EXO COUNTRIES AND COVID
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the current situation, many of our staff are working remotely from home or are on leave. While we are working around the clock, please be patient while waiting to hear back from us regarding questions, requests and changes.
Thank you for understanding!
HEALTH & HYGIENE PREPARATIONS
Hygiene and security (next to flexibility) will be major factors to take into account for travel going forward.
To this end, we have set up standard operation processes (SOPs) across our supply chain, in accordance with SAFE TRAVEL guidelines set out by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). This starts with measures that will be taken by our staff, ground teams, guides, and drivers and we are communicating with suppliers (hotels, restaurants, sites, airlines) regarding their best practices and participating in a panel of tourism companies who are focused on corona-safe travel.
Please see the details of our safe travel efforts HERE.
VIETNAM: August 2, 2020. Vietnam experienced a flare-up of cases of Covid-19 in Danang in central Vietnam and is conducting widespread testing. To date over 400,000 people have been tested. Tourists cannot enter the city for 14 days and all domestic tourists are to be flown home. Danang will re-implement social distancing measures and close all non-essential services. This is not a total lockdown, and while domestic travel is still possible, there are temporary restrictions in place until the situation is under control.
Vietnam is on the Green List of countries allowed to travel to set by the UK FCO on Friday 3 July 2020
THAILAND: August 15, 2020. Thailand has mostly returned to normal with national parks, tourism sites, school and businesses open again. While hotels are seeing good volumes of weekend traffic from domestic tourists, many of the natural sites across the country are regenerating as they are left untouched during the week.
People in the country are still encouraged to wear face masks and maintain social distancing standards, which is very much respected.
The reopening to international air travel for leisure tourists has been indefinitely pushed back and currently, no date has been set to allow flights again without restrictions. Preparations are still being made in the background and 90 mins COVID test facilities being set up at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok.
Thailand has been included in a Green List by the European Union AND by the UK.
MALAYSIA: July 30, 2020. Malaysia’s Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) which will remain in place until 31 August for now. MICE venues, spas and wellness centres and swimming pools and cinemas are open. According to the size of the venue, the capacity of venues is restricted to follow social distancing standard operation procedures. There has been a surge in domestic tourism in Malaysia as freedom of movement is reinstated. Strict precautionary and sanitation measures remain in place.
Malaysia is on the Green List of countries allowed to travel to set by the UK FCO on Friday 3 July 2020.
MYANMAR: 29 July 2020. Myanmar has extended its measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 until 30 September 2020. This includes a temporary suspension of international flights, a ban on issuing all visas and visa-exemption services, as well as a three-week quarantine for Myanmar nationals returning home by relief flights.
Domestic travel within the country is possible with restrictions. Domestic flights and buses are operating with social distancing measures in place.
INDONESIA: 30 July 2020. Bali is re-opening its beaches and tourist sites on July 31st and will allow domestic tourists from other islands in Indonesia to come to the island. Lombok, Sumatra, and Java have also opened their tourist sites as do Sumba and Flores, however, there are limited flights to these 2 islands.
Wearing a mask is mandatory in public places and businesses need to adhere to the Cleanliness, Health and Safety protocol, which is in line with the WHO guidelines.
International tourism to Bali was set to restart in September in the 3rd phase. The Bali governor did announce a reopening date of 11 Sep 2020 for Bali, BUT it may remain a symbolic date and it will be very difficult to implement.
CAMBODIA: The government has in principle agreed to waive the $3,000 deposit on arrival introduced 6 weeks ago. Proof of insurance would be still required, however, entry to the Kingdom is in any case currently NOT possible except for diplomats and for some business travellers.
On arrival, travellers are swab-tested and escorted to a pre-approved hotel. If the results are negative they can self-quarantine for 14 days. If positive the company sponsoring them will need to pay for the full cost of care in a dedicated facility.
Meanwhile, businesses across Cambodia have been operating mostly as usual but with safety precautions in place since mid-April. Domestic travel in including flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh have resumed. An opening towards Vietnam and Laos is being mulled.
News article 14 Aug 20: Covid impact on Siem Reap https://southeastasiaglobe.com/holidays-on-hold/
Cambodia is on the Green List of countries allowed to travel to set by the UK FCO on Friday 29 July 2020
JAPAN: 14 August,2020. Japan is currently seeing a spike in covid-19 cases in major cities across the country. The Tokyo metro government as of yesterday is asking restaurants and bars to close by 10pm until further notice. Travel to and from Tokyo is discouraged which has affected the plans for the current Obon holidays. Domestic travel in the rest of the country is still permitted.
A travel bubble for business travel is being discussed for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as the first steps for an international reopening.
Japan is on the Green List of countries allowed to travel to set by the UK FCO on Friday 3 July 2020
LAOS: Business are running as normal as can be under the circumstances. Domestic travel in the country is possible and there are no travel restrictions in place. A possible opening of borders to neighboring countries with low infection rates like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand will be considered and the opening of the country will heavily depend on the opening of neighboring countries and the air links via Thailand and Vietnam especially.
Laos is on the Green List of countries allowed to travel to set by the UK FCO on Friday 29 July 2020
SINGAPORE: 28 July 2020. Walking, cycling and kayaking tours will be allowed to be conducted for up to 10 guests and for a maximum duration of 8 hours. Up from 5 guests and 2 hours before.
All Singapore hotels, attractions and dining outlets that are certified SG Clean are open with safe management measures in place. This includes strict hygiene standards and social distancing measures set out by the government. Tourist attractions are currently capped at a capacity of 25%.
Talks are underway for business travel bubbles with some countries. Inbound leisure travel remains closed.
Singapore is on the Green List of countries allowed to travel to set by the UK FCO on Friday 3 July 2020.
With all of the uncertainty going around, we know there are a lot of questions. Here are answers to some of the more common ones.
Safety is our utmost concern. As such, our best advice is to follow the advice of the WHO, the CDC and other government institutions.
For those of us living here, life continues mostly as normal. By taking sensible precautions such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing hands, the real-life risk of contracting the virus remains minimal.
You can cancel any new booking between now and 31 May for travel until 15 December, 2020 at NO COST.
Additionally, you can postpone your guest’s travels for up to 18 months from the original travel date, offering a great deal of flexibility to make changes as needed.
Alternatively, we are happy to reroute your guest’s trip to another EXO destination at little or no cost.
For more details, please reach out to your normal EXO Travel Consultant.
Preparedness is the first step in ensuring guests’ safety. Prior to arrival, guests are encouraged to purchase masks and hand-sanitiser from their home countries. Additionally, they are briefed on sensible precautions to take such as washing their hands frequently, avoiding crowded areas, to avoid touching their faces. Although it is not compulsory in any of our destinations, we do also encourage guests to wear face masks when they are out in public. Our guides and drivers will also be wearing face masks when interacting with guests.
Due to the impact that coronavirus has had on tourism, hotels and suppliers across Asia are offering unprecedented deals. We’ve reached out to our preferred partners to secure these deals for you. You can find a summary of these deals here.
Travel plans can be postponed to any later date for up to 18 months after the original travel date. We will facilitate future arrangements at no cost on a case-by-case basis.
In these cases, we will hold paid deposits as credit for your next booking and allow maximum flexibility in rerouting to other EXO destinations that are deemed safer to travel in.
When non-refundable payments and deposits have been mentioned in the booking process, these will remain in place until suppliers change their polices (ie. for accommodation in Tokyo during the summer games).
Due to the influx of postponements, please be understanding that we are working around the clock to handle each case carefully and it may take longer than normal to come to a conclusion.
Given the current trajectory of coronavirus, nobody is certain whether travel plans made now for any time between May and December of this year will follow through. However, it’s safe to say that sooner or later this virus WILL pass. Because of the current situation, many hotels and suppliers are offering incredible discounts. Combined with our new flexible cancellation and postponement policy we feel that now is a great time to book future trips.
As of now there are no indications that this crisis will continue into 2021. However, we are prepared for any scenario and are offering postponement or rerouting to any EXO destination free of charge to ensure your guests have a great holiday in Asia in 2021.
LINKS TO CURRENT TRAVEL ADVISORIES BY SELECTED COUNTRY
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