Online travel agency Booking.com says travel in the Asia-Pacific region will be slow to recover as a number of countries adopt a more cautious approach to re-opening. Laura Houldsworth, managing director for Asia-Pacific, says while some countries in Southeast Asia are re-opening, most North Asian destinations still have significant entry restrictions in place.
Further exacerbating the problem is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to a surge in cancellations over the last month. Popular destinations with the Russian market, such as Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, and India, are expected to take a hit. The conflict in Ukraine has affected travel sentiment among Eastern Europeans in general and Booking.com has suspended operations in Russia. Houldsworth says the firm in no longer accepting any bookings to Russia and expects the outbound market to shrink considerably.
“Any of these situations will have people rethink their travel plans.”
However, according to the Reuters report, Houldsworth is optimistic about a number of re-openings in Southeast Asia, with the Philippines, Cambodia, and Australia all ditching quarantine requirements for vaccinated arrivals and Vietnam following soon. Yesterday, Bali welcomed its first international tourists under similar conditions.
However, Houldsworth says that while Thailand resumed its Test & Go entry scheme in February, the country’s tourism operators want restrictions eased further. Most hoteliers and others in the tourism industry say the Thailand Pass registration process is still too burdensome and will put the country at a disadvantage compared to its competitors. Houldsworth agrees.
“The message is: the simpler the better for travellers.”
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