Connect with us

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Q&A with David Barrett on travel, tourism and MICE

Jack Burton

Published 

 on 

Q&A with David Barrett on travel, tourism and MICE | The Thaiger
PHOTO: David Barrett
  • follow us in feedly

Industry expert and respected marketeer David Barrett chatted with travel writer and media consultant Andrew J Wood on the recovery from the impact of Covid-19 on Thailand’s formidable travel and tourism industry.

AW. As Thailand starts to emerge from lockdown what do you believe are the most important points to consider to ensure success?

DB: As we begin to recover, we are presented with an opportunity to reset Thailand’s tourism model and build a better future. Thailand is set up for mass tourism and if we want to see sustainable growth and development we need better control and management of destinations and resources.

We need to be targetting quick-win markets from bubble source markets close to home as the first step. A focus on high yield tourists is the way to go, in tandem with wooing back mass tourism, whilst being mindful of the need to better manage the Kingdom’s resources, protecting the environment.

AW. When people start to think about travel again, what do you believe they are looking for in a post Covid-19 world?

DB: Biosecurity measures will be top of the list for first movers in international travel. Reassurances that their health and well-being are being taken care of. Hygiene and health measures may cause a little inconvenience compared to the free-spirited travel pre-Covid, but new measures need to be visible to reassure travellers, as safety is paramount. The first wave of travellers are most likely to take baby steps, travelling nationally this year, flying next year short haul within 4 hours and long haul hopefully will rebound in volume by 2022. If you’ve broken a leg and you’re on the mend, you don’t enter a marathon. The global tourism industry has been broken and is now in recovery, we need to take little steps close to home first.

AW. In a recent poll 75% of respondents said that the hotel industry in Thailand cannot thrive with only domestic tourism. Do you agree?

DB: We have to rely and survive on domestic tourism as this is the first market to travel. Thankfully the Royal Thai Government also sees the domestic sector as key to kickstarting the tourism economy and their stimulus package of 22.4 billion baht with subsidies and incentives to boost domestic tourism is a way to go. Tourism will continue to be a driver of growth for the Thai economy. Historically, international visitors have propelled the industry, but it is Thais’ desire to travel around Thailand that has seen the domestic tourism market grow.

If you take a look at one of the niche segments — ecotourism, more than 60% of small ecotourism operators in Thailand have websites and promotional collateral only in Thai. That says something about the past success and drive to build back domestic tourism as the first-move segment. Neglect domestic tourism at your peril.

AW. Your name is often linked with the MICE (Meetings Incentives Conventions Exhibitions) industry. With new social distancing guidelines in place for meetings in Thailand do you think the industry can bounce back in Thailand?

DB: MICE will return. However, if you cut through all the positive spin, the reality is that international MICE, that traditionally has been higher yield, will take much longer to rebound. Hopefully short haul MICE with Singapore as the regional corporate hub, feeding meetings to Thailand, will return by the third quarter of 2021. Long haul markets such as Europe and the high rolling incentives from the US, that we started to see growth pre-Covid, won’t be back en mass until the latter half of 2022. It’s a waiting game.

The challenge is for the DMCs (Destination Management Companies) who’ve banked their futures on these long haul markets. Do they have deep enough pockets to ride through this waiting game? Many of the small DMCs have turned to retail to tide them over, but are stressed about the timeline for the return of their business.

In terms of safe distancing at business events, the industry will adapt and as confidence in international travel resumes, I am sure some of the stringent hygiene and health guidelines will be relaxed. The desire to travel and meet people is in our DNA, and I am confident MICE will resume to pre-Covid levels, but it may take 3 to 5 years.

AW. The Thai PM is keen to engage with industry experts. What Travel and Tourism advice would you give him?

DB: Please introduce cooperation between the Ministry of Interior, who issues hotel licenses, and the Ministry of Tourism & Sports. The two ministries need to communicate and cooperate for control of Thailand’s tourism development. And ideally bring the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment into the conversation too. We need better control and planning of tourism resources.

AW. There is much talk about resetting the industry. What do you think our priorities should be?

DB: To reset the industry:

  1. Carefully introduce bilateral government agreements on travel, so we can open up key source markets, though elimination of entry restrictions.
  2. A long-term master plan for Thai tourism that is sustainable for the environment and stakeholders A plan that everyone buys into, even if there are controls that may impact business operations.
  3. Continue the great work of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in promoting Thailand as the jewel in Asia.

And please can we have a new campaign and drop “Amazing,” which has run its course.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

India aims to have Covid-19 vaccine by mid-August

Jack Burton

Published

on

India aims to have Covid-19 vaccine by mid-August | The Thaiger
PHOTO: tabipacademy.com

But scientists are skeptical at the speed of the development. India has announced its plan to take its first Covid-19 vaccine from human trials to general use by mid-August, just 6 weeks from now. Bharat Biotech International, an unlisted vaccine maker, received regulatory approval to start human clinical trials for its experimental vaccine earlier this week, but it’s already got India’s top medical research body expediting the process.

Bloomberg reports that a July 2 letter from the Indian Council of Medical Research to clinical trial sites said the vaccine is “envisaged to be rolled out for public health use by August 15, after completion of all clinical trials,” and that it’s “one of the top priority projects which is being monitored at the topmost level of the government.”

There is no evidence that Bharat Biotech’s vaccine is safe for human use, not to mention effective at providing any protection, short or long term. The “envisioned” timeline is far shorter than other front-runner vaccine efforts from American and Chinese drug makers, most of whom started human clinical trials months ago, and are now entering the last of 3 stages of testing.

There has never been an effective vaccine developed for any of the coronavirus family of diseases – SARS, MERS, the ‘common cold’ – 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus) – or Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Influenza (Flu) is NOT a coronavirus.

The announcement of a potential vaccine underlines India’s desperate need to find a way to stem the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 650,000 people and killed over 18,600 in the country, making it Asia’s new epicentre with the world’s fourth-largest outbreak. In its letter, the ICMR urged the trial sites to enroll volunteers by Tuesday.

The proposed speed has alarmed many in the medical fraternity. According to a tweet from a medical researcher at India’s Manipal University…

“Such an accelerated development pathway has not been done EVER for any kind of vaccine, even the ones being tried out in other countries. Even with accelerated timelines, this seems rushed and hence, has potential risks.”

The government of Indian PM Narendra Modi is anxious to create the impression it has gained control over the outbreak, after abandoning a costly lockdown that caused tremendous economic suffering without slowing the spread of the virus. The August 15 deadline for the Bharat vaccine may reflect that political pressure: that’s the day India celebrates its Independence from the British.

SOURCE: Bloomberg | Bangkok Post

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 update: 40 days with no locally transmitted cases (July 4)

Jack Burton

Published

on

Covid-19 update: 40 days with no locally transmitted cases (July 4) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin - Nation Thailand

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration confirmed this morning that Thailand has not recorded a single locally transmitted case of Covid-19 in 40 days. 5 imported cases were reported today of repatriated Thai nationals – 1 from Kuwait, 1 from the UK and 3 from Sudan. All were discovered in state quarantine facilities.

CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin says Thailand remains on guard, and social distancing measures will continue to be enforced despite the 40 day milestone, as factors such as illegal immigrants remain a potential danger of contagion. Border control is a top priority for Thailand and although limited international travel is resuming, very strict precautions remain.

Only very limited groups of foreigners can enter, and numbers are severely restricted. These groups include those with work permits and medical reasons, but entry requires extensive paperwork, quarantines and is approved on a case-by-case basis.

General travel and tourism remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the threat of Covid-19 resurgence around the world, according to Taweesilp. Thailand is exploring potential “travel bubbles” with some countries that are deemed to have controlled the virus, as determined by the World Health Organisation.

As of today Thailand has had a total of 3,185 cases, of whom 3,066 of those recovered. There have been 58 deaths related to the virus.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Global Covid-19 cases exceed 11 million people. Deaths over 529,000.

Jack Burton

Published

on

Global Covid-19 cases exceed 11 million people. Deaths over 529,000. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andalou Agency

Covid-19 infections around the globe surpassed 11 million yesterday, another grim milestone in the spread of the virus that’s has killed more than half a million people since the outbreak began just over 6 months ago. According to the World Health Organisation, the number of cases is now more than double the figure for severe influenza illnesses recorded annually.

1 million new infections has been added to the total in less than 1 week, with the world infection rate starting to accelerate.

Some hard-hit countries are now starting to ease earlier lockdowns introduced to slow the spread of the virus, and making extensive changes to work and social life that could last until a vaccine is available. Other countries are experiencing a resurgence in contagion, prompting authorities to reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern into 2021.

In a new global record, the US reported more than 55,400 new cases on Thursday, as infections rose in a majority of states. Nearly a quarter of the known global deaths have occurred in the US… over 132,000 as of today. The recent surge has put US President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis in the spotlight and led several US state governors to halt plans to reopen their states after strict lockdowns.

Latin America, where Brazil has 1.5 million cases, makes up 23% of the global total of people infected. India is now the epicentre in Asia, rising to nearly 650,000 cases.

Asia and the Middle East have around 12% and 9% respectively, according to the worldometers tally, which uses verified government reports.

In third world and developing countries with limited testing capabilities, case numbers are likely to reflect a small proportion of the total infections. Experts caution that official data doesn’t tell the full story, with many believing that both cases and deaths have likely been underreported in some countries. But the data, following the most scrutinised and tracked virus in history, certainly shows developing trends and provides health professionals with critical information.

The first death linked to the new coronavirus was reported on January 10 in Wuhan, China, before infections and fatalities surged in other parts of China, then Europe, then in the US, Russia and now South America. The pandemic is now entering a new phase, with India and Brazil battling over 10,000 cases a day, putting a major strain on medical resources.

Countries including China, New Zealand and Australia have experienced new outbreaks in the past month, despite largely eliminating local transmission.

Thailand has had no local transmissions of Covid-19 for 40 days.

SOURCE: Reuters

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Trending