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Booking.com predicts bumpy recovery for travel in Asia-Pacific region

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: YogeShuchi/Pixahive

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, MD for Asia-Pacific, says while some countries in Southeast Asia are starting to re-open, with various levels of paperwork and restrictions, most North Asian destinations still have significant entry restrictions in place.

Further exacerbating the problem is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has now 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 particular hit. In Thailand, the Russian market was the most popular arrivals since the re-introduction of the Test & Go re-entry program on February 1, 2022.

Read how Russia is re-shaping the world’s travel industry at the moment HERE.

The conflict in Ukraine has affected travel sentiment among Eastern Europeans in general and Booking.com has suspended operations in Russia. Laura says the Booking.com is 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, Laura 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, Laura says that while Thailand resumed its Test & Go entry program in February, the country’s tourism operators want restrictions eased further. Most hoteliers and others in the tourism industry say the Thailand Pass paper-work-heavy registration process is still too burdensome and will put the country at a disadvantage compared to its competitors.

“The message is… the simpler the better for travellers.”

SOURCE: Reuters

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