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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Region Prepares for Limited International Travel

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Visitor counts are gradually increasing across the state and the vast majority are domestic passengers—a trend that’s true around the world. But in parts of the Asia Pacific, preparations are underway to welcome more international travelers.

If you’ve been dying to get to Thailand and you’re fully vaccinated, you could plan a trip this summer—at least to the country’s most popular resort island of Phuket.

The government plans to open Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists on July 1, three months ahead of the rest of the country.

The local business community is taking the lead in pursuing a goal of vaccinating at least 70% of local residents before the tourists arrive.

The Tourism Council of Thailand expects most of those visitors to be Chinese, followed by Europeans.

Some countries are taking a more targeted view toward a cautious reopening.

Palau is starting a travel “bubble” with Taiwan tomorrow, more than a year after closing its borders.

Palau has not had a single case of COVID-19, and the government has led a campaign to vaccinate local residents.

Taiwan has maintained a low rate of infection throughout the pandemic, currently with only 33 active cases.

Most countries around the Asia Pacific remain closed to foreigners, but many are seeing a trend for domestic visitors---leisure trips are returning faster than business travel—especially in resort areas.

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reports occupancy rates at five-star hotels in ocean-front Busan and on Jeju Island at 80% to 90%.

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