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Monday, January 24, 2022

Some tourist destinations in Southeast Asia are reopening, but arrivals have dropped from millions to tens.

In October, Indonesia reopened Bali to fully vaccinated tourists from 19 countries. But this month, only two foreign nationals arrived – both by sea and the airport is not yet accepting international flights.

Bali, one of the world’s most popular destinations, ranks among several Southeast Asian tourist hotspots that have reopened – at least technically – to foreign visitors in recent weeks. For local hotels, tour operators and other businesses whose revenue was whittled down at the start of the pandemic, the news initially raised hopes that 2021 could end on a positive note.

But traveling to those destinations from other countries is such an undertaking – despite regulations, fees, no flights, and lingering hesitation about new outbreaks – that very few people cared about.

“For all but the most determined, this is a rather convoluted process for planning a short vacation,” said Stuart McDonald, co-founder of Travelfish.org, a travel guide to Southeast Asia, about international travelers looking to take a vacation in the region.

“There will be determined people who understand this,” added Mr. MacDonald, who lives in Bali. “But for something on a scale we still have to wait.”

Bali, where tourism accounted for more than half of the economy before the pandemic, had over six million international arrivals in 2019. But so far this year there are only 45, said Dayu Indah, head of marketing for the island’s official dealership. tourist office. All of these travelers arrived by sea at the port of Benoa, just down the road from the international airport.

“I don’t know where they are from,” Ms Indah said. “Whether tourists or expats, I don’t know the details.”

Recently, the number of arrivals to other hotspots in Southeast Asia is not so large, but by the standards of a pre-pandemic, they are still negligible.

In Malaysia, only a few hundred foreign tourists have visited the resort island of Langkawi since the government partially opened it to visitors this fall – far fewer than thousands, the local development agency had expected.

More than 100,000 foreign visitors arrived in Thailand in November as part of a no-quarantine program for fully vaccinated tourists from dozens of countries. But the country’s total arrivals for the year – less than 270,000 – still represent a tiny fraction of the 40 million who arrived in 2019.

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Dozens of foreign tourists began arriving in Vietnam as part of pilot programs in November, but according to official figures, this figure falls far short of the 1.8 million international arrivals recorded in the country in November 2019. The programs were launched before the Omicron variant was discovered and the number of cases in the country reached a new high.

Part of the problem with Southeast Asia’s tourism industry is that China, the main source of visitors, has imposed so many restrictions on its citizens traveling abroad, including a 14-day quarantine upon return, that very few of them leave.

Another problem is the lack of direct flights. Cambodia, for example, reopened to foreign travelers last month and dropped quarantines for those fully vaccinated and undergoing testing. But most travelers from outside Asia who wish to visit the country will have to transit through hubs in other parts of the region, such as Malaysia, McDonald said. This means additional checks for Covid.

“It’s too complicated,” he said. “You go into quarantine and you have a positive result. Who needs such a holiday? “

As for Bali, the reasons for not coming here include not only the lack of direct international flights, but also Indonesia’s 10-day quarantine for fully vaccinated people and the paperwork required to obtain a business visa. (Tourist visas have been suspended.)

Ms Indah said Bali is currently focused on local tourists and that 12,000 of them arrived by plane over the weekend.

According to her, the island is maximally prepared for the resumption of international tourism. More than 90 percent of residents have been fully vaccinated, and over 2,000 facilities have passed the Covid Health and Safety Inspection.

“But if we are talking about opening borders, opening a country, then power belongs to the central government, and this, unfortunately, is not easy,” she said. “There are many considerations to consider.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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