Malaysia’s new prime minister says a regional travel bubble, including the 10 members of ASEAN and China, would help business and tourism recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. There has been a mixed response from the region’s tourism and business communities.

Malaysia is already planning to reopen its resort islands to domestic visitors next month and hopes to allow foreign tourists back next year.

PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Friday ASEAN and China should consider the cross-border travel bubble for fully vaccinated tourists. “By doing this, we will be in a much better position to revive not only the tourism industry, but also our people-to-people connectivity,” he said.

Some industry insiders have poured cold water on the plan. Beijing has said there will be no outbound travel from China until after the second quarter of next year, news agencies reported last week.

“So far Singapore and Hong Kong have announced travel bubbles four times and cancelled each – and finally its dead in the water,” said Bill Barnett a Phuket, Thailand-based hospitality, tourism and real estate adviser. “Forget bubbles, the Sandbox from Phuket is proven to be a model that works. Vietnam has announced that Phu Quoc will have a similar programme in October for international vaccinated travellers so for now,  it’s all about islands, not bubbles,” he said.

Other travel experts are more optimistic.  “I fully support the work that the new Malaysian PM brought up. I think opening up the closed borders of Asia is very important now for vaccinated tourists. I have been advocating this and chasing the Cambodian government for the last eight months… this would be good, not just for tourism, but all the economy as well,” said Sinan Thuorn, the Cambodia Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), who welcomed Malaysia’s suggestion of including China in the travel bubble plan. “You know how many million Chinese tourists have been travelling around the world so Chinese have been one of the big markets here in terms of the tourism industry,” he said.

The ASEAN-China travel bubble would only apply to travellers who have received at least two Covid-19 vaccinations. Ismail Sabri said ASEAN and China should work on the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates. The Malaysian PM’s comments came in a pre-recorded speech at the opening of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, held in Nanning, the capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He said the plan would not just help the tourism industry but also help businesses by keeping supply chains flowing to provide essential goods and services. “This is critical for small and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of our economy.”

ASEAN overtook the EU as China’s largest trading partner last year. ASEAN is set to join China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership next year, creating the world’s biggest trade zone, with tariffs cut by as much as 90 percent on most products.

Related Posts

Malaysia’s new prime minister says a regional travel bubble, including the ten members of the Association of Southeast-Asian Nations and China, would help business and tourism recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Malaysia is already planning to reopen its resort islands to domestic visitors next month and hopes to open the country to foreign tourists next year.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Friday ASEAN and China should consider the cross-border travel bubble for fully vaccinated tourists.

“By doing this, we will be in a much better position to revive not only the tourism industry, but also our people-to-people connectivity,” he said.

Some industry insiders have poured cold water on the plan. Beijing has said there will be no outbound travel from China until after the second quarter of next year, news agencies reported.

“So far Singapore and Hong Kong have announced travel bubble four times and cancelled each, and finally its dead in the water,” said Bill Barnett a Phuket, Thailand-based hospitality, tourism and real estate advisor.

“Forget bubbles, the Sandbox from Phuket is proven to be a model that works. Vietnam has announced that Phu Quoc will have a similar programme in October for international vaccinated travellers so for now, it’s all about islands, not bubbles,” he said.

The Malaysian PM’s comments came in a pre-recorded speech for the opening of the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, held in Nanning, the capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Malaysia’s prime minister said the plan would not just help the tourism industry but also help businesses by keeping supply chains flowing to provide essential goods and services.

“This is critical for small and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of our economy,” Ismail Sabri said.
ASEAN overtook the European Union as China’s largest trading partner last year.
The ASEAN-China travel bubble would only apply to travellers who have received at least two Covid-19 vaccinations. Ismail Sabri said ASEAN and China should work on the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates.

ASEAN consists of, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is set to join China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership next year, creating the world’s biggest trade zone, with tariffs cut by as much as 90 percent on most products.

 

for(var key in aepc_pixel_args) args[key] = aepc_pixel_args[key];

return args; };

// Extend args if ( 'yes' === aepc_pixel.enable_advanced_events ) { aepc_pixel_args.userAgent = navigator.userAgent; aepc_pixel_args.language = navigator.language;

if ( document.referrer.indexOf( document.domain ) < 0 ) { aepc_pixel_args.referrer = document.referrer; } } !function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod? n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n; n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version='2.0';n.agent="dvpixelcaffeinewordpress";n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0; t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window, document,'script','https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js'); fbq('init', aepc_pixel.pixel_id, aepc_pixel.user); setTimeout( function() { fbq('track', "PageView", aepc_pixel_args); }, aepc_pixel.fire_delay * 1000 ); …

KOTA KINABALU: Inter-district travel bubble packages should be the focus of local tourism players as the state eased its restrictions for domestic tourism, says a Sabah minister.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said tourism operators were now encouraged to work on tourism bubble programmes in the reopening of tourism activities.

He said his ministry will encourage tourism companies to develop bubbles between the inter-district areas.

“We will wait for them to put in their applications,” he said Saturday (Sept 11) when asked about the easing of tourism activities in the state under Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

He said most tour operators are keen to use the available travel bubble programmes but they will have to meet standard operating procedures (SOPs) before approvals are given.

He said there were three applications for the local travel bubble that are being considered so far.

Meanwhile, Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said the government should consider expanding the districts into bigger zones as done previously.

He said previously, Kota Kinabalu City, Penampang and Putatan districts as Zone One was expanded to include Kota Belud and Ranau.

“This would encourage movement among people and people will be more encouraged to travel.

“If it is allowed only within the districts, not many will be interested,” he said, adding that the concept of a travel bubble aimed at checking on the spread of Covid-19 could still be used if the state government introduced enlarged zones.

“People are likely to travel more if they are going out of their own districts,” he added.

On Friday (Sept 10), state Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said tourism rules were being eased to help the industry.

Among the SOPs were for all operators, their staff and visitors to be fully vaccinated with hotels allowed to open their rooms for visitors from the same district.

Hotels previously were allowed to operate for quarantine purposes.

Sabah continues to record above 2,000 Covid-19 positive cases daily and all 27 districts remained classified in the red zone for the last one month.

It might sound like rest and relaxation, but for Saige Treiman, it’s work. In fact, she’s made a career out of the hospitality industry and has never looked back.

“It’s super fun,” she explains. “It’s just the connections. The connections are phenomenal. There are so many people in this world and it gives you the best opportunity to meet even more people.”

But this year, all Treiman has met are setbacks.

“I was laid off…laid off from a couple of different jobs.”

Treiman is one of many Arizona tourism workers off the job in 2020, but as resorts continue to rebound, they’re needing to hire more and more workers.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, 2021 job openings are up 11% from 2020, but still not quite where they were in 2019.

RELATED: Sports tourism is big business for Arizona, expected to keep growing

“Just like everyone, the pandemic has really kind of changed the direction and created some challenges like we’ve never had before,” says Denise Seomin with the Phoenician Resort.

The Phoenician is gearing up for more group travel this fall and the upcoming holidays, so they’ve hosted two hiring events in recent months, where, in one place, you can apply, interview, get drug tested and if all goes well, get a job offer.

The Phoenician is even offering a $500 sign-on bonus for people who get hired at the event. It is one of many resorts getting creative to lure more people back.

RELATED: Though pandemic hit Arizona tourism industry hard, in-state visitors lessened the blow

appId : '1561178210822538',

xfbml : true, version : 'v2.9' }); }; (function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; js.async = true; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); …

THE Commonwealth is willing to sign travel bubble agreements with its other tourist markets, but it will depend on their Covid-19 situation, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said.

“I know that it’s not as easy to work with other tourist destinations because of their Covid-19 situations, but we are open to other destinations,” he added. “But at the same time, our priority is our public health and [the] safety of our community so we continue to monitor other tourist destinations. Once they have achieved Covid-19 herd immunity percentages, then it will allows us to move forward in signing a new travel bubble agreement.”

The CNMI has a travel bubble agreement with its primary tourism market, South Korea, which, according to Reuters, “is in the middle of its worst wave of infections, but it has kept the number of severely ill cases under control through steadily rising vaccination rates.”

Reuters also reported that South Korea “is drawing up a plan on how to live more normally with Covid-19, expecting 80% of adults to be fully vaccinated by late October…. The country has not seen a significant increase in coronavirus deaths, with a mortality rate of 0.88%, largely due to high vaccination rates among the elderly and vulnerable. Severe or critical cases stood at 387 as of Tuesday.”

In July, the CNMI hosted a familiarization tour for South Korean visitors that included representatives of major travel agencies and six media and social media channels.

The group spent five days at the designated hybrid quarantine resort, then visited Saipan, Tinian, and Rota after testing negative on the fifth day after their arrival.

Participants gave rave reviews of their trip, stating that they had felt safe despite the still raging global Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, the total estimated advertising value of the media fam tour was over $117,000.

The crew of the TV travel show Eudiny, also part of the fam tour, remained in the CNMI for another week and will produce nine one- to two-minute video clips based on their trip, MVA said.

Local tourists planning to visit Langkawi under the much-anticipated tourism bubble will need to use the services of travel agencies, said Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said this requirement applies to fully vaccinated tourists who plan to travel by land.

“They will need to at least use the transport services provided by travel agencies from their respective starting destination to the jetty in Langkawi,” Nancy said during a press conference.

She added that travel agencies will help tourists to apply for permit from police to travel to Langkawi.

Meanwhile, those who are travelling by flight or from the neighbouring states of Kedah and Perlis don’t need to go through travel agencies. Travellers, however, will still be required to apply for permit from police.

“We urge people who want to travel to Langkawi to comply with the SOPs that have been set to ensure that the tourism bubble pilot project is successful,” she said.

Nancy also announced that the island will be opened to domestic tourists from all states, including those under Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

However, those in localities under the enhanced movement control order will not be allowed to travel under the tourism bubble pilot project.

Most tourism activities will be allowed to resume under the tourism bubble pilot project in Langkawi. These include hotel stays, recreational and cultural activities.

The full list of SOP is available at motac.gov.my.

Travel Bubble amid vaccine politics the only way out for tourism

By Vipula Wanigasekera

Sri Lanka tourism revenue has slumped from US $4.4 billion at the peak to almost nothing in 2020. Among the other worst hit foreign exchange earners were foreign remittance, apparel, and tea exports. A senior hotelier representing Sri Lanka’s tourism power brand Jetwing, claims losses of over Rs 2.5 billion in 2020 were recorded the government’s debt moratorium. This is a crisis if not a catastrophe, but getting back on the feet requires calibrated policy decisions and careful scrutiny over what has worked and failed world over.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and authorities are trying hard to keep the hospitality sector from sinking until tourism picks up on its own. The purpose of this piece is to shed light on the ‘travel bubble’ concept, which has been referred to at various fora locally and internationally.

The ‘alleviation of fear’ in the minds of future traveler is a main prerequisite to bring tourists to Sri Lanka. This was similar to the travel advisories issued from time to time during the conflict. Tourists arrived regardless of warnings that country was at ‘civil war’ because the visitors themselves knew they were not targets. Can this notion be applied during Covid-19 too?

The deviation here is that ‘vaccine politics’ at play among powers, particularly in the West has hindered the global vaccination goals. Some nations concentrating on only vaccinating their populations and some others administering the third booster shot while the majority of the world languishes due to vaccine shortage, will not help tourism.  OXFAM International stated several months ago “rich nations were vaccinating one person every second while majority of the poorest nations are yet to give a single dose while developing countries were facing critical shortages of oxygen and medical supplies to cope with COVID-19”. This vaccine inequality will have dangerous consequences. One of them as per scientists is Covid-19 becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has attempted to override the monopolies held by pharmaceutical companies to allow an urgently needed scale up in the production of vaccines for poorer countries and enable more equitable access to the vaccines. The firms strongly opposed this and lobbied their governments not to approve WTO advances on account of intellectual property protection. Their profits have grown exponentially as a result.

In July this year, writer T.V. Padma in an article ‘COVID vaccines to reach poorest countries in 2023’ noted that ‘’around 11 billion doses are needed to fully vaccinate 70% of the world’s population against Covid-19 and as of July 2021 only 3.2 billion doses had been administered.’’ This vaccine gap can find relief in mass production and streamlined global distribution of the vaccine. China is at present the only country with the capacity to bridge this gap the fastest. This would also expedite plans for seamless travel bubbles.

The implication for tourism as a result of power politics has been severe. So far, more than

DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT, Colo. — The 10 rafts are secured to the banks of the Green River. The tents are up. The sun is setting over the sandstone canyon walls. As 30 rafters dig into steaming bowls of chili, it’s time to start planning for the future.

How can northwest Colorado entice and manage visitors, protect natural landscapes like the Green River’s stunning Gates of Lodore and prop up an economy girding for the looming departure of coal mining?

“As our coal leaves, what do we have left?” asks Jennifer Holloway, the executive director of the chamber of commerce in the town of Craig, where she grew up. “We have an amazing experience that can change lives. How can we share that, but also protect it?”

► Nation’s best parks:These are the best parks in each state, according to actual visitors

Three years ago, Moffat County “had some challenges with our identity,” Holloway says, describing how her father, when she was little, walked away from the family farm to work in the better-paying coal mines. “Not everyone had a coal job, but we focused on coal and neglected other things.”

Those other things – like tourism, agriculture and outdoor recreation – are no longer being neglected. It’s been a year since Tri-State Generation and Transmission and Xcel Energy announced they would be closing their coal-fired electrical plants and nearby coal mines starting in 2028. The closures will cost northwest Colorado as many as 800 jobs.

A community-based transition plan focuses on growing the region’s tourism and recreational amenities while protecting agricultural heritage and natural resources. The communities of Moffat County, downstream from the bustling resort of Steamboat Springs, are essentially a blank slate. They are taking cues from other Western Slope communities, hoping to glean lessons on what works and what does not. And the wheels are turning.

“Our community is on the cusp of doing great things, transformational things,” Holloway says.

► ‘We can accidentally love our parks to d:How to protect crowded national parks

Craig has applied for a $1.8 million federal grant for the roughly $2.7 million Yampa River Corridor Project, which hopes to revamp boat ramps and add a whitewater park as part of an effort to bolster the region’s appeal with river runners and paddlers. An additional phase of the plan would build a trail connecting Craig to the Yampa River.

Last year the City of Craig purchased the historic Yampa Building from the Moffat County School District. The building has been converted into a visitor welcome center as well as a home for artists, a senior center and several local nonprofits and private businesses.

Josh Veenstra said investment in the river will help shape a new identity for Craig and northwest Colorado.

“This is the last stop before the wild begins,” says the co-owner of Good Vibes River Gear who was born and raised in Craig and worked in both the coal mines and power plant.

Veenstra learned to sew at the

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysia’s tourism industry has called for a controlled travel itinerary throughout the country, rather than just a travel bubble in Langkawi, to allow for a more effective and balanced recovery of the sector.

Datuk Tan Kok Liang, president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta), said that with a controlled travel or fixed itinerary, fully vaccinated travellers could choose local tourism destinations that had achieved herd immunity.

“This is a more effective recovery strategy as it will allow more tourism destinations in Penang, Terengganu, Pahang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak to open up in tandem with Langkawi.

“However, Matta welcomes the first move for the travel bubble in Langkawi as it is better than nothing,” he said on Friday (Sept 3).

Langkawi, in the state of Kedah, will open to locals under a travel bubble plan from Sept 16, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Thursday, adding that other destinations will be allowed to operate when the localities’ vaccination rates hit 80 per cent.

Mr Tan noted that in Langkawi, a controlled travel fixed itinerary would also be applicable as people would still be at risk of getting infected with Covid-19 without a proper standard operating procedure (SOP).

“The pilot project in Langkawi will hopefully be a success, but what if it fails due to unforeseen circumstances? Does that mean other states cannot start tourism activities?” he said.

He added: “I believe stakeholders in other states already have their SOP in place. We can’t wait too long as the tourism infrastructure and companies would be ‘dead’ by then.”

Kedah/Perlis Malaysian Association of Hoteliers chairman Eugene Dass said hotels were anticipating a growth of 20 per cent in occupancy rate, which was expected to pick up after October if the country achieved 80 per cent herd immunity.

He believed the Langkawi travel bubble would be “very domestically driven” as the country was still not open for interstate travel.

Meanwhile, local airlines are getting ready to increase the frequency of their services to Langkawi in anticipation of the reopening of the tourism sector there on Sept 16.

Malaysia Aviation Group chief executive officer Izham Ismail said Malaysia Airlines welcomed the government’s announcement on the activation of the Langkawi travel bubble.

He added that this would be a starting point to reviving domestic tourism for the fully vaccinated.

“Currently, Malaysia Airlines operates four times daily to Langkawi, and will adjust capacity to meet demand,” he said on Friday.

In conjunction with the reopening and Malaysia Day, which also falls on Sept 16, he said Malaysia Airlines is offering tickets for as low as RM89 (S$28.80) for all-in fare, while its tour operating arm, MHholidays, is also offering bundled flight and hotel packages with up to 50 per cent discounts.

“The airline remains steadfast in its commitment to adopting the highest safety and hygiene standards in air travel. Most recently, the Malaysia Aviation Group achieved 100 per cent vaccinated status, which