South East Asia reopens to tourism
Starting next month, most of the restrictions will be lifted. No more quarantines and for Thailand no testing before departure. Today the announcement by Myanmar despite the fact that a civil conflict is raging in the country. However, the number of arrivals is expected to be well below pre-pandemic levels.
Milan (AsiaNews) - Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and now Myanmar: Southeast Asia has announced that it will begin welcoming tourists again next month.
The Minister of Tourism of Malaysia, Nancy Shukri, said she has no doubts about the ability of operators in the sector to welcome travelers. Since March 8, the country has entered what the government has described as the endemic phase of the pandemic. By 2022, Kuala Lumpur expects 2 million arrivals for revenues of .6 billion.
Thailand no longer even requires a negative pre-departure swab starting April 1, you will be tested upon arrival. The government has projected the arrival of only 5 million foreign visitors this year, a considerable drop from the 40 million in 2019.
In recent days, it was Hanoi that had announced a relaxation of entry restrictions. No more quarantine, only a negative test will be required before departure to enter Vietnam, where before the pandemic the tourism sector contributed to the country's wealth with 32 billion dollars a year. There are still 200,000 daily cases, but thanks to the high vaccination rate - 98 percent - hospitalizations and mortality remain "under control," local authorities say.
Cambodia has managed best so far: visiting the Angkor Wat complex, still devoid of masses of tourists as in the pre-covid period, now seems to be a dream experience. If in 2019 there were more than 6.5 million travelers, last year there were about 200 thousand entries, despite the fact that Phnom Penh reopened to fully vaccinated tourists as early as mid-November. According to local sources, so few tourists had only been seen in the early 1990s just after the end of the civil conflict. The country, led by Asia's longest-serving authoritarian leader, Prime Minister Hun Sen, was recently ranked second behind Taiwan in the Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index for its excellent handling of the pandemic.
Perhaps most surprising is the announcement from Myanmar, where last year's military junta coup has spawned an ongoing civil conflict. International flights to Yangon are expected to resume from April 17, military authorities have announced, but tourists will still be required to undergo a week of quarantine and two negative swabs to stay in the country even if fully vaccinated.