Tourists take a tour of the Ancient Commercial Street in Beijing, China.
Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
SINGAPORE — There’s pent-up demand for travel, but the tourism trade could take two steps ahead and one step again on its path to restoration, the founding father of a hospitality firm informed CNBC this week.
Ho Kwon Ping, government chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, stated whereas there is no actual solution to measure the urge for food for worldwide travel in Asia, home travel has seen robust demand.
“You can extrapolate from this and draw the conclusion that, when it’s safe to travel internationally, the same pent-up demand that’s driving domestic tourism today will also affect international travel,” he informed CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” as a part of the Milken Institute Asia Summit.
Airlines and tourism had been badly hit when the Covid-19 outbreak compelled borders to shut.
“I think the worst is over for sure, in terms of the travel industry,” he stated. “The only thing that’s really unclear right now is how long recovery will take.”
Ho stated the restoration is prone to be “very spotty.” While he sees extra international locations attempting out bilateral quarantine-free “travel bubbles,” they should shut if the native coronavirus scenario worsens.
That’s what occurred with the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble, which was postponed earlier than it may start due to a spike in Hong Kong’s case numbers.
“We’ll have to expect that there will be two steps forward, one step backwards,” he stated.
Mike Milken, chairman of the Milken Institute, stated the coronavirus disaster must be solved on the world stage.
“The message of this pandemic is none of us are safe unless all of us are safe. Whether you’re in Kenya, or South Africa or Nigeria, or in Brazil, or in France or in Singapore or Korea, people move,” he stated.
Still, by vaccines and trial and error, Banyan Tree’s Ho stated there can be a return to “normality.”
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, we see the shape of what’s happening beyond the tunnel,” he stated.
Separately, Ho predicted that the manner folks travel will change. “We will return to purposeful travel,” he stated.
That means vacationers will not get on a aircraft for a weekend away “without even thinking much of why we wanted to do it,” and businessmen will use video conferencing as an alternative of touring to a assembly solely to fly again instantly.
“What will happen now is, people will think more before they travel,” he stated. Leisure and enterprise travel will nonetheless proceed, but it will not occur on a whim. “Everyone has to adjust to that — less mindless travel and much more mindful travel.”
Ho additionally stated “democratic tourism,” or mass tourism for the big center class in Southeast Asia, have to be “reimagined” to be extra considerate.
“I think democratic tourism is something to be encouraged … it is the right and desire of people to see the world around them, but it must be more thought out,” he stated. “It cannot just be the same scenario … packing people into buses, taking them off into a site, taking a picture.”