Asia Pacific Update: February 10
In today’s edition
In today’s edition, we explore the latest developments in Asia Pacific travel policies and, in deeper insights, examine a new report from Weber Shandwick exploring how to navigate the difficult realities of 2021 as a multinational business operation.
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RECOVERY SPOTLIGHT: TRAVEL
As lunar new year festivities approach, celebrations in Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, and the Philippines remain subdued due to movement restrictions preventing cross-country ravel. Vietnam has enforced restrictions in the north as COVID-19 cases begin to surge ahead of the national holiday. In Malaysia, reunion dinners can only take place if family members from different households live within 10km of each other.
The Indonesian Chinese community will be unable to travel during the festive period. Despite a low case count, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center has introduced crowd control restrictions at street markets and attractions. South Korea has imposed limits on the number of people traveling domestically by requiring train operators sell only window seats (i.e. half capacity).
Events up in the air, foiled plans
This year’s World Economic Forum in Singapore has been rescheduled to 17-20 August due to the travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic. The special annual meeting is focused on addressing the challenges of recovering from COVID-19. Singapore has also suspended business travel green lanes with Malaysia, South Korea and Germany until the end of April, and delayed plans for a business travel bubble zone.
Japan has suspended all business track arrangements with other countries until the country’s current state of emergency is lifted. Covering 10 prefectures in Japan, the state of emergency will only allow the entry of citizens and residents till 7 March. Uncertainty surrounding the 2021 Tokyo Olympics continues to grow.
Hit with Southeast Asia’s worst outbreak, Indonesia extended its border closures from 26 January to 8 February as cases in the archipelago continued to rise. These extended measures are designed to relieve the pressures on the country’s healthcare system and reduce transmission.
Hoping to attract retired Europeans to a “paradise COVID retreat” by offering tourist visas with validity for nine months, Thailand has been able to attract over 300 overseas visitors per month – but short of the government’s target of 1,200 per month. The Tourism Authority has put forward an alternative solution; ‘vaccine passports’ which enable visitors with vaccines to avoid quarantining upon arrival.
Hope on the horizon
The Philippines announced it will not extend the country’s travel ban, which expired on 31 January, and will ease travel rules for foreigners with visas from 16 February. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque commented that the existing protocols are sufficient to prevent the spread of the new strain while protecting the nation’s economy.
Australia has re-established its quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand following a six-day suspension after the South African strain of the virus was detected in Auckland. Deemed to be “sufficiently low risk” given the strong public health response, New Zealanders have been able to visit Australia since October last year but not vice versa.
Malaysia and Indonesia have received the green light to establish a reciprocal travel corridor. The Malaysian Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said that the implementation of the travel bubble will be subject to bilateral discussions on health, immigration, and case count monitoring. The travel bubble will help boost the tourism sectors of both countries.
Hong Kong SAR is considering the establishment of travel bubbles with Macau and Mainland China once confirmed daily cases drop to less than ten. While plans were first discussed in September, the development and rollout of a vaccine will play a significant role in facilitating a travel bubble. Taiwan is also assessing the viability of allowing foreigners to visit without serving a quarantine period, according to the Health Minister.
Media analysis of stories covering Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau SAR, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam from 11 January to 11 February 2021.
This briefing was prepared by the Weber Shandwick Insight and Intelligence team in Singapore. If you feel a specialised briefing and analysis bulletin could benefit your team, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEEPER INSIGHTS: GLOBAL BUSINESS AT THE GEOPOLITICAL FRONTLINES
“With their finger on the pulse of political, social and cultural issues, communications leaders are best-placed to guide their organizations to understand, anticipate, plan and protect against these issues, as well as the heightened reputation risk – and opportunity – that comes with doing business in the era of 21st century Great Power Competition.”
Weber Shandwick’s new Global Business at the Geopolitical Frontlines report outlines three of the most prominent geopolitical risks to business reputation in 2021 – supply chain geopolitics, technology competition and disinformation – and how best to navigate and leverage the opportunities in each challenging dimension of multinational operations.
About COVID-19 Recovery Report:
- The content of this news bulletin is a summary of publicly available news articles on events and developments related to COVID-19.
- The views and opinions reflected by these headlines do not necessarily represent those of Weber Shandwick.