Asia Minute: Domestic Travel As First Steps For Regional Tourism

Aug 3, 2020

It will be at least another month until Hawaii hosts any out of state visitors who don’t go through a two-week quarantine. In the Asia Pacific, some locations are slowly opening to visitors, but generally not from overseas.

The Indonesian island of Bali has just started a new phase of welcoming visitors. As of this past Friday, domestic travelers are now allowed back on the island.

There are modifications: nightclubs won’t be open, the deputy governor says the emphasis will be on natural and cultural attractions.

If all goes well, the plan is to open to international visitors next month.

Vietnam had a similar plan — starting with domestic tourism and then moving onto international visitors. But an outbreak of cases of COVID-19 in the popular tourist city of Da Nang has shifted the tone of attention, and likely the timetable for next steps.

Beaches have been closed, and domestic tourists have been sent home by the tens of thousands.

In Thailand, the Phuket Tourism Fair just wrapped up in Bangkok this weekend. The Tourism Authority of Thailand calls it part of an “aggressive proactive tourism strategy” — which for now is also only aimed at a domestic audience. And that seems to be fine with local residents, despite a tremendous drop in economic activity.

The Phuket News recently published a poll of more than 1,100 people, surveyed about their attitudes on tourism. More than 75% said they do not want foreign tourists to visit Thailand anytime soon.