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Southeast Asia is finally seeing visitors again

Tara Abhasakun

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PHUKET, THAILAND- JAN 23, 2016: Crowds of tourists at Patong beach on Jan 23, 2016 in Phuket, Thailand. Phuket is a popular destination famous for its beaches.

After the seemingly endless Covid-19 slump, Southeast Asia is finally reopening to the world! The number of people doing Google searches about Singapore travel has reportedly gone up among travellers in Malaysia, along with Indonesia, India, and Australia.

Flights to Singapore from several countries are expected to see a massive spike. Flights from Indonesia to Singapore are expected to quadruple from 55 to 222, while flights from India to Singapore are expected to reach 190. There were only 100 earlier this year.

Meanwhile in Thailand, the number of foreign visitors rose 38% in March from February. This was after Thailand relaxed its requirements on testing and health insurance, according to the tourism ministry. Despite the growth, the numbers of international arrivals in Thailand has been around 5-8% of pre-Covid levels. But with the further easing of arrival paperwork, the Thailand Pass, from May 1, arrivals are now predicted to rise more swiftly. There is also an uptick in flights arriving from overseas over the next few months.

Indonesia saw an increase in foreign travellers arriving through their airports and seaports since the beginning of 2022, according to government data. Figures from the statistics department revealed 33,600 travellers entered Indonesia through its main channels from January to February. Compared to the same time last year, the country saw a 260% increase.

It’s not just air travel that’s picking up again in Southeast Asia. Thailand also reopened its land border with Malaysia earlier this month. Some shop vendors along the border told Thai media that they were happy to welcome tourists again because the checkpoint closure was a hard time for them and their families. Motorbike taxi drivers in the area say they used to make 700 baht to 800 baht per day before the pandemic, but only made 50 to 60 baht a day after the closure.

Land borders in Thailand open in 31 provinces from tomorrow, another important lifting of restrictions. read about that HERE.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Southeast Asia’s tourism economies make a comeback.

SOURCE: Bloomberg News

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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