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Outbreak management technologies can bolster tourism-reliant economies in ASEAN

As we enter the new year, many tourism-reliant ASEAN countries are still struggling to recover from the pandemic-induced economic slump as neither the volume nor the travel experience is even close to the usual. Some parts of the world did witness some travel-related activity in quarter four, but for the most part, ASEAN borders remained tightly closed. The unavailability of significant stimulus packages combined with the unpredictability of transmission discouraged countries from actively opening up for business.

Initiation of travel bubbles in the region

The year-end did see the opening of some exclusive corridors and bubbles with numerous safety measures and procedures in place, envisaged to promote sustainable tourism in the new normal.  Brunei, Cambodia and Vietnam have resumed some international flights but Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia and Timor-Leste remain closed to foreign arrivals. Similarly,  non-essential travel for leisure and tourism has is not allowed in the Philippines.

A pilot scheme in Thailand was deployed to grant special tourist visas for long-stay travellers, which would have allowed healthy international tourists to go anywhere within the country after serving a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

“Travellers can come to Thailand, and they can choose Bangkok or Phuket for their state quarantines,” Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor for marketing communications at the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Unfortunately, the scheme almost immediately floundered after a new case was reported, scuttling any hopes of an imminent reopening. Tanes named Singapore and China as countries Thailand is keeping its sights on for possible travel bubbles in the future, which would allow residents from only these countries to move between each other. Singapore is progressively reopening limited safe travel arrangements with other countries, including its Southeast Asian neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and most recently, Indonesia.

Easing of travel restrictions and the implementation of “green lanes of air travel” – which allow visitors from specific countries to enter – could be premature as policymakers and hoteliers alike juggle to balance public health with the economic growth.

Outbreak Management System will be key in 2021

Despite limited and highly regulated travel within the ASEAN region, the risk of contagion cannot be ruled out. Passengers need the confidence to travel across borders while managing various health risks and immigration requirements on a single platform.

This is where technology solutions like the Liberty and Passage Outbreak Management System come in play. The Liberty and Passage Total Outbreak Management System provides travellers with the necessary health and regulatory documentation within the platform. It logs health declarations, provides digital health certificates, records a health status log and has a track and trace function built-in.

Not only does it help passengers track their health status and simplify the travel procedures amid the pandemic, it can also help prevent the rapid spread of the virus within the airport and the airline workforce.

The Liberty and Passage app has been designed to help provide relevant timely information and so build the confidence required to restart free movement between countries and continents. It gives travellers confidence when crossing borders and assures authorities of the genuineness of the documentation when processing foreign visitors at their borders.

Technology solutions like the Liberty and Passage app will be essential not only for the citizens but also for the authorities who have been entrusted with the critical responsibility of keeping citizens safe as more cross border travel takes place in 2021.

For more information on Liberty and Passage Outbreak Management System, please visit: www.libertyandpassage.com

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