Keeping borders closed comes with a price

BANGKOK, 27 August 2020: If national borders continue to remain closed governments must jump in with financial subsidies according to Horwath HTL global head of travel advisory, Sinisa Topalovic.

Addressing the Destination Mekong Summit Tuesday, Topalovic didn’t mince his words. “Longer the closures the more support will be required of governments.”

Emphasising there was not a single template for recovery he said governments would have to recognise that ultimately to “preserve the competitiveness of the national tourism industry they need to step in.”

The chat board running on the sidelines of the six-hour marathon summit reflected growing sentiments that governments should be financially responsible when they unilaterally impose travel restrictions and bans that cripple a nation’s tourism industry.

They were suggesting the buck ends with governments. If they ban travel, they should compensate companies that are now facing collapse.

On reopening resorts, Topalovic suggested destinations would reduce the Covid-19 risk if they restricted bars, nightclubs and party venues however cautioning there was no single or simple answer.

He said hotels are now operating safely while airports and airlines are offering contactless transfers. However, he recommended that airports adopt Covid-19 testing and provide it free of charge for travellers. Travel companies will need to adapt to handling smaller groups and families. They may have to switch to domestic travel to earn revenue to remain open until borders reopen.