Travel recovery in Asia, but Covid’s risk remains: Minor International


Locals and tourists will attend an event held to commemorate the opening of Phuket to foreign tourists at Patong Beach.

Thomas De Cian | NurPhoto | Getty Images

According to the chairman of a multinational hospitality company, the darkest times for the tourism industry may soon be over.

Tourist attractions like Phuket are now open to international tourists who do not need quarantine, followed by others like Koh Samui, operating a chain of hotels and restaurants around the world. William Heinecke, CEO of Minor International, has pointed out.

The Thai government recently announced a “sandbox scheme” in Phuket, stating that a popular resort island will be open to vaccinated Thai and foreign travelers from 1 July without quarantine. Koh Samui, Thailand’s second largest island, has also been accessible to tourists since July 15th, under the same rules.

After a 14-day stay in Phuket or Samui, tourists are free to travel on both islands and depart for other cities in Thailand.

“Phuket has been doing well since July 1st,” he told CNBC’s “road signs” last week.

Strong backlash in Europe and China

According to Heinecke, Minor International, which operates more than 530 hotels, resorts and service suites worldwide, is also making a strong recovery in Europe, the Middle East and China, with some regions above pre-Covid levels. He points out that he is back.

Hotels are also seeing strong demand for room types where higher priced room types such as villas, suites and deluxe rooms are adopted before regular rooms.

“Europe, which has just reopened, is in very strong demand. The Middle East has seen a very steady recovery since January. Real estate in the Middle East is now functioning at pre-Covid levels. A world above the pre-Covid level. China is another world. “

One of the trends we definitely see is a much more focused focus on health and immunity, and those who are concerned about their health.

William Heinecke

Minor International CEO and Chairman

Heinecke also noted the changes in consumer behavior regarding tourism during a pandemic and added that his company is taking advantage of it by offering more programs focused on wellness.

“One of the trends we’re definitely seeing is a much more focused focus on health and immunity, and those who are worried about their health,” he added.

Risk to the outlook

While tourism demand is recovering and tremendous in parts of the world, there are concerns about vaccine deployment rates in Asia.

“There is still a slowdown in many markets caused by (vaccine) production problems,” said Heinecke, who said Malaysia and the Philippines were slow to progress.

“It’s also due to the production of AstraZeneca in Thailand,” he added.

Thailand began manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine for the UK and Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in June. Siam Biosciences, a local partner owned by Maha Vajiralong, plans to administer 180 million doses this year, more than one-third in Thailand and three minutes in Southeast Asian countries including Taiwan and Malaysia and the Philippines. It occupies 2 of.

But last week, it was reported that Thailand could curb exports of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines to combat its own crisis.

According to Our World in Data, Asia lags far behind North America, Europe and even South America when it comes to the dose of vaccine given per 100 people. According to data on July 17, North America administers about 78 doses per 100 people, while Asia lags behind with 49 doses.

Despite the fact that the first highly contagious delta mutant found in India has become the predominant strain in the United States and has spread to at least 104 countries, late vaccination is increasing the number of cases.

Restrictions and blockades from Singapore to Thailand and Australia have suspended travel corridors between cities and countries, hindering the revival of the tourism industry in 2021.

According to Heinecke, the availability of vaccines is very important. “I believe in more vaccinations and less blockades,” he said.

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