The Asian travel scene has obviously changed significantly in the last few years, however with 2022 seeing the broad loosening of entry restrictions around the region, tourism is now firmly back on the agenda. Here at Golfasian we’ve experienced this firsthand, with an understandable pent-up demand for golf tours.
Of course, our clients have many questions about the current status quo, however the fact is the travel landscape remains changeable, with announcements flying thick and fast as governments in the region ease entry requirements.
Keeping our clients up to date has certainly been keeping us busy. The good news is that, while COVID-19-related rules and regulations are constantly changing, the underlying trend is towards quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated travelers and less testing requirements.
World Tourism Organization figures show Asia and the Pacific region recorded a 44% year-on-year increase in international arrivals in January. A bump is, of course, to be expected, however it’s notable that many countries in the region have since eased their respective entry requirements.
So, as tourism momentum continues to build, Golfasian has put together a rundown of what you need to know about traveling in Asia in 2022:
- Vaccination and testing requirements – most countries in the region will require that you be fully vaccinated to enter (at least without quarantine). When it comes to testing, the general trend is towards less stringent testing. Cambodia, for instance, has dropped all testing requirements. Meanwhile, other countries such as Thailand and Vietnam have been gradually easing their requirements. It’s conceivable that testing will broadly no longer be required as we head into mid-2022 and beyond (watch this space).
- Health and safety – this will, of course, be a key concern for travelers. From the moment you enter the airport, you’ll notice new health and safety measures in place, from temperature screening to floor and seat markings denoting social distancing requirements. It’s also important you take the initiative when it comes to personal hygiene. This means coming prepared: make sure you have hand sanitizer and face masks at the ready.
- Digital technology – your smartphone isn’t just for YouTube, social media and selfies! It’s also a handy traveling tool. Use it to access relevant news and information sources prior to and during travel (such as government travel advisories), ensuring you’re up to date with all the latest requirements. Many countries now require that you register via app prior to entry, used to store and manage your information (for instance, you may be required to upload test results). Meanwhile, your smartphone can also be used as a digital wallet, allowing for sanitary contactless payment.
- Cultural awareness – different cultures have responded differently to COVID-19, and it is important to keep this in mind when traveling. From wearing face masks to social distancing, make sure you observe local etiquette. Of course, at a broader level, when you’re a visitor in another country it is essential to respect the local customs. If you put in a bit of effort, chances are you’ll see the rewards, with politeness and civility returned in kind, making for a more engaging travel experience.
- Plan, plan, plan – yes: plan, plan, plan! If it’s not already obvious from the above, make sure you’re informed and plan for all contingencies. This will help head off any issues or stress further down the track, paving the way for an enjoyable travel experience.
We’re all collectively finding our feet in the reshaped travel landscape in 2022, and it may initially take a while to get into the swing of things (yes, coming from a golf tour company, no pun intended). No doubt, for the many travelers now setting off for various destinations around the region there will be a renewed sense of appreciation for the world around us.
Golfasian this year marks 25 years of operation, making it one of the most established inbound golf tour operators in Asia. Based in Bangkok, we’ve built a strong network across the region’s golfing hotspots, including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore.