hospitality industry news in asia

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:

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

traveler in indonesia. hospitality news in asia

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:

  1. Grenada
  2. Papua New Guinea
  3. Serbia
  4. Slovenia

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 SamoaHong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China)Sierra LeoneNorth Korea
Burkina FasoHungary, MadagascarSint EustatiusSaint Helena
CameroonMaliTaiwanSamoa
Cayman IslandsFederated States of MicronesiaAlgeriaSolomon Islands
ChadMontserratBhutanSudan
ChinaNew CaledoniaCook IslandsSyria
ComorosNew ZealandEritreaTajikstan
Republic of the CongoNigerKiribatiTanzania
DjiboutiNorthern Mariana IslandsMarshall IslandsTokelau
Equatorial GuineaPalau, PolandNauruTonga
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)NicaraguaTurkmenistan
GabonSaint Pierre and MiquelonNiue
VanuatuYemenTuvalu

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

hospitality and tourism news in asia

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

java indonesia tourist spot hotel industry news in asia
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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

boracay beach hotel industry news in asia

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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

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