February Highlights

It has been an incredibly busy month for Flyingdog Travel and international travel to Southeast Asia finally starting to look like it will become more accessible in the coming months as global vaccination programmes get under way.

Eco-Tourism Projects in Southeast Asia

Welcome news as a number of projects either with a focus on eco-tourism or as an added benefit to the wider project.

Cambodian authorities announced a new eco-tourism project in east of the country and an even larger project in the Kep region in the south of the country.

Kep, Cambodia. Credit Paul Szewczyk on Unspalsh

It’s hoped that a massive project approved for Ream City in Sihanoukville willhave some eco-tourism benefits although that is far from certain at the present time.

Elsewhere in Cambodia however UNESCO has added their concerns to a project next to Angkor Wat.

In Thailand the Forest Park development in central Bangkok is due to open in 2022.

Southeast Asia Tourism and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Thailand

At the start of the month it looked like tourism to Thailand would be very reliant on the Asian market and the rollout of vaccines.

As we moved through the month we saw a number of areas with high levels of international tourism making moves to encourage wider international tourism in 2021 as the tourism crisis in the country escalated. Phuket businesses looked to acquiring private Covid-19 vaccines to help open up the island but this was swiftly rebuked by the Thai government as calls came from organisations in Koh Samui and Pattaya to speed up the vaccination process within tourism to open up the sector.

By the end of the month things were looking more promising as transit flights through Bangkok restarted, calls came for a Thai vaccine passport plan, Phuket welcomed the first villa quarantine tourists and the Thai Prime Minister answered calls to look at ending quarantine for vaccinated travellers.

In a worrying development we also looked at the suffering being experienced by elephants as many camps around the country struggle to survive.

Financial Issues in the Travel and Tourism Sector

Airlines and airports continued to struggle as the pandemic reduced income to a fraction of levels a year ago. Philippines Airlines announced plans for 2,300 job cuts as Singapore announced significant financial support to the sector while AirAsia were hopeful of a quick recovery.

Things were even worse for Thai Airways who laid off pilots and cut executive jobs as their financial crisis continued. We had an extended feature on Thai Airways and if they can even survive as the debt rehabilitation plan deadline fast approaches.

Thai Airways. Credit tjdarmstadt on Flickr

There was even the incredible story of allegations that some Thai Airways staff had faked their own deaths to claim death benefits.

There were new reports of a crisis within hotels in Indonesia and Malaysia and calls for new travel protocols for internal travel in the Philippines.

Opening the International Tourism Sector

The International Air Travel Association (IATA) is ready to roll out its Travel Pass in the coming weeks which has been designed to help open the international travel industry. A number of airlines are hoping to start using the pass from March with others following suit in the coming months.

Vaccinations

Many countries within the region have now started their vaccination programme and others are receiving deliveries of their first doses that will start to be given in the near future.

Apart from Thailand, who are due to start their vaccination programme this week, the global programme has encouraged the tourism sector that vaccinated travellers should be allowed sooner rather than later with tourism chiefs in both Bali and Malaysia calling for entry restrictions and quarantine to be removed under certain conditions.

Scuba Diving in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a wonderful location for snorkelling and scuba diving with a number of world class diving sites in the region, some incredible marine life and opportunities for divers of all experience levels.

This month we added features on scuba diving in the Gili Islands and throughout Thailand including around Phi Phi, Similian Islands, Surin Islands, Khao Lak, Phuket, Koh Lanta and the Krabi area.

We will be added much more scuba diving content over the coming weeks.

Porcupinesfish. Credit Ryan Lackey on flickr

Indonesia – Bali, Lombuk and the Gili Islands

This month we launched brand new content for Indonesia including information on the beautiful island of Lombok, key destinations on the island plus the best beaches, the top things to do and the wonderful Mount Rinjani.

We also added information on the incredible Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno.

Tripadvisor Best of the Best

Tripadvisor have published their 2021 Best of the Best lists and Southeast Asia countries have appeared in the Worlds’ Popular Destinations, Best National Parks and Best Beaches in Asia.

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Published by flyingdogtravel

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