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Asia Update (July)

· Travel News

Wrapping the week, with a Asia travel summary. Accurate as of the beginning of July.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to ripple across the globe, most of Asia has been affected to a lesser degree compared to Europe, the US and Latin America. We hope it will remain that way. Infection and mortality rates are below those of western countries, especially for SE Asian destinations. Having successfully flattened their curves, many countries have either reopened their economies or are poised to do so.

In spite of this and as opposed to Europe where flights resumed and tourism as well (to a degree), regional flights remain on the ground in most of Asia.


THAILAND: July 1 Thailand began Phase 5 of their reopening which sees the biggest leap yet towards normality including a resumption of schools across the country, opening of national parks and public venues with restrictions in place and much more. Hotels have also begun to open their doors for domestic tourism which is expected to surge in the coming weeks.

MALAYSIA: July 1, as part of Malaysia’s Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) which will remain in place until 31 August, Malaysia will be relaxing restrictions on MICE venues, spas and wellness centres and swimming pools and cinemas and more. Furthermore, there has been a surge in domestic tourism in Malaysia as freedom of movement is reinstated. Strict precautionary and sanitation measures remain in place.

MYANMAR: 29 June 20. Myanmar has extended its measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 until 15 July 2020. This includes a temporary suspension of international flights, a ban on issuing all visas and visa-exemption services, as well as a three-week quarantine for Myanmar nationals returning home by relief flights. A temporary ban on foreigners’ entry will be extended to July 31.

INDONESIA: 23 June 20. Bali is planning to re-open its beaches and tourist sites on the 9th of July for people currently in Bali and an opening for domestic tourism in August, ideally followed by international tourism in September, if all goes according to current plans.

CAMBODIA: On 16 June 2020, Civil Aviation in Cambodia issued new rules for arriving travelers into Cambodia. Among these, proof of insurance for the amount of $50,000, as well as a $3,000 deposit on arrival for potential fees during the stay, stand out. The fees cover items from COVIDtests (100 USD per time) in case the traveler has a fever or anyone on the same plane has a fever to a quarantine, medical treatment, and even funeral. However, entry to the Kingdom is currently NOT possible except for diplomats and for some business travelers. We believe that by the time the country reopens its doors for leisure tourists, these rules will have been amended to be more welcoming while still covering the very important safety and health aspects.

Meanwhile, businesses across Cambodia have been operating mostly as usual but with safety precautions in place since mid-April. Domestic travel in including flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh have resumed. An opening towards Vietnam and Laos is being mulled.

JAPAN: Japan’s nationwide curfew has been lifted and, as of 19 June, all coronavirus-related curbs on domestic travel have been lifted and is easing restrictions on incoming business travel. Indoor and outdoor events are now able to resume with 1,000 people or less. A $12 billion dollar injection of funds for domestic travel incentives and a $1.2 billion dollar injection in inbound travel incentives to help restart the travel industry does NOT apply for international travelers at this stage. A travel bubble for business travel is being discussed for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as first steps for an international reopening.

The reopening to international air travel, however, may be delayed past the current deadline of 30th of June and very probably until September until rules on how to handle incoming travelers have been set.

VIETNAM: Vietnam has carefully ended most restrictions and life is almost back to normal. Domestic tourism is booming and the island of Phu Quoc may possibly become the test destination for a reopening to foreign tourists all the while a wider opening doesn’t seem likely before September.

LAOS: Similar to Vietnam, Laos has begun allowing businesses to reopen with certain restrictions. A possible opening of borders to neighboring countries with low infection rates like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand will be considered and the opening of the country will heavily depend on the opening of neighboring countries and the air links via Thailand and Vietnam especially.

SINGAPORE: From 1 July, some tourist attractions will reopen with capacity of visitors capped at 25%. These include Marina Bay Sands Sky Park, Gardens By The Bay Flower Dome, Singapore Zoo and some attractions on Sentosa Island. The country is in its second phase of three phases of reopening. Talks are underway for business travel bubbles with some countries while leisure travel remains closed.

SOUTH KOREA: Remains closed for incoming tourism for US Citizens, travelers are allowed to transit and remain in the airport, but only for connections within 24hrs, and you are not allowed to stop over. Not word of any changes to this policy in near future.

CHINA: The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) plans to extend its “Five Ones” flight policy – each (one) country can send one flight from one airline via one route once per week. To date, four Chinese airlines have been granted direct flight routes from China to the United States, namely, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Air.

Publicly available online ticket sales indicate that some international and U.S. airlines have started selling China-to-United States flights on their websites. Please note due to uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, delays and/or cancellations could continue to occur. The Department of State is not offering additional evacuation flights from China at this time.

China has restricted the entry of all foreign nationals except Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan passport holders. China has restricted entry and transit to all travelers except Chinese nationals, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan passport holders, and travelers with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas, or visas issued after March 28, 2020. Travelers arriving at PEK will be given a PCR test and quarantined for 14 days at a designated location in Beijing. Travelers arriving at Shanghai Pudong (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) must undergo Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) and a 14-day quarantine in designated places for medical observation.

HONG KONG: Remains closed to all foreign nationals

TAIWAN: Taiwan has begun to reopen its borders to foreign nationals, provided they are traveling for reasons other than tourism or to visit friends. All visa waivers have been suspended, so travelers must apply for a special entry permit with a Taiwan representative office overseas before traveling. Travelers who already hold a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) do not require a visa to enter Taiwan. Before departure, foreign nationals will need to submit a completed "Quarantine System for Entry Form.

Upon entry, Taiwan requires all foreign nationals to present an English-language certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding the flight to Taiwan and undergo a 14-day home quarantine period. During the quarantine period, the individual is to stay home (or at the designated location) and may not use public transportation or leave Taiwan. Short-term business travelers may apply for a shortened period of home quarantine. The following visitors may be exempted from negative COVID-19 test: personnel on diplomatic or official business, migrant workers, students, those coming to Taiwan for emergency situations, and crewmembers on vessels arriving in Taiwan.

Foreign passengers, including people from Hong Kong and Macau, are now allowed to transit through Taoyuan International Airport. Holders of People’s Republic of China (PRC) passports will not be permitted to transit in Taiwan. Those transiting will need to board connecting flights of the same airline company they fly in on. Transits must last less than 8 hours. Transit passengers who need to wait for more than one hour will remain separate from other passengers and stay in a separate area.

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Derek Schemonitz

Avenue Two Travel

Luxury Travel Advisor