Southeast Asia opens in November… Competitive reopening (comprehensive) led by Thailand and Singapore

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“Tourism accounts for 12% of Southeast Asia’s GDP… We must not fall behind other countries”

Thailand, 17 countries, 63 countries ‘no quarantine’… Philippines, ‘coup d’état in Myanmar’ is no news

Tourists wearing masks and looking around the Royal Palace in downtown Bangkok. 2020.2.1[EPA=연합뉴스 자료사진]

(Bangkok = Yonhap News) Correspondent Kim Nam-kwon = Southeast Asia will open its borders in earnest from November, which were closed due to the Corona 19 incident.

Since the tourism industry occupies a large part of the economy, it appears that they are competing to revive the tourism industry to recover the economy that has plummeted due to COVID-19.

There is also a concern that if other countries lag behind in reopening, they may lose the initiative to attract tourists.

According to Southeast Asian media and foreign media on the 31st, Thailand is the country that reopens its borders on the largest scale.

From the 1st of next month, visitors from 63 countries, including South Korea, who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the country without quarantine.

Initially, 46 countries were targeted, but 17 countries including India and Taiwan were added on the 30th, two days before the reopening.

Myanmar, where it has been evaluated that the public health system has collapsed due to the large number of medical personnel participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) since the coup d’état on February 1, is also newly included this time.

After you arrive in Thailand, you can stay at a hotel for a day or two after having a negative test for COVID-19, and if the PCR test is negative, you can move around freely.

Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha stressed the need for reopening, saying that if Thailand opens too late, foreign tourists will go elsewhere.

Thailand’s tourism industry accounts for nearly 20% of its gross domestic product (GDP), either directly or indirectly.

However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year, the number of tourists from about 40 million in 2019 plummeted to 6.7 million.

As a result, the economic growth rate was -6.1%, the worst since the 1998 foreign exchange crisis (-7.6%).

Citizens walking through Marina Bay East Park, Singapore.  2021.10.20
Citizens walking through Marina Bay East Park, Singapore. 2021.10.20

[AFP=연합뉴스] [2021.10.27 송고]

Singapore, which has the world’s highest completion rate of COVID-19 vaccination with 84%, has already started reopening from this month, and it will be expanded in November.

Singapore, which has been implementing ‘With Corona’ since August to manage Corona 19 and coexist, has been conducting non-isolation entry for 10 countries including the US and the UK and those who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 since mid-March.

Australia and Switzerland will be added on the 8th of next month, and Korea will be added to the ‘non-isolated entry countries’ list from the 15th.

Other Southeast Asian countries are also embarking on a limited and trial reopening, centered on famous tourist destinations.

Malaysia Langkawi Island Open to Foreigners from November 15th
Malaysia Langkawi Island Open to Foreigners from November 15th

[로이터 연합뉴스 자료사진. 재판매 및 DB금지]

From the 15th of next month, Malaysia will open the resort island of Langkawi to foreigners as well.

However, you can visit the island only if you have travel insurance of at least $80,000 (about 94 million won). You must also complete your COVID-19 vaccination and stay on the island for at least three days.

The Malaysian government will also consider whether to open other tourist destinations based on the results of the three-month test opening on Langkawi.

Beach on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (file photo)
Beach on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (file photo)

[VNA 연합뉴스 자료사진. 재판매 및 DB금지]

Vietnam will also test open some tourist destinations, including Phu Quoc Island, to overseas visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 from the 20th of next month.

Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported on the 28th that foreign visitors who test negative for COVID-19 do not need to be quarantined.

Even in Vietnam, the tourism industry accounts for more than 10% of gross domestic product (GDP), but has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of foreign visitors, which reached 18 million in 2019, before the coronavirus, fell to 3.8 million last year.

Kuta Beach on Bali Island, Indonesia
Kuta Beach on Bali Island, Indonesia

[AFP 연합뉴스 자료사진. 재판매 및 DB금지] [2021.10.10 송고]

Indonesia has been opening Bali, Bintan and Batam Islands to vaccinated visitors from 18 countries, including Korea, China and Japan, from the 14th of this month.

Cambodia will also open sea sports attractions such as Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Island, as well as resort areas, Dara Sakor, to those who have been vaccinated from the 30th of next month.

After staying in the area for at least 5 days and undergoing additional tests, it is possible to move to another area.

On the other hand, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Laos are not yet ready to reopen due to the high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 or a coup d’état.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Arrival Hall is undergoing trial operation ahead of reopening.  2021.10.27
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Arrival Hall is undergoing trial operation ahead of reopening. 2021.10.27

[AFP=연합뉴스]

“All (ASEAN) countries are watching what others are doing, and many tourism ministers have said they don’t want to lag behind their Southeast Asian peers,” said Fair Anderson, a travel expert, in the Singapore daily The Straits Times.

Malaysia’s tourism minister, Nancy Shukri, said in a recent interview with CNBC that Malaysia does not want to be pushed out of the country as neighboring countries are easing border lockdowns on international travelers, the newspaper reported.

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the tourism industry is estimated to account for 12.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Southeast Asia.

south@yna.co.kr

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