Tourism is an essential part of the Asian economy and among the sectors that naturally suffered the most in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak due to the necessary travel restrictions that were put in place. In such unprecedented and potentially devastating times, local and regional governments need to offer the tourism economy as much help as feasibly possible.
So let’s put a spotlight on the region and ask how Asia is responding and how travel there will look once the virus has finally been vanquished.
The state of the economy
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely crippled many economies, particularly in less developed countries such an India. In Asia, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, which will probably be music to the ears of many Forex traders. The Vietnamese Dong, for example, is coping incredibly well as Vietnam has fared quite well, earning plaudits from the global economy and experiencing no coronavirus related deaths whatsoever.
New Zealand is another country in the region that has done remarkably well, with many praising the efforts of the government in keeping infections and deaths to an absolute minimum. The runaway success, however, has been South Korea, which was at one time the worst-hit country outside of China. With only 255 deaths, however, the long-term impact on the economy has been minimal.
The state of travel
Even though many Asian countries such as Vietnam (where the flattening of the infection curve succeeded spectacularly) are beginning to open up again, travelling to and from the country is still heavily monitored. Any visitors arriving in Ho Chi Minh City and other metropolitan areas, for example, must submit to testing. In other Asia-Pacific countries, meanwhile, such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, all foreign nationals have been banned entry and locals and long-term permit holders entering the country must quarantine themselves for 14 days after entry. This is similar to other nations, including the UK.
To reduce the administrative effort this requires, new ways of travelling are being discussed, one of these being country-to-country bubbles, where traffic from low-risk countries will be allowed much wider access. Once a large enough low-risk bubble has formed, aviation could once again be kickstarted and limited tourism may ease the ongoing recession.
The state of tourism
The World Tourism Organisation is taking substantial measures to ensure that the Asian tourism industry can continue to flourish in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and it remains to be seen whether or not those measures will work. Many experts warn that a return to pre-COVID tourism levels in countries such as Thailand could be years away but we’re all in this together, with a global decline in tourism by up to 80% this year. So, there’s no telling exactly how tourism will look in Asia 12 months from now but for financial players, it’s at least a pretty exciting time!