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ATSummit2022: Post Pandemic Effect on Travel and Tourism in Asia (2022)

Natural calamities not only cause destruction and losses during their attacks but leave unavoidable and deteriorating impacts for later as well. Such a natural calamity faced by the entire world is Covid-19. There is not even a single country in the world that could escape from this pandemic. The negative impacts of this pandemic did not restrict themselves to the health of people only but left remarkable imprints on the global economy. May it is the enterprises, travel and tourism industry, or the GDP of the global economy, everything was in a deteriorating phase during the pandemic. 

Recently, in the summit ATSummit 2022, the expert discussed precisely these scenarios that are evolving in the post-pandemic era. Now, that the world claims to recover from the health issues of Covid-19, still the enterprises and tourism industry is facing deep losses. This pandemic brought travel blockages and tourism restrictions, causing a heavy loss to the workers of this industry. Not only just the two years of pandemic affected the travel industry, now when traveling is allowed and open to all, still people take precautions and travel very less. Asian countries, which were heavy earners in the travel and tourism industry, are now facing employment losses and decreasing working shifts because of the post-pandemic effect. 

At the summit, to discuss these evolving scenarios under the topic of “Post Pandemic Effect on Travel & Tourism in Asia”, some experts in the tourism industry were present. Mr. Cheam Zia Da began the session by introducing the panel experts and setting the mood and stage for them. One of the experts and speakers was Ms. Zahira Tahir, CEO & Founder of Universal Holidays Travel & Tourism and she shed light on the most thought-provoking underlying issues that this industry is facing when the moderator Mr. Hayato Nakata, CEO of Interspace Malaysia & COO Interspace Singapore, asked her about it. Here is the crux of the insightful discussion that happened at the summit between the two experts.

Negative impact on the enterprises and tourism workers in Asia

The International Labor Organization (ILO) performed research and confirmed that there are heavy losses to the employment sector and working hours in different countries of Asia due to the pandemic. Countries like Thailand and Maldives, which were once, great tourist attractions for almost the entire year, are now witnessing silent streets and very less tourists on beaches. Surveys in five countries including Brunei Darussalam, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam have shown heavy job losses in 2020. These were rated as four times greater losses than those that happened in non-tourism countries. The reason lies in the fact that most of the seasonal earnings of these countries were from the travel and tourism industry. Some of the key factors on which Ms. Zahira Tahir also shared her insight were the impacts that the pandemic has left on the sector.

Major impacts of the pandemic on tourism in Asia

  • Lesser tourists, even in peak times

No doubt, the entire world has almost recovered from the health issues of Covid-19, but people are still cautious of their exposure to social gatherings, beaches, and heavily crowded areas. A survey by United Nations World Tourism Organization reveals that tourist arrivals decreased by nearly 74% in the post-pandemic times as compared to 2019. People have driven towards getting the vaccinations, maintaining social distances, keeping themselves safe and away from heavily crowded areas. This has caused a major reduction in the number of tourists in Asian countries, even during the peak traveling seasons.

  • Lesser tourism-related jobs – 

Absolutely no or negligible tourists; means no tourism requirements and thus no tourism-related jobs. Although the borders are opening, and tourists places are ready to entertain again, but still the loss of tourism-related jobs can be significantly noticed. According to the surveys, five Asian countries faced 1.6 million direct tourism-related job losses because of the pandemic. Not only these, but indirect tourism jobs i.e. the jobs indirectly depending on the tourists at a place, also went through losses.

  • Decrease in tourism job hours – 

The quality of tourism jobs and the number of working hours also decreased because of the restrictions at the tourist spots. The Philippines experienced the maximum losses in the average working hours of tourism-related jobs. The employment sector in the tourism industry faced a 28% loss, which is the maximum out of the losses from all other sectors. Viet Nam also faced a loss in average tourism wages by 18%, which was difficult to be taken by the workers depending solely on tourism-related jobs.

  • Decreased sales at food points – 

Tourist spots are almost full of street food points, where tourists used to enjoy regional food items and cuisines. The pandemic situation made every visitor stay away from crowded food points and depend on their homemade meals only. People have started carrying their food items and limiting their exposure to public food joints. This has significantly reduced the sales at street food points and taken away the income sources from those vendors.

Apart from that the expert, Ms. Zahira Tahir, also shed light on the striking facts in different Asian countries, particularly in south-east Asian countries in the post-pandemic milieu. 

Silent streets in Bangkok

Bangkok, one of the most famous tourist spots in Thailand, has witnessed silent and quiet streets during the pandemic. Even, post-pandemic times have also not managed enough to bring the tourists like before. This pandemic has shaken the entire world, and thus the people who used to love traveling, have also got affected. Studies show that the number of tourists visiting Bangkok is still lesser than in the pre-pandemic times. 

This country witnessed a 9.5% loss in the average wages of tourism-related jobs. This has also made the workers shift to other regions or low-paying jobs. Although the countries are recovering from the losses, it would take time.

Heavily affected tourism in the Maldives

The Maldives was once, the most attractive tourist spot in Asia. Its alluring beaches, magnificent hotels and spa spaces, and enchanting scenic beauty were once enjoyed by millions of tourists every year. But, after the pandemic, Maldives also couldn’t escape from the employment losses and decrease in tourist arrivals.

Tourism was the most significant and fastest-growing industry in the Maldives, before the pandemic. Although it has managed to call tourists again in the post-pandemic times, the numbers and earnings are still very less as compared to before. The enchanting beauty of Maldives is calling way more tourists as compared to other tourist spots, so hopefully, the numbers and earnings will return to their previous levels very soon. 


Covid-19 has left its negative impacts on the global economy. Every business sector got affected by it, not only during the two years of the calamity, but even now also, the world is trying hard to come out of the losses. The travel and tourism industry also faced significant losses in employment and average wages of tourism-related jobs. The deteriorating situations forced the workers to either shift to their hometowns or change their jobs. Now, both the government and people are making smart strategies to come out of the losses, but normal situations would take time to come back. Ms. Zahira Tahir  beautifully summed it up when she ended the discussion by concluding that this industry does not exist in isolation and all other industries are also integrated with it. It pretty much says it all. 

ACCESSTRADE SUMMIT is an annual event that provides networking opportunities for performance marketers to help them mutually share, learn about, and discover new insights to promote healthy market growth.