The travel and tourism industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with global international arrivals in 2022 set to remain 30% below 2019 levels according to Expedia’s Traveler Value Index. However, on the positive side, Expedia’s Traveler Value Index research data revealed that 81% of travellers are planning a leisure trip in the next six months, and one in five plan on taking three or more trips. Additionally, the findings from its Q4 2021 Travel Recovery Trends Report showed resilience in global travellers who continued to travel, particularly over the holiday period, despite the challenges posed by the Omicron variant.
Banking on the trend, several airline companies have already begun their marketing and promotional offers. Singapore Airlines (SIA) for example launched Flight Pass in collaboration with innovative travel provider Optiontown, which allows travellers to pre-purchase multiple flight tickets at a discount that can be used against future bookings. SIA told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE then that the new offering, launched in November last year, came on the back of increased travel demand; following the resumption of international travel and Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangements.
The Malaysian Aviation Group (MAG) also recently partnered with BNPL platform, hoolah, to provide a seamless and convenient payment option for travellers. Through this collaboration, travellers in Malaysia and Singapore are able to book their getaway online with Malaysia Airlines and pay via a flexible three-month, interest-free payment option. MAG group chief executive Captain Izham Ismail said then that the group is anticipating a pent-up demand for travel from both inbound and outbound travellers. “We are looking to achieve approximately 70% of our pre-pandemic capacity by the end of 2022. MAG will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities to reinstate flights that have been temporarily suspended, while also increasing frequency to key markets in efforts to facilitate connectivity,” he added.
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As countries in the region begin to open up their borders, government bodies and businesses in the tourism sector have begun to ramp up their efforts to boost their sales and their market’s tourism. We’ve created a break down of how markets in Southeast Asia are gearing up for the gradually rising influx of travellers:
Singapore recently extended its VTLs to Penang, Bali, and all Indian cities, as well as new VTLs with Vietnam and Greece. This is in addition to existing countries such as Australia, South Korea and the US. Travellers from VTL and low-risk areas are also now able to take an unsupervised antigen rapid test (ART) within 24 hours of their arrival into Singapore, as opposed to previously having to take a supervised ART.
In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Health said in a statement that it plans to introduce a new vaccinated travel concept. Finance Minister Lawrence Wong elaborated on this concept at the press conference of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force on 11 March. He said that Singapore would eventually like to introduce a concept of a vaccinated traveller, rather than have different VTLs for different countries. The new concept would simplify and free up international travel, allowing people to travel as long as they are vaccinated, regardless of where they come from, and if the appropriate tests are done, Wong added.
Among its efforts to attract travellers to Singapore, the country has been involved in efforts to target foreign professionals. For instance, RWS said in a statement last month that it will refashion Festive Hotel into a bleisure (business-leisure) and workation (work-vacation) hotel with a variety of mobile working spaces and lifestyle offerings that will meet new work trends. This comes as part of RWS’ efforts to strengthen its position as a premier business destination, alongside a facility refurbishment and upgrade for the Resorts World Convention Centre.
RWS’ spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that with Singapore being home to the regional headquarters for many multinational companies, there are signs that business travel is resuming. “The new Festive Hotel will form part of our holistic destination which combines MICE and leisure experiences and it will feature a trendy, creative atmosphere…and lifestyle offerings that appeal to business travellers as well as business travellers who bring their partner or family,” the spokesperson added.
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Marketing initiatives: John Gregory Conceicao, executive director, STB said that as borders gradually re-open, it is important for the industry to collaborate and drive its travel sector forward. “Here in Singapore, we are reimagining the visitor experience to make each trip a meaningful exploration of our island. Through this partnership, and with the insights and knowledge that each partner brings to the table, we can reach a wider audience and invite them to rediscover Singapore and our vibrant neighbourhoods, variety of delicious food and unique attractions,” he added.
For example, STB and airasia are now collaborating to promote Singapore through marketing campaigns and content partnerships. Additionally, travellers can also access a wide range of travel deals to Singapore on the airasia Super App, as well as book tourism experiences in Singapore, such as flight and hotel packages, meals and other experiences. These have been added to the Super App platform as part of the partnership. Both parties will also work together to pilot digital solutions to enhance the visitor experience in Singapore, as well as exchange knowledge and insights that will deepen their understanding of travellers from Southeast Asia markets – for example, traveller spending patterns.
At the same time, STB embarked on a partnership with digital travel platform Agoda on 3 March to target inbound visitors from Southeast Asia into Singapore. The partnership will utilise Agoda’s technology and travel expertise, data insights and integrated marketing capabilities to showcase Singapore as a destination, driving more affinity for travel experiences to Singapore.
STB did not share details regarding its marketing plans for the year.
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Tourism Malaysia said in a statement last week that it would full reopening of its borders for the first time, from 1 April. However, ASEAN Tourism Research Association president Professor Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan said that international travel will pick up slowly as most travellers are still cautious. According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in Malaysia is targeting two million tourists arrivals in the country this year, leading to a revenue of over RM6.8 billion. To that end, the ministry has formulated various strategies, which include focusing on MICE events as a means to bring in tourists.
Marketing initiatives: Tourism Malaysia partnered with brands in several campaigns in a bid for its tourism industry to bounce back. In January, Tourism Malaysia collaborated with GoPro to celebrate the beauty of local lifestyle and travel through the production of ‘Dream Malaysia’ videos. Aimed at bringing Malaysia’s hidden wonders to life, ‘Dream Malaysia’ started off as a campaign that wished to invite Malaysians to dream of their domestic travel pursuits into uncharted territories, new places that are never seen before or heard of, and to start creating new memories in the form of uniquely captivating and memorable content – with GoPro’s cameras.
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture also collaborated with oil company Petron Malaysia to launch Jom Jalan Jalan, a campaign aimed to promote domestic tourism. Launched in October last year, the campaign is a five-month-long promotion that offers prizes such as holiday packages and cash rewards to explore the tourist spots in the country. Local resorts and tourism partners also participated in the campaign, including Tiarasa Escapes Glamping Resort, Sunway Lost World of Tambun, Orchard Wellness Melaka, Glamz Genting, Sepilok Forest Edge, Culvert Santubong as well as VIP Pass Holidays Malaysia and Trevo. Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture minister Nancy Shukri said then that the prizes, inclusive of holiday packages with fuel sponsorship and spending allowance, will contribute significantly to the country’s economic recovery through the economic activities of the communities involved.
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From 22 March 2022, Indonesia will lift all quarantine requirements for overseas visitors entering the country, two years after it imposed border restrictions due to COVID-19. Foreign tourists will still be required to have a negative PCR test before entering the country. Indonesia is hopeful that the ease of travel restrictions will boost the number of foreign tourist this year to over three million. The move by the Indonesian government comes following a two-week trial of quarantine-free travel in Bali, Batam and Bintan.
Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said at the Southeast Asia Development Symposium that Indonesia is shifting from quantity to quality tourism with a focus on long-term visitors like remote workers, who spend more on local business and protect the environment. For instance, the country offers ways for tourists to offset the carbon pollution of their flights, such as mangrove planting while on holiday, he added. Uno also said that Indonesia has 3,000 villages in a community-based tourism project that encourages visitors to support local business and products.
Indonesia has also been actively pushing for tourism in Bali. According to the Central Statistics Bureau of Bali, only 45 international tourists visited Bali in 2021 despite the island’s reopening on 14 October 2021.
Last year, The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment initiated the “Work From Bali” programme for civil servants, aimed at helping to revive Bali’s economy. Under this program, the government would send 25% of state civil servants from selected ministries to stay in 16 participating hitels in the Nusa Dua area. Head of the communication bureau of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Vinsensius Jemadu, said then that this policy would encourage economic recovery after the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marketing initiatives: Last year, Indonesia’s tourism ministry encouraged domestic travellers to explore the country with its new film #DiIndonesiaAja (#seeyouinindonesia), which was shot across four locations – Bali, Banyuwangi, Yogyakarta and Bintan. Done in collaboration with M&C Saatchi Indonesia and renowned Indonesian film director Sim F, the video captures the beauty of Indonesia – from its wildlife and biodiversity, to cultural heritage, its scenic beauty, its myriad of cuisines, craft and handiwork, hidden gems, adventures and oral history.
The Wonderful Indonesia campaign is the first one to be launched by the Ministry of Tourism that is looking to open up the country and welcome travellers, by initially promoting domestic tourism. It also captures Indonesia’s three core experiences – culture, culinary and fashion. Anish Daryani, CEO of M&C Saatchi Indonesia, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the team came up with the creative concept based on the insight that individuals were missing their favourite destinations in Indonesia and likewise, the places in Indonesia were also missing their presence. “This translated to how everything one admires about Indonesia is waiting to be rediscovered,” Daryani said.
Martini Paham, director, Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif, also said the campaign aims at creating nostalgic yearning to visit the wonders of Indonesia, in line with its direction to promote domestic tourism #DiIndonesiaAja. “This campaign will make the #wonderfulindonesia brand stronger in the minds of people, and they might consider Indonesia over other countries as their go-to destination once we return to normalcy,” Paham added.
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Thailand has opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers on 1 March. The country also plans to scrap its mandatory pre-arrival COVID-free certificate for vaccinated tourists, to support an economic recovery facing headwinds from the pandemic and the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported. Additionally, Thailand’s main COVID-19 task force will consider a Health Ministry proposal to waive the PCR test requirement before travelling to Thailand.
Furthermore, as part of its efforts to attract foreigners to the country, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently signed a Letter of Intent with Sendai City and the Tohoku Regional Tourism Organisation in Japan to continue their tourism promotion cooperation. Under the agreement, TAT, Sendai City, and the Tohoku Regional Tourism Organisation will jointly organise marketing promotion activities to stimulate two-way tourism between Japan and Thailand, with a particular emphasis on increasing the number of quality tourists to each destination. This has included the organisation of a Thai festival in Sendai City and the promotion of Thailand’s tourism offerings to travel agents in the city.
Marketing initiatives: TAT is spearheading a large-scale marketing campaign using 26 global and regional influencers, in a bid to promote the country’s reopening and attract more foreign tourists. Titled “Amazing New Chapters: From A-to-Z Thailand has it all”, the campaign will focus on influencers with lots of followers to represent many tourism products the country wants to promote during its critical recovery period this year, The Bangkok Post reported. The campaign will be launched this month at ITB Berlin, a virtual international travel trade show.
TAT’s Phuket office also launched the third edition of its ‘Phuket Great Time’ initiative, where Thai and foreign tourists both coming from overseas and residing in Thailand can get special deals on Phuket’s tourism products and services until 30 September 2022.
The initiative comes as part of the TAT Phuket Office’s latest tourism strategy, which is centred on offering memorable experiences to tourists under a “4Ps” concept: Phuket Even More Amazing, Phuket Active Sport, Phuket Luxperience and Phuket Collaboration. Through the campaign’s microsite, tourists can purchase e-vouchers with special prices in the categories of Hotels and Accommodation, Travel Agency, Restaurants, Transportation, Gifts and Souvenirs, and Sport and Activities.
The Phuket Great Time initiative is aimed at promoting Phuket as a favourite holiday destination where many different tourism experiences can be enjoyed, including community tourism, sports, gastronomy, culture, and more in a sustainable way.
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Last month, more than 20,000 tourists visited The Philippines, the Tourism Ministry reported on 21 February. This was 11 days after the country relaxed its rules allowing fully vaccinated tourists to enter the country without quarintine, and most tourists came from the United States, Canada, Britain and South Korea. There were also tourists from Australia, Vietnam and Japan. Meanwhile, the country will also be removing the cap on the number of foreign tourists from 1 April, via all ports of entry in the country. The resumption of visa issuances by Philippine embassies and consulates will also commence that day to coincide with total removal of arrival quotas. Additionally, entry requirements to the country have eased – inbound travellers are now only required to submit a negative ART test within 24 hours from departure, as opposed to before, where travellers were required to produce a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of their flight.
According to a study by DPI Research, “The Philippines: An Amazing Destination for the International and MICE Tourism Market”, the Philippines is expected to attract over 15 million international travellers and generate about US$ 22.5 billion in revenue by 2026. The report also revealed that the Philippines plans to invest in MICE and events as an avenue to boost tourism. For instance, the Philippines will be hosting the World Travel and Tourism Council global tourism summit in April.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said that the hosting of the summit will benefit the country as this allows itself to showcase what the Philippines can offer to the world. “More than the recognitions we received over the past years, our goal is to restore jobs and revenue streams for our tourism workers and stakeholders,” she added.
A 2020 PwC report of tourism in the Philippines found that 88% of the respondents expect losses of over 50% of their 2020 revenues. Such findings are worrying because the tourism industry contributed 12.7% of the country’s GDP in 2019, and provided 5.71 million jobs in the same year. The country had a stellar performance in 2019 with 8.3 million tourist arrivals and PHP550.2bn in international tourism receipts.
Marketing initiatives: To entice travellers to the country, the Philippines’ Department of Tourism launched “Sounds More Fun in the Philippines”, a compilation of 10 playlists on Spotify. The playlists feature selected Filipino music that aims to welcome listeners back to the Philippine destinations they love and let them relive those epic travel memories. Furthermore, the songs and artists featured in the playlists are Filipinos, as well as international artists and bands with Filipino roots. “These tunes will allow listeners to evoke the getaways, secret spots, and homes away from home that every traveller can find somewhere across the 7,641 islands of the Philippines,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
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Vietnam’s tourism sector relies heavily on international travel, which plunged last year. International flights dropped 80% in October 2020 from the same time period a year earlier and hotels only filled 30% of their rooms.In 2019, tourism accounted for 12% of the country’s GDP, and international travelers made up only 17% of overall tourists in Vietnam but accounted for over half of all tourism spending, according to a report by McKinsey. The tourism sector created 660,000 jobs between 2014 and 2019. At the same time, the average international traveller spent US$673 per traveler, compared with US$61 spent on average by domestic travellers.
Marketing initiatives: Last year, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) launched the “Live fully in Vietnam” campaign to welcome international tourists back to five destinations in the country. These include the northern Quang Ninh province, the three central localities of Quang Nam province, Da Nang city, and Khanh Hoa province’s Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang. The campaign launched complete with its own microsite on
Photo courtesy: 123RF
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published 2022-03-22 11:28:35