When can I go to an Asian resort?
July 15th, 14:47
In Thailand and Indonesia, the movement to resume accepting foreign tourists will make great progress from July.
This was the original theme of the interview.
However, the re-spread of infection by the mutant virus shakes public opinion and government policy.
Phuket Island of Thailand opened a managed way to tourism resumption of "isolation No need," but, Indonesia does not stand even the prospect.
What is happening to the world's leading resorts now?
(Keita Kage, Director General of Asia / Rei Ito, Director of Jakarta)
“Tourism without isolation” started in Thailand
A female tourist from Israel
"I've always wanted to come here. It's a perfect island for a break and I'm really glad that the isolation is gone."
Female tourists from Israel who visited Phuket Island in Thailand enjoyed their holidays on the beach.
Women entered the country using the "no quarantine" foreign tourist acceptance system that began on July 1.
The Thai government requires foreign visitors to be quarantined for two weeks, but exempted it only on Phuket Island.
Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the number of foreign tourists who visited Thailand last year was about 6.7 million, down to one-sixth of the previous year.
Tourism has been devastated.
In Thailand, where GDP = 20% of GDP is said to be tourism-related, the government's sense of crisis to somehow improve the tourism industry and the economy led to the isolation exemption system.
How can you contain the risk?
The system that started in Phuket is trying to contain the risk of infection by taking advantage of the characteristic of "island".
The government first focused on vaccination of people living on the island, and about 70% of the subjects had already been vaccinated.
In addition, only 69 countries and regions (as of July 12) that accepted tourists as having a certain low risk of infection had been vaccinated and had a negative PCR test just before boarding the plane. I also added conditions such as being there.
In addition, tourists have decided to spend more than two weeks on the island before they can go to another part of Thailand.
You'll be required to register and use an app that provides location information so you know you're not off the island, and you'll also need to test negative.
By covering the entire island with bubbles, we aim to increase the number of tourists and prevent the spread of infection.
Expectations on the island
The government estimates that 100,000 tourists will come from abroad in three months using this system.
In fact, the island of Muay Thai Gym, which was popular with foreign tourists, has about 50 reservations in July alone.
Muay Thai Gym Owner
"Many users want to come to Phuket. In the future, acceptance without isolation should spread to other parts of Thailand."
The Thai government has sought to begin acceptance without quarantine nationwide by mid-October, preceded by acceptance on Phuket Island.
In mid-June, the Prime Minister himself gave a television speech to announce the plan and convey to the public a message that the economy will move forward.
As per the blueprint?
But then, in a month, things changed.
A delta strain of the mutant virus identified in India caused a surge in infection, with more than 9,000 people infected per day on 9 July.
In Bangkok, the capital city, which is the center of infection, going out at night is prohibited in principle, and restrictions on economic activities are rather tightened.
In the same country, "deregulation" and "strengthening" of regulations have become co-existing, and the public is increasingly opposed to accepting tourists in the Phuket style.
As the infection spreads throughout the country and the medical system is tight, some say it is reckless.
Even tougher Indonesia
The situation is even more severe in Indonesia.
Continuing to strengthen border measures, foreigners for tourism purposes have been banned from entering the country for over a year.
The government has first announced plans to resume accepting foreign tourists from Bali, one of the world's leading resorts, but the implementation has been postponed many times since last year.
There was a plan to resume acceptance as early as July, but the spread of the infection has not subsided and there is still no prospect of its realization.
Supported by "worcation"
Until now, in Bali, efforts to support the tourism industry through domestic travel have been continued until the entry of foreign tourists into the country.
Its name is "Work from Bali".
This is a domestic project started by the government in January, in which civil servants and employees of private companies are trying to promote "wortation" while staying at hotels in Bali.
When I talked to a man who was a worcation engineer visiting Bali from Jakarta, he said, "I was depressed by the corona and wanted to leave the city. After work, I had a sunset on the beach. When I look at it, I feel calm. I came to Bali and started surfing. "
The men's company is said to be teleworking until next year.
If so, staying in Bali, where you can enjoy the abundant nature and marine sports during your breaks, would be suitable.
When I talked to hotels that accept wormcations, I heard positive voices saying that the occupancy rate of rooms, which was about 10% to 20%, increased to 50% in June.
Even domestic travel
The government has expanded its worcation project since July and is also considering resuming acceptance of foreign tourists.
In Indonesia, the infection situation deteriorated rapidly from the end of June, mainly in Jakarta, the capital city.
The number of infected people per day exceeds 50,000 (as of July 14), and the medical system is in a very serious situation.
The beds in Jakarta were temporarily filled up to 90%.
Even domestic travel is no longer possible, beaches have been closed in Bali since July, and eating and drinking inside restaurants has been banned.
Worcation is also being canceled or postponed one after another.
A woman working in a cafeteria in Bali
"I'm glad that domestic tourists have come until recently ... How should we live if this situation continues for a long time?"
A woman working in a cafeteria in Bali heard such a grief.
Difficulty of compatibility
What Thailand and Indonesia have in common is that the vaccination rate is low and the medical system is becoming tighter.
The percentage of people who have been vaccinated at least once is only about 13% (Our World in Data / as of July 11).
In such a situation, if people are encouraged to move to support the tourism industry and the infection spreads as a result, there is a concern that it will lead to a further economic downturn.
How to strike a balance between preventing the spread of infection and resuming economic activity is a very difficult task.
The balance will continue to change due to various factors such as the progress of vaccination and the expansion of mutant strains.
Southeast Asian countries will face this challenge for some time.
Directorate-General of Asia
Joined in 2005,
in charge of financial and financial coverage at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and since last summer, Directorate-General of Asia
Jakarta bureau chief
Joined in 2015
After working at the Morioka bureau and the international department, we have been interviewing Indonesia and East Timor at the Jakarta bureau.