Relax Travel Restrictions to Spur Air Travel and Global Economic Recovery: Capital A

Senior executives at Capital A (the holding company for the AirAsia Aviation Group) has called on governments across Asia to further ease travel restrictions in order to revive the global economy as the borders continue to reopen with high vaccination rates.

“Tourism is a major economic contributor and a lifeline for so many countries in Asean and beyond. For Asean as a whole, the tourism sector accounts for 13% of the grouping’s aggregate GDP, and 6% of total employment. Revival of the tourism sector is thus pivotal to support the livelihood of the people,” Capital A President, Commercial, Colin Currie stressed.

“The 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,” he added.

“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. 

“It is a sad fact that some of our airfares cost less than the Covid-19 tests required by many countries in Asia, making the overall cost of air travel burdensome for most of the ordinary travellers that we serve. The testing requirements, including the number and type of tests involved, should constantly be reviewed to ensure that they remain relevant, without burdening travellers nor compromising public health,” Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, Bo Lingam said.

“Another key issue faced by air travellers is the additional paperwork and various, unstandardised entry applications required by different countries. These too should be urgently reviewed as the current processes tend to be duplicative and causing confusion amongst travellers. This is on top of the superfluous Covid-19 travel insurance requirement still imposed by many countries and we would like to applaud Singapore, Cambodia, Australia and India for leading the way by doing away with this requirement in order to draw more visitors to their respective countries.

“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,” he urged.

“The global recovery in 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 added.

“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 said.

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