Hotel News Updates: Check-in on What’s New in the Hospitality Industry Across Asia
July 07, 2022
As the world navigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will keep you updated with the latest hotel news in Asia, current trends in hospitality industry 2021, and more through the hospitality industry articles, we will collect from various credible sources.
Follow this blog to keep yourself updated with the latest happenings. Here is the list of the featured hospitality industry news across Asia:
Tourism in Southeast Asia is steadily recovering, albeit with a few major problems
June 30, 2022
CNBC reports that after more than two years of lockdowns and flight restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southeast Asian countries are finally experiencing a steady uptick of tourism.
Flight data analytics firm Cirium notes that Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore are almost back to pre-pandemic booking levels.
However, even with flight bookings increasing, the aviation and tourism industry are still battling major problems that started with the pandemic. Service crew shortages, low wages, flight cancellations, crowded airports, and employee strikes are just some of the challenges facing the industry.
Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders says “The aviation industry had 50% fewer jobs at the end of 2021 compared with pre-Covid times — from 87.7 million to around 43.8 million.” If this continues, airlines may be forced to turn away customers and stagnate their recovery.
News source: https://www-cnbc-com.cdn.ampproject.org/
COVID-19 cases steadily increasing in Southeast Asian countries
June 23, 2022
New cases of COVID-19 have been detected in popular Southeast Asian countries. While the Philippines and Indonesia are preparing to end quarantine measures by the first week of July, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam are keeping to stricter regulations to mitigate the spread.
COVID-19 Cases (latest count)
Expected End of Current Quarantine Measures
% of Fully Vaccinated Population
30 June 2022
4 July 2022
Thailand to drop mandatory face mask rule and foreign travel registrations
June 23, 2022
As of Jun 22, 2022 the Thai government has announced mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors.
Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Thai COVID taskforce, said wearing masks outside would become voluntary, but was still recommended in crowded areas, entertainment venues and on public transport.
Furthermore, in order to boost tourism in the country, the health ministry will also end the “Thailand Pass” foreign traveler registry system on Jul 1, 2022.
Visitors will instead be required to present vaccination certificates or take COVID tests upon arrival.
News Source: licas.news
Hotel OTA Listings Continue to be Heavily Affected by Google
January 20, 2022
Data and analytics company GlobalData reports the COVID-19 pandemic has been negatively impacting OTA value since 2019. Now that Google has been more aggressive with its travel and hospitality presence, the industry is reeling from decreased traffic and conversions.
Ralph Hollister of GlobalData says “Google’s growing presence in online travel will be ominous for OTAs that have no choice but to rely on the search engine for web traffic. Regulators are starting to control Google’s practices, but the company has to be treated differently due to its position as a dominant search engine, as well as the fact that it is not offering directly competing services. Low competition can lead to rising prices, so it is vital for all travelers that the right balance is achieved.”
OTA companies’ have growing concerns over Google’s influence on the travel market. Many are looking into how they can work around lower visibility and increased competition over the next months.
GlobalData Thematic Analyst Laura Petrone comments “Google certainly has a huge responsibility when it comes to competitiveness. Google has a monopoly over internet searches, and it has been accused many times of violating competition law to preserve this monopoly. Digital platforms like Google can use data generated knowledge from one market and taking advantage of their scale, they can expand their services to new markets. However, they need to be careful: in doing so they end up attracting even more regulatory scrutiny, as they are viewed as data monopolies in whichever sector they move into.”
News Source: hospitalitynet.org
Thailand is now open to fully vaccinated tourists from “low-risk” countries
November 25, 2021
Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has changed their policy on tourism to revitalize their tourism industry amid the pandemic.
Fully vaccinated tourists are now exempt from the mandatory quarantine period and can enter the country so long as they have the proper documents.
As of November 25, 2021, travel requirements include:
Proof of Vaccination
Negative COVID-19 test
Reservation at an approved hotel (find the list here)
COVID-19 insurance policy (covering at least $50,000 in case of COVID-19 infection)
Only residents of 64 countries are eligible to enter Thailand. Non-residents must prove they resided in these countries for at least 21 days before entering Thailand. Thai nationals and residents are exempt from this.
Tourism News Source: ASEANbriefing.com
PH hotels should expect an increase in bookings as tourist spots drop RT-PCR requirement
November 16, 2021
With more than 25% of the population having received their second dose of the vaccine, LGUs in the Philippines are no longer requiring RT-PCR tests from fully vaccinated tourists upon entry.
Local tourism in the Philippines is finally starting to recover from pandemic losses! The vaccine rollout has helped in easing restrictions for tourist hot spots and driving up local business by allowing non-residents entry. For the hospitality industry, expect a rise in bookings and longer stays especially now that families are gearing up to spend the holidays on vacation.
As of November 16, 2021 these places no longer require RT-PCR tests for fully vaccinated tourists:
- Cebu Province
- Cebu City
- Clark Freeport City
- Davao City
- Maasin City
- Ilocos Norte
- Ilocos Sur
- Iloilo City
- Subic Bay Freeport Zone
- Tacloban City
Philippine Tourism News Source: Rappler.com
No more facility-based quarantine for vaccinated foreigners, Filipinos from ‘green’ countries
If you’re fully vaccinated, whether you’re a foreigner or a Filipino, you are not required to undergo a facility-based quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines as long as you come from “green” countries.
Starting October 14, the following will be required of fully-vaccinated foreigners entering the Philippines from “green” countries and do not apply to tourists:
- A negative result in a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test within 72 hours prior to departure from their country of origin.
- Upon arrival in the Philippines, self-monitoring for any symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
The green countries as of October 8 are:
- American Samoa
- Burkina Faso
- Cayman Islands
- China (mainland)
- Republic of the Congo
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Federated States of Micronesia
- New Zealand
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Palau, Poland
- Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Sierra Leone
- Sint Eustatius
- Cook Islands
- Marshall Islands
- North Korea
- Saint Helena
- Solomon Islands
Fully-vaccinated Filipinos can choose to take the same RT-PCR test as foreigners within 72 hours before departure and show a negative result, or choose to take the RT-PCR test at a quarantine facility upon their arrival in the Philippines and stay at the facility until they receive a negative result.
Facility-based quarantine is still required for the following Filipinos until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on their 5th day of quarantine:
- Partially vaccinated
- Individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified
- Those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements
Foreigners who fall into any of the above categories are required to secure hotel reservations for at least six days.
Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated children traveling with their fully vaccinated guardians must observe the quarantine protocols that correspond with their vaccination status. Their guardian will accompany them to the quarantine facility.
Philippine Tourism News Source: Rappler
Bali to Reopen for Tourism on October 14
October 6, 2021
Starting October 14, the Indonesian island of Bali is welcoming foreign tourists again, confirmed by Indonesia’s senior cabinet minister.
The popular tourist spot will open up to visitors from selected countries including China, the United Arab Emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, New Zealand, and Japan.
Although Bali and Java are under a partial curfew until October 18, Bali Ngurah Rai Foreign Terminal will begin accepting tourists on October 14, bypassing Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
The logistics for the reopening have yet to be specified.
The government said that travelers will be required to present:
- Proof of a hotel room reservation, where they must spend an 8-day mandatory quarantine at their own expense
- Proof of a negative PCR test.
The list of accepted accommodations has not been revealed and it’s unclear whether Bali will separate residents from tourists or if the latter will be allowed to freely tour the island.
The good news is that Bali has accelerated its Covid-19 vaccination drive as one of the key preparations for reopening its tourism sector.
To date, Bali has vaccinated more than 50% of its eligible population – the highest rate in Indonesia -, including most people from the hospitality sector.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has reported more than 4.2 million Covid-19 cases with 142,261 deaths.
In the last few weeks, it has also recorded a sharp drop in cases after peaking in mid-July.
Hospitality industry news source: Traveling Lifestyle
Thailand is Reopening for Tourism and Scrapping Quarantine Requirements on November 1
October 6, 2021
Thailand plans to partially reopen a number of key cities in early November.
All non-Thai arrivals need to buy health insurance that covers COVID-19, and must be fully vaccinated and be able to provide a negative COVID-19 test.
Thailand has decided to lift quarantine requirements in its capital Bangkok and other nine regions from Nov. 1, as part of its open-up strategy.
On that day, the country is supposed to reopen other 5 provinces including Chiang Mai, Phangnga, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Cha-am.
Hospitality industry news source: Traveling Lifestyle
Philippines Not Reopening for Tourism But Keeps Easing Restrictions
October 5, 2021
The Philippines is not open for tourism but has eased entry restrictions for multiple countries recently.
Fully vaccinated nationals, residents permit holders, and those traveling for essential reasons visiting from low-risk countries are now allowed entry.
All fully vaccinated arrivals must:
- Submit a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours prior to boarding
- Undergo a 7-day quarantine at a government-approved quarantine hotel.
Unvaccinated visitors must quarantine for 14 days.
The Philippines eased its COVID-19 restrictions allowing more business to resume activities as the country struggles with record numbers of daily cases.
Despite the new policy, there are still no signs from the government that it is ready to reopen for foreign tourists this year.
Hospitality industry news source: Traveling Lifestyle
The DOT Philippines Backs Call to Shorten Quarantine of Fully Vaxxed Travelers
October 5, 2021
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said that the Department of Tourism stands squarely behind the call of President Duterte to shorten the quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers. This is a crucial step towards the eventual resumption of international travel once our borders reopen, leading to the recovery of the pandemic-hit sector
Based on the current guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), fully vaccinated inbound travelers that stayed exclusively in jurisdictions or countries classified under the “green list” for 14 days immediately prior to arrival in the Philippines qualify for 7-day facility-based quarantine.
On the other hand, those coming from “yellow risk” jurisdictions, whether fully vaccinated or not, must undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine and 4-day home quarantine.
Puyat also reiterated that the strict implementation of the minimum health and safety protocols, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing measures, must remain in place.
Hospitality industry news source: Travel Daily News
Thailand to Impose New Tourist Tax Next Year
October 4, 2021
Thailand’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration has approved a plan to implement a 500-baht (less than US$15) tourist tax for a “tourism transformation fund”. According to the Bangkok Post, the nation’s Tourism and Sports Ministry would begin collecting the new visitor fee next year and its budget would be based on a co-payment model.
The National Tourism Policy Committee had already sanctioned the creation of this fund earlier in the year, at that time proposing a 300-baht fee per person (afterward raised to 500 baht), the proceeds of which would subsidize projects aimed at transforming the tourism industry.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said that the additional 200 baht would be channeled into projects initiated by the private sector or community, to transform their operations to align with the fund’s strategic focus on high-value and sustainable tourism. The government predicts the fund could generate 5 billion baht during 2022, assuming that the nation sees around 10 million foreign arrivals.
The extra capital is also intended to help the country restructure its industry from mass tourism to a high-value economic model and environmentally concerned type of tourism. It’s also meant to help bankroll budget insurance offerings for foreign visitors and other development initiatives run by the government, rather than the private sector.
He said the fund isn’t intended to remediate financial losses suffered due to the pandemic, but rather to support long-term, local economic growth.
Hospitality industry news source: Travel Pulse
Japan Starts to Reopen for Travelers
October 3, 2021
Great news for travel bugs! Japan is starting to slowly reopen the country for visitors.
Foreign travelers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must show proof of getting the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines as they are currently the only ones accepted in Japan, according to CNN.
The country does not accept China’s Sinopharm or the single dose Johnson & Johnson shot made in the United States’ Johnson & Johnson.
Visitors have to:
- Undergo quarantine for 10 days.
- When the 10 days have elapsed, travelers must take a PCR test. If that test comes back negative, the person is then able to move freely about the country.
Argentina also announced it will reopen to international tourism on November 1. All foreign visitors will be welcomed to make a quarantine-free visit, as long as they have received the approved vaccines at least two weeks beforehand and also present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival in the country.
Visitors from neighboring countries were allowed to enter Argentina on October 1.
Hospitality industry news source: Travel Pulse
Bali Selects Four Countries for Planned International Travel Reopening in October
September 30, 2021
Bali’s intended reopening to international travelers has fallen through a few times this year, due to COVID-19 outbreaks, but officials now say they expect to realize a limited reopening before the end of October.
Bali’s Deputy Governor, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) confirmed to The Bali Sun that the Indonesian central government plans on reopening the island by October to a select set of foreign visitors by establishing ‘travel corridor’ arrangements with a handful of countries.
To pave the way, Bali’s provincial government has already selected the first four nations from which it will welcome tourists: the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Russia.
While plans haven’t yet been solidified, Bali’s provincial government has prepared three separate schemes that could be implemented when receiving international visitors:
- Permitting tourist access to the entire island, if the potential for COVID-19 transmission is well-controlled.
- Permitting tourists to access designated ‘green zone areas’ only, in the event that COVID-19 cases begin to surge.
- Limiting tourists’ freedom of movement within the green zone areas, should COVID-19 infections continue to surge.
A representative from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism also told CNBC that, “Australia most likely will be put into consideration once it already achieved 80 percent vaccination rate.” The spokesperson also confirmed that, as of September 17, Bali was on track to reopen in October.
Hospitality industry news source: Travel Pulse
Agoda survey reveals Vietnam’s future travel trends
September 22, 2021
According to Agoda’s Welcome Back to Travel survey, Vietnamese are optimistic for tourism to take off again. 60% of Vietnamese anticipate restriction-free domestic travel within six months, while only 38% of respondents anticipate all international destinations to be restriction-free within six months.
- Females marginally more inclined to anticipate restriction-free domestic travel (63% vs 56% male)
- 35-44-year-olds are least optimistic for restriction-free travel (52%)
- For Asia travel – 40% expect to travel without restrictions within six months, with 45-54 more likely to expect this (52%) versus 38% of 25-34-year-olds
- International travel with restrictions is expected by 62% with those 55+ least likely to expect travel restrictions will still be in place in six months
- Almost half of the respondents don’t expect inbound travel to return for at least 12 months or until 80% of Vietnamese are vaccinated.
- 63% of respondents expect travel providers to adhere to strict Covid protocols during their future trips.
- 57% state they will expect travelers – including themselves – to have had at least one vaccine dose before they confidently hit the hotels, board the bus, or soar the skies once again.
- 30% say they would prefer contactless interaction with their travel providers, and a quarter has indicated that they plan on staying closer to home with future travel, perhaps a preference for staycations or drive-able destinations.
Hospitality news source: Travel Daily News
Indonesia may reopen to tourists from some countries in October – minister
September 20, 2021
Bali is closed for tourism but may reopen in October. Eligible visitors must submit a negative COVID-19 test result, take an additional one on arrival. They also need to quarantine for 14 days at a government-designated hotel or until they can produce a negative test.
But come October, Indonesia may allow foreign tourists to start returning to the famous island of Bali and other parts of the country after a sharp slide in COVID-19 cases, senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan said.
The Southeast Asian nation intends to move cautiously to reopen its borders following a devastating second virus wave, driven by the Delta variant.
Luhut, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, said the addition of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had dropped by 94.5% since a peak in mid-July. Other positive signs included the national hospital bed occupancy rate falling below 15%, while the positivity rate, or the proportion of people tested who are positive, was at less than 5%, he said.
Luhut said if the trend today continued “we are very confident” that Bali could be reopened by October.
South Korea, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand, are among countries the government is considering accepting foreign nationals from first, given the low virus spread in those nations, he said.
Malaysia this week reopened its Langkawi island to domestic visitors, while Thailand has opened Phuket and Samui islands to vaccinated foreign tourists and Vietnam’s idyllic Phu Quoc island plans to follow suit.
Hospitality news source: Reuters
PH Implements Travel Ban on 4 Countries
September 18, 2021
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) of the Philippines started implementing the temporary travel ban of passengers coming from four countries as part of the program of minimizing the spread of coronavirus disease, particularly the delta variant.
These countries are:
- Papua New Guinea
The travel ban also covered travelers who have been in the said countries within the last 14 days prior to their arrival to the Philippines.
The travel restrictions will be until Sept. 30
Meanwhile, the BI released the updated list of countries wherein passengers may be allowed entry subject to the usual quarantine protocols.
Green list countries
|American Samoa||Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China)||Sierra Leone||North Korea|
|Burkina Faso||Hungary, Madagascar||Sint Eustatius||Saint Helena|
|Cayman Islands||Federated States of Micronesia||Algeria||Solomon Islands|
|China||New Caledonia||Cook Islands||Syria|
|Republic of the Congo||Niger||Kiribati||Tanzania|
|Djibouti||Northern Mariana Islands||Marshall Islands||Tokelau|
|Equatorial Guinea||Palau, Poland||Nauru||Tonga|
|Falkland Islands (Malvinas)||Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)||Nicaragua||Turkmenistan|
|Gabon||Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Niue||
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that countries not mentioned in the new list are considered “moderate risk” and may also be allowed entry.
Hospitality news source: Manila Bulletin
Thailand Plans to Reopen Key Tourism Destinations in October
September 10, 2021
Thailand plans to reopen Bangkok and other key destinations to foreign tourists next month, officials said, aiming to revive its battered travel industry after indications the number of new coronavirus infections may have peaked.
Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai will be added to a program in which fully vaccinated visitors who commit to a series of tests can enter, under certain criteria, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchan.
Bangkok’s reopening would be partial, however, starting with areas popular with visitors, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.
Yuthasak is targeting 1 million visitors to Thailand this year. That compares to nearly 40 million in 2019.
Hospitality news source: Reuters; Travel Pulse
Local Tourism Businesses Receive DOT, TPB PHILCare Kits
September 9, 2021
The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines continue to provide travel essential kits (PHILCare Kits) to help ensure the safety of tourism workers and local travelers nationwide.
The TPB procured 12,500 PHILCare Kits composed of various Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including a washable face mask made out of Abra, Binakul, Inabel, Hinablon, or Yakan fabric that supports local and indigenous communities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic.
To date, more than 9,000 sets of tourist PHILCare kits were distributed to regional tourism offices and domestic tourism businesses to uphold the health, hygiene, and safety of its frontliners and visitors as local tourist destinations reopen. The TPB continues to release the remaining 25% of its available tourism promotional materials and stocks.
Moreover, TPB continues to help tourism stakeholders improve their operations through weekly webinars anchored on best practices and strategies to thrive in the competitive digital market and strengthened collaborations.
Early in 2020, the DOT and TPB distributed tourist care kits composed of sanitation and hygiene supplies to tourism frontliners and distressed passengers who were stranded when the national government enacted quarantine measures to various parts of the Philippines.
Hospitality news source: Department of Tourism
Indonesia eases COVID curbs across Java, with tourism set to reopen
September 6, 2021
Tourist destinations in Java will reopen gradually and diners can stay for an hour in a restaurant under the latest easing of COVID-19 mobility restrictions across the densely populated Indonesian island.
The government said only small parts of Java remain under the strictest PPKM Level 4 emergency curbs, reflecting continued declines in coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks after a surge driven by the delta variant.
But the island of Bali, a magnet for international tourists, is likely to remain at Level 4 for another week, a government official said.
Yogyakarta Province, a major tourist destination in the heart of Java, is joining Jakarta and other major metropolitan areas on the island in having relaxed curbs.
“But [President Joko Widodo] has underlined that the pandemic has not ended. The virus isn’t likely to disappear completely. We can only try to control its spread,” Airlangga Hartarto, Indonesia’s chief economic minister, told a virtual press briefing Monday evening. “So please remain alert despite the declines in cases. They’re not evenly distributed, and the situation is still dynamic.”
Dining in at restaurants previously was allowed for a maximum of 30 minutes, though enforcement has been lax outside greater Jakarta. Restaurants will continue to operate at half capacity.
The latest easing follows the partial reopening of schools that began last week, as well as longer operating hours for malls and traditional markets where visitors are screened using a smartphone app showing their vaccination status.
Indonesia’s confirmed new infections averaged 7,700 daily during the past seven days, down roughly half from the previous week and far below the country’s record of over 50,000 daily cases in mid-July. The death toll also has fallen to fewer than 600 per day in the past week.
On Monday, Southeast Asia’s largest economy reported 4,413 new cases and 612 new deaths, bringing its total to over 4.1 million infections with 136,473 fatalities.
But concerns remain for regions outside Java, including the resort island of Bali, where hospital occupancy rates for COVID-19 patients are still high, the government said.
“We estimate that Bali needs another week to see [its curbs] down to Level 4,” said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the chief coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment.
Indonesia on Monday welcomed the arrival of 5 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine, bringing the total doses of coronavirus vaccines the country has received to 225.4 million. The majority of the doses are from Sinovac, with smaller portions from AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
As of Monday, 59% of Jakarta’s nearly 11 million residents have been fully vaccinated, but the national average is lower at 14%.
Hartarto said Widodo, known popularly as Jokowi, has instructed that inoculations be accelerated in the remote Papua Province, which hosts Indonesia’s National Games next month, as well as other provinces where vaccination is especially low — including Aceh, West Sumatra, South Kalimantan, and Southeast Sulawesi.
Hospitality news source: Nikkei Asia
Yanolja to leverage Softbank fund to expand eZee Tech business in India
September 5, 2021
The latest funding of Softbank Group for Yanolja will be used in aiding eZee in setting up their research and development department as per need and creating a suitable environment to expand the business of its Indian subsidiary eZee Technosys, a company official said.
Yanolja raised USD 1.7 billion from SoftBank Vision Fund in July.
“Yanolja, our parent company, in July closed USD 1.7 billion with Softbank vision fund. This is going to help eZee to grow its B2B business across the region. Our target is to grow the business 100% year-on-year basis. Yanolja will support us in growth and invest to meet the target,” eZee Technosys CEO Aeijaz Sodawal told PTI.
The company provides end-to-end software for hotel and restaurant business management.
eZee Technosys claims to have around 22,000 customers across 160 countries and now plans to strengthen business in select markets with support from Yanolja.
“We are the market leader in India and now we plan to grow our business exponentially here. We have customers spread across 160 countries but we are not the market leader everywhere. Now we will focus on a select market to become market leaders…like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives, Thailand, South Africa and East Africa are priority markets where we want to come in leadership positions,” Sodawal said.
The latest funding for Yanolja will be used in aiding eZee in setting up their research and development department as per need and creating a suitable environment for the same.
The fund will also be used by eZee for acquiring other companies domestically and globally to scale its operations further.
Sodawal said that eZee has around 250 people at present and will add another 200 employees over the period of the next 2 years.
“We will hire across all the departments but most of them will be in sales and marketing,” he said.
Without sharing the actual revenue numbers, eZee claims to have increased its client base by 25% and 61% in 2020 and 2021, respectively despite the pandemic.
“Since April 2020 right in Pandemic from where hospitality business has been the worst-hit we are able to achieve 179% year-on-year revenue growth in March 2021,” Sodawal said.
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Hospitality news source: Financial Express
PH works with ASEAN to set ‘single destination’ Southeast Asia
August 31, 2021
The Philippines is closely working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in promoting the region as a “single destination” once the situation stabilizes and the new tourism normal begins, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Like other regions across the world, ASEAN’s tourism was hit hard by the pandemic and has witnessed a sharp decline in both international tourist arrivals and receipts when the outbreak began in 2020.
For Satvinder Singh, deputy secretary-general for the ASEAN Economic Community, this crisis has profoundly changed the landscape of the tourism industry– “a change that is here to stay”.
He said one of the long-term strategies towards recovery is collectively building Southeast Asia as a single tourism destination.
Singh said Southeast Asian nations must work in a coordinated manner to safely reopen the industry. Starting from this year to 2025, ASEAN tourism leaders must maximize digital technology to reinvent tourism services and bring new experiences that bank on safety amid the pandemic.
He also underscored the need to develop “common regional health protocols” to promote safe destinations as well as to foster sustainability in line with Asean’s shifts towards a “resilient, competitive, resource-efficient, and inclusive” carbon-neutral tourism sector.
Among others, he said, member states must also ensure that the tourism labor force remains competitive and resilient to future crises by strengthening training and financing support programs for them.
Romulo-Puyat said the Philippines is currently exerting its best to respond to the sector’s needs and to allow for the safe reopening of tourist destinations.
While the spike in cases has forced the temporary closure of destinations to travelers, she said the Department of Tourism will continue to steer the sector towards recovery through its Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP) that is aligned with the updated ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025 and the Asea Post-Pandemic Tourism Recovery Plan.
“Major milestones of the Department include making our tourism workforce a top priority for the Covid-19 vaccination program of the government, and the recognition of the Philippines as part of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Stamp campaign,” she said.
Aside from the Philippines, ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Hospitality news source: Philippine News Agency
Domestic travel recovery seen to start by early 2022
August 30, 2021
Domestic tourism will likely start to recover as early as 2022 but the rebound of foreign travel will have to wait until 2024, a global think tank said.
In a report, UK-based Oxford Economics said domestic travel will be the saving grace of tourism in the Philippines and in the major destinations in the Asia Pacific region.
Last year, the tourism industry was among the hardest-hit sectors globally as the pandemic curtailed travels and leisure trips to contain the spread of the virus and prevent the emergence of new variants.
By 2021, both local and international travel remained limited as many countries, including the Philippines, reimposed lockdown measures due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and a slower vaccine rollout.
However, Oxford’s Asia Pacific lead economist Michael Shoory said domestic visitors are projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels next year.
“The domestic market will drive the recovery in aggregate tourism, such that total visitors return to or exceed 2019 volumes next year,” he said.
“By contrast, inbound travel is projected to remain heavily affected for many destinations and will not recover until 2024 for the region and as late as 2025 for some individual destinations,” Shoory said.
For the Philippines, Oxford estimates that domestic travelers will account for almost 80 percent of tourists by next year. This is higher than the pre-pandemic level of over 60 percent.
Tourism in the Philippines remains heavily dependent on the domestic market. In terms of expenditures, domestic tourism accounted for 84 percent of the total P3.74 trillion receipts in 2019.
On the flip side, Shoory said the support from domestic tourism during the expected weakness in international travel is limited by the typically shorter average length of stay and lower average spending of domestic guests.
Further, the outlook for international travel in Asia Pacific is weaker than that for other regions in the coming years as many governments will likely remain more cautious about opening up their borders.
Relative to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, tourism in 2020 dipped 46 percent and will continue to decline, albeit at a much softer pace of 26 percent this year.
By 2022, growth will be recorded at eight percent and will further increase to 29 and 39 percent by 2023 and 2024, respectively. It should be noted that all these will be driven by the domestic market.
“We assume that 90 percent of the pre-pandemic domestic market returns by 2022 and around half of the decline in outbound trips from 2019 to 2022 are converted to domestic travel,” Shoory said.
Hospitality news source: Philippine Star
DOT, TPB Distribute P19M Worth of Materials to Promote Safety Protocols
August 30, 2021
The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) produced and distributed 15,000 sets of materials to promote safe travel domestically in response to the heightened concern for safety and health among domestic tourists.
A total of 8,800 DOT-accredited accommodation establishments and tourism enterprises were provided the health and safety protocol stickers and posters to prepare them for re-accreditation in line with the DOT-led “Safe Trip, Pinas” domestic tourism campaign.
The initiative is part of the DOT-TPB efforts to support tourism stakeholders hard-hit by the pandemic in their ability to comply with new safety protocols and standards to ensure confidence among local tourists as destinations gradually reopened in September 2020.
TPB noted that while the distribution of these materials was adversely affected by border closures and mobility restrictions within the country last year, all of these materials have been distributed to date.
Hospitality industry article source: Department of Tourism
DOT: 95% of tourism workers in NCR, vaccinated vs Covid-19
August 23, 2021
As of August 20, 2021, the vaccination status of tourism workers—both under the A1 and A4 priority health group—in the National Capital Region (NCR) has reached 95%.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat reported that a total of 27,708 tourism front liners out of 29,066 have been inoculated against COVID-19 as of August 20, 2021.
The bulk of these workers came from the A1 priority group while those from the A4 sector comprised the remaining workers. Both groups are employed in quarantine or isolation facilities, multiple-use hotels, and staycation hotels that are accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“This near-100% inoculation took a whole-of-government approach and could not have been accomplished without our national and local government leaders, as well as our partners from the private sector who supported the program in the spirit of Bayanihan,” Puyat said.
Meanwhile, about 61% of workers of DOT-Accredited restaurants in 13 cities in the NCR have received their Covid-19 vaccines.
The DOT said that there are remaining challenges in inoculating 100 percent of tourism front liners, including employees’ refusal to be vaccinated and vaccine brand preference.
Other reasons include the work-from-home setup of some tourism workers, pregnancy, and comorbidities (e.g. allergies to medicine, hypertension).
Hospitality industry article source: Department of Tourism
Sustainability is key to tourism industry’s recovery — Puyat
August 19, 2021
While the pandemic has greatly affected the local tourism industry, it should not be an excuse for not pursuing sustainability, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.
Puyat added that sustainability is critical in establishing the tourism industry of the future, which should be more resilient and “pandemic-proof.”
“Sustainability has always been at the core of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) strategies, being part of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). The DOT is pushing for tourism businesses with lower resource consumption and carbon emission impact,” explained Puyat.
To achieve its goal to rebuild a more resilient tourism industry for the country, she cited the various initiatives of the DOT to promote sustainable industry practices, such as the ANAHAW Philippine Sustainable Tourism Certification that aims to improve the efficiency of tourism establishments and direct the Philippine tourism industry into a more sustainable future. The DOT also initiated the ANAHAW Awards in 2018, making it the local equivalent of the ASEAN Green Hotel Awards.
Puyat cited other initiatives such as:
- Sustainable Diner Program of the DOT in partnership with the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature Philippines which aims “to develop and harness sustainable consumption and production strategies by assisting the food service sector in transitioning into a low carbon industry.”
- Save Our Spots (SOS) campaign of the DOT, an intensive information project launched with the objective to inspire the public, businesses, and communities to have a long-term view of responsible tourism.
While continuing its sustainability efforts, Puyat shared that the DOT also found ways to adapt to the evolving preferences of travelers amid the health crisis.
Hotel news article source: Department of Tourism
[Herald Interview] Yanolja envisions self-check-in hotels with app-controlled rooms
August 17, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll in the tourism sector, but it has also forced the hotel industry to find ways to raise productivity, leading to a rise in demand for cloud-based hotel solution services.
Yanolja Cloud is an aggregation of Yanolja’s Cloud Solution Business Unit and affiliates—EZee Technosys, ZEN Rooms, SanhaInformation Technology and Trustay. The new corporation will offer an integrated hospitality solution package to digitize all the interactions between hotels and guests through artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data technologies and expand its platform base into residential space beyond the travel sector.
And while previous property management systems (PMS) in the industry tend to be “server-based” and “on-premise,” Yanolja’s cloud-based solution is everywhere.
“You can access it on your laptop or your phone without being limited, which is the biggest difference compared to previous services,” Lee Sang-jin, director of solution business at Yanolja Cloud, told The Korea Herald.
Guests will feel the difference too, he said, when the system is fully in place.
“If guests want an early check-in, you will have to manually type that, which is then sorted out by an online travel agency. You can only let the guests know the availability when they check-in.
“If the data can flow thanks to a cloud-based service, those details can be exchanged in advance and hotels can take a data-based approach to better serving customers based on the data they collect,” he said.
Yanolja also envisions digitalizing the check-in and check-out process so that the waiting time in the lobby could also be cut short drastically in the future.
“Check-in lines can be extremely long at resorts where most people, many of them families, tend to arrive at the same time. It makes cleaners busy all of a sudden, bookings pile up and guests will have to wait longer, resulting in a poor customer experience,” Lee said.
“Kiosks or issuing (digital) passes for guests to check-in will become technically feasible.”
Guests can also change the lighting or adjust temperatures through a mobile app, thanks to a smart hotel management system known as Y Flux.
Though parts of the system have been unveiled, including a kiosk and a guest room management system, the system as a whole is expected to be launched globally as soon as sometime later this year.
“It will be with the introduction of the accompanying PMS and channel managers that we will see the cloud-based hotel service become fully realized.
“We are currently running tests based on already complete projects with plans to commercialize these solutions sometime later this year or early next year, creating a synergy with preexisting hardware and software solutions and delivering a palpable change for business owners and hotel guests,” he said.
Hotel news article source: By Yim Hyun-su via Korea Herald