ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA), together with Taylor's University, Malaysia and Centre of Research and Innovation in Tourism, recently co-organized the 9th ATRA Tourism Forum entitled "Is ASEAN Ready for the Travel Corridor?". The webinar was presented by an excellent mixture of professionals from academia and industry in ASEAN. The keynote was delivered by Prof. Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee, Professor from Taylor’s University and Secretary-General of ATRA.
The session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, President of ATRA and Executive Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management. Key representatives from the Hospitality and Tourism sector in ASEAN were invited to share their views. Esteemed panel members comprised of Mr. Eddy Krismeidi Soemawiaga, President of ASEANTA; Mr. Pham Ha, Founder and CEO of Lux Travel, Vietnam and Assist. Prof Dr. Chayanon Pucharoen, Deputy Dean of Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. About 160 participants attended the forum virtually.
The idea of Travel bubbles can be well-defined as an exclusive partnership between neighboring or nearby countries that have established significant success in reducing the number of cases of COVID-19 pandemic within their respective borders. These countries then go on to re-establish connections between them by opening borders and allowing people to travel freely within the zone without having the need to undergo on-arrival quarantine.
Thus, the forum explored the tourism reopening mechanism in the region in a sustainable way. Several key points derived from the forum were ASEAN is ready to reopen for international market in 2022, Phuket Sandbox has been successful, other ASEAN countries to emulate Thailand's first move and creating travel confidence will ensure a successful restart.