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Vaccination, Hope for Asia’s Hospitality Awakening

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The hotel industry has slowly risen since the launch of the Corona vaccine. However, businessmen are still worried about the delay in the recovery of tourist areas.

CNBC reported on Wednesday (21/7/2021) that the world’s hotel industry is slowly recovering. one of their offerings is a preference for luxury rooms and experiences that focus on health and wellness.

“Sights like Phuket are now open to international travelers who don’t need to be quarantined and others like Koh Samui are following suit,” said William Heinecke, CEO of Minor International, which runs a chain of hotels and restaurants around the world.

However, hoteliers are also concerned about a slow vaccine rollout in parts of Asia that could jeopardize the region’s recovery.

The Thai government recently announced a ‘sandbox scheme’ for Phuket, saying the popular resort island will be open, quarantine-free to vaccinated Thai and foreign tourists from July 1.

Koh Samui, the second largest island in Thailand is also accessible to tourists from 15 July. Tourists can tour the two islands freely and depart for other cities in Thailand after staying in Phuket or Samui for 14 days.

Minor International, which manages more than 530 serviced hotels, resorts and suites worldwide, is also experiencing strong recovery in Europe, the Middle East and China. Hotels are also seeing strong demand for room types with higher priced room types such as villas, suites and deluxe rooms being picked up before regular rooms.

“In Europe, where we have just reopened, we are seeing very strong demand. We have seen a very stable recovery since January in the Middle East… our Middle East properties are now functioning at pre-Covid levels. We have many countries in the world who are in pre-Covid levels or higher,” he added.

Slowly, some of the world’s tourism began to recover. Especially this step is seen after the vaccine. However, concerns remain regarding the launch of the vaccine in Asia.

“We see that there are still lags in many markets due to (vaccine) production issues,” Heinecke said, citing slow progress in Malaysia and the Philippines.

“partly because of AstraZeneca’s manufacturing in Thailand,” he added.

Thailand began producing a Covid-19 vaccine for Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca in June. Its local partner Siam Bioscience, owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, will produce 180 million doses this year – with more than a third for Thailand and two thirds for Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia and the Philippines.

However, there were reports last week that Thailand may be restricting exports of the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine to combat its own crisis.

According to Our World in Data, Asia is far behind North America, Europe and even South America in terms of vaccine doses administered per 100 people. North America gave about 78 doses per 100 people, while Asia lags behind with 49 doses, according to data as of July 17.

Slow vaccination has led to a rise in cases, even as the highly contagious delta variant first discovered in India has become the dominant strain in the United States, spreading to at least 104 countries.

From Singapore to Thailand and Australia, there have been restrictions and lockdowns, and travel corridors between cities and countries have been cancelled, hampering the return of the tourism industry in 2021.

“Availability of vaccines is very important, I believe in more vaccinations, less lockdowns,” Heinecke said.

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