Asia Pacific Update: July 16
In today’s edition, growth and support for domestic tourism emerges as a vital step in the region’s economic recovery, a travel brand finds a way to engage 249 million people in the midst of lockdown, and experts from our change management consultancy United Minds and other firms examine how to navigate the difficult task of managing both on-site and remote working employees.
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Recovery Spotlight: Domestic Tourism
The path to recovery in the tourism sector is expected to start with a rebound in domestic travel.
Out of the woods?
The Malaysian government has encouraged the resumption of domestic tourism. Malaysian mall operator Sunway launched a campaign to boost domestic tourism and retail spending as the country reopened, with the operator already reporting a recovery of 60–70% in footfall.
In Japan, domestic travel restrictions were lifted on 19 June. Rail provider JR East has seen an uptick in passengers across stations in Tokyo. Hospitality tech company Agent Tripla, meanwhile, has reported that reservations for 300 domestic hotels have bounced back to 70% of pre-COVID-19 levels.
According to CAPA, domestic air travel capacity in New Zealand will recover to just under 80% of pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of the year. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said “domestic routes are up and doing well.”
However, towns and islands within three hours’ drive from the country’s biggest cities (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) are the most popular domestic tourism destinations, with the family car being the preferred mode of transportation.
Rise of staycations
Singapore has turned to ‘staycations’ to support the tourism industry, with the government setting aside S$90 million for the tourism sector and launching a task force to develop domestic and international recovery plans. The Singapore Tourism Board has announced that tour operators could submit applications to resume tour activities, in a bid to encourage Singaporeans to explore their own backyard.
Similarly, Hong Kong SAR’s economy has received a boost from staycations. Google trends data shows that searches in Hong Kong for the word “staycation” recently surged to a record high.
Government incentives for domestic travel
Following successful containment of COVID-19, Taiwan’s government has allocated $130 million in subsidies to incentivise domestic tourism. In June, hotel bookings in Taiwan rose by 104% from a year earlier. New travel routes by air and sea are being introduced to address growing domestic travel demand. Travel agencies and other stakeholders in the tourism sector are currently redesigning their itineraries to prioritise outdoor activities.
To combat the 8.1% contraction in Thailand’s economy, the government has launched three domestic tourism stimulus packages, amounting to US$718 million. The government will subsidise five million nights of hotel accommodation and fund holidays for healthcare workers, seeking to spur growth in the tourism sector that comprises 20% of the nation’s economy. The government’s initiatives have led to a growing number of metropolitan residents going on vacation to nearby areas for shorter durations.
More than 70% of South Koreans have shared that they are planning domestic holidays, according to the Korean Tourism Organisation. Busan, Korea’s second largest city, has become a popular destination due to its beaches and proximity to Gyeongju, an ancient Korean capital. Promotions introduced by government bodies, such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, are further incentivising trips to domestic locations. Woori Card, a financial firm, have introduced a scheme to encourage travel to Jeju Island.
In Japan, domestic tourism is expected to get a further boost with the national government’s proposal of “workations” – an initiative designed to reduce the number of office-based staff and encourage holiday-shy staff to take a break. Under the plan, staff will be encouraged to work remotely from holiday destinations.
Media analysis of stories covering the following countries: Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Period covered: 16 June to 16 July 2020
The Work of COVID-19: A taste of travel
Covid-19 stopped travel and hospitality. People couldn’t travel, flights didn’t operate, hotels were forced to close. How could a company like Hotels.com pivot around this to maintain a strong share of voice? When the industry opened again, it needed to be top of mind
The Weber Shandwick Asia Pacific hub team in Singapore recognised that travelers around the world needed an outlet to satiate their wanderlust. Recognising the region’s love for food during travel, they cooked up the #TasteOfTravel.
Weber Shandwick collaborated with leading travel and food influencers across the region to recreate dishes from their favourite travels to serve as inspiration for followers to start thinking about Hotels.com and travel post-Covid-19. Consumer giveaways were organised and country-specific campaign microsites were set up to encourage travelers to share their favourite food moments on social and inspire others to keep dreaming about travel.
Food is the universal language of travel. It’s tied to the culture, history and people. It’s what travelers are consistently most likely to share on social media. In total, the #TasteOfTravel campaign reached over 400,000 people via influencers and generated 249 million media impressions across Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
Deeper Insights: Managing On-Site & Remote Workers
“During uncertain times and periods of change within organizations, authentic and transparent communications play a critical role. A consistent cadence of communications is key to help manage employee anxieties and increase employee trust.”
President of United Minds, a Weber Shandwick consultancy, Kate Bullinger is one of many experts quoted in an article from SHRM investigating how best to effectively manage a combination of on-site and remote workers as recovery efforts unfold in different markets around the world.
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.