Capital A urges govts across Asia to ease travel restrictions


CAPITAL A Bhd calls on governments across Asia to further ease travel restrictions in order to revive the global economy.

Capital A president (commercial) Colin Currie said the tourism sector is a major economic contributor for countries in Asean. He also asserts that the revival of the sector is crucial as the sector accounts for 13% of the grouping’s aggregate GDP and 6% of total employment.

“Majority of the world is now fully vaccinated and a sizable portion has also received booster shots. Data in the region also shows that the chance of hospitalisation from Covid-19 for those fully vaccinated is very small.

“We thank the governments in Asean which are finally reopening borders which is a great first step to revive economic growth.

“With a high percentage of people in Asean fully vaccinated, we believe that it is time to review the onerous deterrents still stifling air travel, including the numerous testing requirements both pre-departure and on arrival, additional paperwork and costly Covid travel insurance,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd CEO Bo Lingam informed that the key issues faced by air travellers are the cost of the Covid-19 test borne by passengers which makes the overall cost of air travel burdensome, as well as the additional paperwork and various unstandardised entry applications required by different countries that causes confusion among travellers due to the Covid-19 travel insurance requirement still imposed by many countries.

“We are also very pleased that countries like Cambodia and India have completely removed testing requirements and reduced paperwork for entry applications, while travellers to Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia and the Philippines are only required to undertake one Covid-19 test, either pre-departure or on arrival. Malaysia is about the only country in Asean that is still requiring two tests, both pre-departure and on arrival, which we earnestly hope the government will urgently reconsider.

“The global recovery of air travel is very much underway. We are happy to note that many countries are already making the journey easier and more tourist-friendly. Countries that persist in trying to lock out the disease instead of managing it, as we do for other diseases, face the risk of missing out on significant economic benefits,” he said.

Bo also highlighted that AirAsia will continue to play its part in the revival by looking at ways to make air travel as affordable and hassle free as possible.

“Just last week, we announced a partnership with leading local provider Century Medical Centre Medijaya in an effort to provide more affordable and convenient testing facilities in Malaysia which we hope to roll out similarly in other destinations soon.

“We will continue to work closely with respective governments, regulators and industry partners across Asia and the Pacific and thank them for their support as we work together to reduce the friction of air travel in order to stimulate demand and help revive the economy as a whole,” he added.