Prior to the pandemic travel between ASEAN countries accounted for around 44% of arrivals in the region. Now a raft of varying measures and restrictions may mean that travel in the region will be slow to recover.
Picture Myanmar village scene credit Julien-De-Salaberry on Unsplash
ASEAN countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
Industry leaders are now calling for consistent measures and standards to be implemented to help the recovery of the tourism sector, an important economic factor in many countries in the region.
This is not the first time that calls have come for common standards. In February the Singapore University of Technology and Design published a report calling for a regional travel bubble to be created. Back in January the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) called for the reopening of borders in the region based on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
Leaders in the region had agreed to set up an ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement in November last year. However the draft terms of reference have not yet been completed and are not expected before October.
Industry experts during the Halal in Travel Global Summit 2021 have now again called for the introduction of SOP’s which would not just help travel from residents within those countries but foreign tourists visiting multiple countries in one trip, a common theme in the region.
“ASEAN (leaders) need to come up with a common standard for travel, (pertaining to areas like) digital travel passports, new normal operation guidelines, hotels and restaurants cleanliness and health measures, quarantine period, and also, compulsory travel insurance.
The varying procedures across countries in the region currently have created “headaches” for travel consultants when handling guests.”Pauline Suharno, Chairman Association of the Travel Agencies in Indonesia (ASTINDO).
Currently individual countries have developed their own digital travel applications rather than signing up to use one of the global app’s, for example the IATA Travel Pass. Individual countries also have different procedures to provide proof of tests results, from digital certificates to physical, printed, proof.
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