Episode 1: No Flight, No Road – The Battle To Open Borders
Marina Bay Sands
Borders in Asia Pacific are still closed despite the fact that countries in the region have been most successful in fighting the pandemic. In 2020, air travel was at 5% of 2019 levels and the first quarter of 2021 feels like the fifth quarter, flat as can be. When airlines are stuck, travel is too. A quick overview of where the airline and travel industry is after a year of no travel.
Travel/health passes/passports are being touted as the key that could unlock cross-border air travel, and a plethora of solutions are being offered, from associations as well as private sector entities. Will there be one pass to rule them all or several to confuse us all? We look at the critical role of passes in giving governments the confidence to reopen borders. Plus, an overview of the industry, a year on, where is the airline industry headed, what lessons have we learnt, how is it preparing for the rebound?
Yeoh Siew Hoon
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)
McKinsey & Company
In this one-on-one, we ask a medical expert, who’s been actively involved in the development of digital health wallets in Singapore, his opinions on what role vaccines will play in the opening of cross-border travel in our region.
Yeoh Siew Hoon
Airlines are facing the biggest crisis in their history. Very low passenger traffic and confidence, government bailouts, huge debts piling up, borders closed will little political willpower to “reopen.” In short, travel is stuck. How do we get “unstuck?” An airline veteran, who’s worked in aviation across the world, offers his opinion on how sovereign ID could offer a way out and what’s needed for that to happen.
We catch up with the Maldives Minister of Tourism Abdulla Mausoom to find out how his islands stayed open for most of 2020 and remains open, the lessons it learnt around safe management and keeping travellers and its local communities safe and what other destinations can learn as they prepare to reopen, at the will of their governments.
Yeoh Siew Hoon
We all work in travel because we know it’s the bestest, coolest thing. You meet people with open minds, you get to travel freely for your job, so much so that your work becomes your life, and you have friends all over the world that you can just pop in anytime and have a great time together. Well, that evaporated in 2020 and for those living in Singapore, where a roadtrip around the country takes less than a hour (tops), it’s been challenging. Like living in a golden (okay, green) cage. We ask three colleagues to share their campfire story.
A choice of Hosted Rooms to discuss specific topics or just gather in our “Serendipity Rooms” and see who you run into.
Hosted Room 1: Air Recovery: Making Sense of Travel Passes & Understanding Trends and Behaviours to Speed Up The Rebound
For air recovery to properly happen, travel passes need to work for all players in the travel value chain. How do we, as an industry, ensure travel passes do not end up fragmented and a headache for the trade as well as consumer? It is also important to understand what’s happening across different markets such as Asia and the Middle East and elsewhere; the challenges being faced in each region; what tech and solutions need to be deployed for a robust recovery. Come and brainstorm with our three hosts and share your ideas, recommendations and insights so that we all get through this, together.
CEO & Co-founder
Vice President, Online Travel Asia Pacific
Vice President, Global Transport Services
Hosted Room 2: Tapping Local Demand In A Global World Gone Local
While we wait for borders to open, it’s all about domestic as it has been for the past 12 months. What can hoteliers and tours and activities providers do to adapt their business to a local customer? What thinking has to change to cater to a local traveller vs an inbound visitor? What products work, what content sells and what partnerships do you need? Tactics may be local but ideas are universal. A session to learn from as well as brainstorm with those who’ve had to turn their sights inwards during Covid.
General Manager, Singapore
Head of Growth Initiatives
Commercial Director, APAC
Chief Marketing Officer
If you feel like just hanging out and seeing who you bump into, pop into these rooms and start a conversation with fellow roadies. We will have facilitators in the room to break the ice.
Note: We’ve come to the end of the first stage of our roadtrip. We’ve got five more stops to make – join us for two hours every month, from April to August, before we take a break and prepare for the final destination of the year, WiT Experience Week in Singapore, Oct 18-21. You stand to win great prizes if you collect all six “Roadie” badges. Winners will be announced during WiT Experience Week.