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Relax Covid-19 travel restrictions to aid recovery

by on April 19, 2022
 

Further relaxation of travel restrictions will stimulate air travel and support global economic recovery. Senior executives at Capital A, holding company for the AirAsia Aviation Group are calling on governments across Asia to further ease travel restrictions. UPDATE: Malaysia will relax most entry conditions from 1st May 2022.

Covid-19 travel restrictions

With high vaccination rates and the reopening of international borders, travellers still face complex and costly entry procedures at many destinations. These include quarantine, additional or new visa fees, Covid specific insurance policies and pre-arrival PCR testing. 

Pre-arrival testing is not only an added cost (especially if there is another test upon arrival, as in Malaysia) but also a problem for people on holiday. It will be necessary to spend time from your holiday to find a testing location and get there.

Thailand is considering doing away with on-arrival PCR testing and the matter will be considered at a meeting on 22nd April.

….. Tourism is a major economic contributor and a lifeline for so many countries in Asean and beyond. For Asean as a whole, the tourism sector accounts for 13% of the grouping’s aggregate GDP, and 6% of total employment. Revival of the tourism sector is thus pivotal to support the livelihood of the people. Colin Currie, Capital A President, Commercial

He thanked the governments in Asean which are finally reopening borders, noting that the majority of the world is now fully vaccinated with a sizeable portion also having received booster shots. He noted that data across the region also shows that hospitalisation numbers from Covid-19 for fully vaccinated people is very low.

He also flagged the main ‘put-offs’ for would-be travellers facing the onerous deterrents still stifling air travel, as we have been writing about for weeks. It’s time for a review of the numerous testing requirements both pre-departure and on arrival, additional paperwork and costly Covid travel insurance.

His colleague, AirAsia Aviation Group CEO Bo Lingam noted that some of their airfares cost less than the Covid-19 tests required by many countries in Asia, making the overall cost of air travel burdensome. 

The travel restrictions needing review

The travel restrictions must be constantly be reviewed to ensure that they remain relevant, without burdening travellers nor compromising public health. These include

  • the number and type of tests
  • additional paperwork
    • non-standardised entry applications required by different countries
    • the current processes tend to be duplicative and causing confusion
  • superfluous Covid-19 travel insurance requirement
    • still imposed by many countries despite the expense and difficulty in purchasing
  • Additional requirements unique to the country
    • Laos requires both the purchase of insurance and hiring of a COVID-19 tracking device upon arrival

However, there is some movement:

  • Singapore, Cambodia, Australia and India have removed the Covid-19 insurance requirement
  • Cambodia and India have completely removed testing requirements and reduced paperwork for entry applications
  • Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia and the Philippines only require travellers to undertake one Covid-19 test
    • This is either pre-departure or on-arrival
    • As of 17th April, Australia no longer requires a pre-departure COVID-19 test.
    • Thailand is considering dropping the on-arrival test – stay tuned.
  • Malaysia is one of very few countries in Asean still requiring two tests
    • both pre-departure and on-arrival

With the global recovery in air travel underway it’s important to make the journey easier and more tourist-friendly. Countries that persist in dragging their feet on reviewing the evolving situation, face the risk of missing out on significant economic benefits.

…. AirAsia continues to play its part in the revival by looking at ways to make air travel as affordable and hassle free as possible for our guests, including fully contactless procedures at the airports and in the air. Bo Lingam

  • AirAsia has included in their website support pages, a helpful guide to the various entry requirements for countries in their network. They have also entered a partnership with a local provider, to provide more affordable and convenient testing facilities in Malaysia.
  • breakfast in Vientiane, travel restrictions

    Relaxed breakfast in Vientiane, Laos

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