, golf and casino tourism expert who has lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Bali. Bill was developing an Asian golf trip booking app in Cambodia before the pandemic struck, and returned to the US expecting to return within a few months.
Play
2 Jun 2021 • 36m00s

Ep 73: Will Bali Reopen in July?, with Stuart McDonald

Will Bali reopen for inbound tourism next month? This week, Gary and Hannah are delighted to welcome back Stuart McDonald, Bali-based founder of Travelfish, to talk all things travel and tourism in Bali and beyond. Bali originally planned to reopen to international tourists last September, but that was postponed. It’s now aiming for July 2021, but will it happen? Much relies on two things, getting sufficient residents vaccinated and finding inbound markets that will permit their citizens to visit Bali.
Play
27 May 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 72: 6 Reasons Why Travel Remains on Hold in South East Asia

When is travel going to restart? And is South East Asia actually going backwards? While Bali and Phuket seem steadfast in their desire to reopen their borders to vaccinated visitors in July, much of the region continues to struggle to contain resurgent waves of COVID-19. Travel at the moment, in some countries, appears a lower priority than it did two or three months ago. Against this backdrop, governments know that competition to attract travellers will intensify in the near future and no country wants to get left behind.
Play
22 May 2021 • 33m00s

Ep 71: Community-based Tourism in Thailand, with Charlotte Louwman-Vogels

This week, Gary and Hannah chat with Charlotte Louwman-Vogels, CEO of Fair Tourism, a non-profit foundation based in the Netherlands that does commendable community-based tourism (CBT) work in Thailand. During this intriguing chat, Charlotte discusses how she assisted the Kayan tribe in Huay Pu Keng to transition from being a commercial show village into a self-sustaining tourism community managed by the locals themselves. She discusses the role that tour operators and DMCs can play to support and promote sustainable tourism so that it empowers rather than exploits local communities, and how Fair Tourism is working with university students in destinations ranging from Australia to Kenya and Jordan.
Play
11 May 2021 • 34m00s

Ep 70: Selling a Passion for Vietnam, with Kerry Newsome

“Vietnam was really hot in 2019,” says Sydney-based Kerry Newsome, Australian Manager of ITS Vietnam and host of the What About Vietnam podcast. Kerry supports Australian travel agents wanting to sell tours to Vietnam, and accompanies travel groups in Vietnam. She was in the country right before the closure of borders in March 2020 working to help Australian tourists return home before COVID-19 lockdowns took hold. In this fascinating interview, she tells Gary and Hannah about her passion for the landscapes, cuisines and cultures of Vietnam, and how adventurous Australians were increasingly eager to experience more of the country.
Play
6 May 2021 • 32m00s

Ep 69: A South East Asia Travel Resources Guide to the Pandemic

On this week’s show, Gary and Hannah take a break from Travel Bubbles, PCR Tests and Reopening Strategies. Instead, the show builds a virtual guide of all the travel resources that we read, watch and listen to when researching the show, and producing our own weekly reports. The South East Asia Travel Show Resources Guide surveys the information, media and data landscape, and discusses how it’s developed and diversified since COVID-19 took hold.
Play
28 Apr 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 68: The Current State of Travel in South East Asia and Beyond

With the COVID-19 pandemic now in its 14 month, what have we learned and how will those lessons be – or not be – applied in future? This week, Gary and Hannah take on some of the ‘big picture’ talking points in travel and tourism in ASEAN. The show asks, and tries to answer, 7 critical questions: What do travel and tourism mean today, and do we have a different outlook than before the pandemic?
Play
22 Apr 2021 • 36m00s

Ep 67: Take-off for the Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble, with Simon Westaway

This week marks the start of the two-way travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. So there’s no better time for Gary and Hannah to welcome back Simon Westaway, Executive Director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, to the show. Back in December, Simon accurately predicted April for the two-way travel bubble getting started. In a fascinating discussion, we look at how Australia’s domestic tourism sector has recovered, and trends have shifted.
Play
15 Apr 2021 • 35m00s

Ep 66: 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.
Play
9 Apr 2021 • 48m00s

Ep 65: 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?
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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?
Play
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
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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”.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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.
Play
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?
Play
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?
Play
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.
Play
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.