Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Measures launched to conserve values of Hoi An world heritage

A view of Hoi An ancient city (Photo: VNA)
The Hoi An Centre for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation will carry out seven solutions in the 2020-25 period in a bid to conserve and sustain values of Hoi An ancient town in the central province of Quang Nam, said Director of the centre Pham Phu Ngoc.

Due attention will be paid to preventing severe run-down conditions of historical and cultural relics, he noted.

The solutions include anti-flooding in the ancient quarter; erosion and landslide prevention; street beautification; conservation of ancient relics and intangible cultural values; and planning urban areas within the heritage zone and craft village development; and resources for conservation.

The measures will be implemented synchronously in an attempt to conserve Hoi An ancient town and protect its global outstanding values as well existing architectures and sceneries, Ngoc underlined.

He added that after Hoi An was recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, the centre has funded more than 152 billion VND (6.53 million USD) to repair and protect run-down relics.

In addition to funding from the State and international organisations, the conservation expense was sourced from ticket sales, which hit about 300 billion VND in 2019. However, this year’s revenue may sharply decrease due to impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hoi An city is currently home to 1,432 relics, of which nearly 1,360 need protection./.

#HoiAnworldheritage, #QuangNam,

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Where to Find Japan's Late Blooming Cherry Blossoms

Shiraishi River, Hirosaki Castle, Takada castle
'Hanami', or cherry blossom viewing, is a significant event in the Japanese cultural calendar, but it's not just Japanese residents who make the most of the occasion. In 2019 more than 2.9 million foreign visitors flocked to Japan during the month of April, a rise of 0.9 per cent from the year prior.(*1)

This year, cherry blossoms are forecast to open earlier than usual due to a warmer than average winter. For travellers worried they'll miss out on Hanami season, here are three destinations to find Japan's late-blooming cherry blossoms.

1.Shiraishi River, Miyagi
Shiraishi River is located in Miyagi, a prefecture on the north-east coast of Honshu. Here, 1200 cherry trees line an 8km stretch of riverbank, blooming from early to mid-April each year.
The Shiraishi River is considered one of Japan's most beautiful riverside Hanami destinations, with the snow-capped Zao Mountain Range providing a unique and dramatic backdrop to the soft cherry trees while you eat, drink and relax under the blossoms.

The area is loved by locals and tourists alike as it offers access to the Shiroishi Castle and Funaokajoshi Park, which was selected as one of Japan's top 100 Sakura spots. The park has a slope car that takes you through 305-metres tunnel of cherry trees to the parks highest point. Here you can overlook the Shiroishi River and its cherry tree-lined banks winding through the city from above, as well as the 24-metre tall white Kannon Statue at the mountain's peak.

How to get there: Shiraishi River is a three-minute walk from JR Ogawara Station.

2.Hirosaki Castle, Aomori
Hirosaki Castle is located in Aomori, Honshu's (Japan's main island) northernmost prefecture. Famed as being one of the top three best cherry blossom sights in the whole country, Hirosaki Park is home to 2600 trees and more than 50 different types of cherry blossoms which bloom each year from late April to early May.

Hirosaki Park is well-known for its 'Sakura Tunnel', where thousands of cherry blossom trees line the banks of the West Moat of the castle. As the flowers end their blooming cycle, the falling petals cover the waters of the moat, transforming it into a magnificent pink tunnel. At night the cherry blossom trees are illuminated and offer a breathtaking perspective on the Hirosaki Castle grounds.

How to get there: Hirosaki Castle can be accessed from JR Hirosaki Station. The park is a 30-minute walk or a 15-minute bus ride.

3.Takada Castle, Niigata
Takada Castle is located in Niigata, a prefecture on the west coast of Honshu. Takada Park is ranked as one of Japan's best cherry blossom night viewing destinations, consisting of close to 4000 cherry trees.

One of the most breathtaking locations in the 50-hectare park is the Takada Castle Triple Turret. Known as the park's symbol, the triple turret sees the castle, moat and cherry trees come together in one frame. At night, the illuminated Takada Castle and cherry trees are reflected onto the waters of the moat, offering scenes one might expect from a fairy tale.

How to get there: Takada Castle can be accessed from JR Joetsumyoko Station. The park is about a 35-minute walk from the station.

About East Japan Railway Company
The East Japan Railway Company (JR East) operates trains including the Shinkansen (high-speed bullet trains) in the East Japan region. The company is the largest passenger railway company in Japan, serving around 17 million people every day and their network covers the half of the main island of Honshu, from the Tokyo metropolis to multiple areas in Eastern Japan. Apart from the main railway business, JR East Japan also operates various other establishments such as shopping malls, retail shops, restaurants and hotels as well as managing office buildings.

For more information, please visit:

About the JR EAST PASS
The JR EAST PASS is a special discount pass for international visitors to Japan (limited to those entering on a short term 90-day visa). Pass holders can get unlimited access to all JR East Japan Railways (Shinkansen bullet trains), affiliated railway companies and JR buses for 5 days within the period of 14 days from the date of issue of the pass. Visitors arriving into Narita or Haneda Airport can start their holidays by using the pass to head straight out to the beautiful and lesser-known Tohoku region and multiple other locations throughout Eastern Japan. We hope visitors will enjoy their trip to Japan with this great deal, the JR EAST JAPAN PASS!

JR East Fares & Passes

Explore the “Reinvented” Principality of Monaco Without Leaving Home

Your overseas travel may be placed on hold for now but that doesn't mean that you have to stop travelling completely.

Thanks to the second smallest state in the world, the Principality of Monaco, you can keep dreaming, exploring and adventuring without leaving the comfort of your home.

The 360º Virtual Reality tool designed by the Monaco Government Tourist Bureau (www.visitmonaco.com) offers the perfect opportunity to explore the dynamic Principality that keeps reinventing itself with exciting new concepts, programs and initiatives.

Discover the all-new Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Monaco's most iconic 5-star hotel, that recently started a new chapter after completing a 4-year multi-million dollar renovation program last year with additions and enhancements including the opening of the ultra-luxurious Prince Rainier III Suite, the opening of ÔMER, a new concept by Alain Ducasse, a new garden courtyard, a lush wellness area and more.

Delve into the luxurious world of the 5-star Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, its recently revamped Carré d'Or Suite, a luxury suite located on the top floor of the hotel, or explore 'Odyssey', the hotel's pool area designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

Outside of the hotels, there is a wealth of museums, beaches, parks and gardens to explore, including the Prince's Palace, the Oceanographic Museum and the famous Monte-Carlo Casino, with its diverse game rooms and the Opera de Monte-Carlo.

Beyond its physical beauty, Monaco is a world leader in sustainable tourism whilst being on a mission to become a 'Smart Principality', a concept the Prince's government is developing through the “Extended Monaco” program, which seeks to make Monaco a “funding nation” for progress.

To start your 360º Virtual Reality Journey to Monaco, visit: http://monaco360.visitmonaco.com/


Some tourists are stranded and worried about their overstay.
PHOTO: Culture Trip
There are a growing number of tourists who are becoming stranded in Thailand as their home countries raise the drawbridge and lockdown their borders. Many European countries have started sealing their borders to deal with the Covid-19 coronavirus and other countries, closer to home, are starting to act as well. Last weekend Malaysia virtually locked down its borders. Thailand is still allowing tourists and visitors from some countries to arrive.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says they are “seeking a reprieve” for some of the estimated 500,000 tourists who will, at no fault of their own, end up overstaying their tourist visa. He says the request for a temporary “clemency” is for humanitarian purposes.

“Long-stay guests can also help keep local businesses running during this tough time.”

The Minister noted that many of the stranded tourists are long-stay elderly travellers from Germany, Italy and Russia.

“They spend their winters here. They came to Thailand before the virus hit their hometowns and decided not to return home. They fear not receiving sufficient healthcare upon returning home.”

One after another, European countries have been locking down their borders since the weekend and flights continue to be cancelled. The situation is making it impossible for tourists to return home.

Minister Phiphat told the Bangkok Post that he is going to discuss the matter with the Interior Ministry and Immigration Bureau. He says he plans to seek a temporary reprieve for these tourists as well as visa extensions for those whose countries have been affected. He will also ask the authorities not to blacklist overstayers.

Anecdotally, The Thaiger has received many messages in the past three days where frantic tourists, worried about overstaying their visas, are being charged full overstay fees and being rejected extensions if their legal visa stay limit has already been reached. Visitors from many countries can get a tourist visa for 30 days (some more, some less) and are fined 500 baht for every day they overstay their visa. Offenders can be deported or blacklisted.

Read the full article at The Thaiger: https://thethaiger.com/coronavirus/thai-tourism-minister-plans-help-for-tourists-stranded-and-worried-about-overstaying-visas

#Thailand, #updates, #visa extension

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road
National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

How to Safely Support Australia's Tourism Industry and Keep Your Travel Spirit Alive

Plan a trip… no seriously, now is the time
Travel is proven to be good for your health and wellbeing. Planning a trip can spark creativity and most importantly, bring with it positivity about the future. So, keep dreaming and start planning for when it's safe to travel again, and get excited about the vast amount of trips and experiences you can have right here in Australia. Book flexible fares for later in the year, or next, and it could change the life of a local Aussie tourism operator that is relying on your business to thrive. 
Take a virtual trip
Dreaming of a holiday? You can still experience some of the best parts of Australia from the comfort of your home with virtual tours and experiences. And once it's safe to travel again, make sure you go and check out their work in real life.
  • Culture vultures can now feast on some of the National Gallery of Victoria's art offerings from afar, thanks to its newly launched virtual programming. Over on the new NGV Channel, find a growing haul of virtual content to explore. Right now, you can join a free, curator-led tour of Collecting Comme, the NGV's Indigenous art collection Marking Time, and KAWS: Companionship In The Age Of Loneliness. From Saturday, March 28, Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines will also be open online.
  • Continue through Victoria's cultural institutions by virtually touring the exhibitions in the Melbourne Museum. Take a tour of the First Peoples exhibition and learn about the diverse languages, histories and cultures of the Victorian Aboriginal people. The team of museum experts will also be regularly hosting Q&A videos where people can submit their own questions.
  • Down at the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania, in true Mona style, you can live stream Tim between 10am–4.30pm AEDT daily. Since 2011, Tim has sat at Mona for over 3,500 hours and with the museum now closed to guests, Tim is clocking up some additional hours while also practicing social distancing. A former tattoo-parlour manager from Zurich, Tim Steiner has an elaborate tattoo on his back that was designed by a famous artist and sold to a German art collector. As part of the deal, Tim spends his days sitting in galleries so people can admire his work of art.
  • Transport yourself to the Outback in the Northern Territory and explore the iconic Uluru via Story Spheres, which provides you with 360-degree images and storytelling to serve as excellent research for when you can visit this magical part of the world.
  • The Sydney Opera House offers a 360-degree tour where you can explore the iconic site at your own pace - and check out a number of online exhibits and performances by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, too.
  • For music-lovers, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is hosting live streams of their scheduled performances so you can enjoy the works of Beethoven, Bach and Mendelsson live from the comfort of your own living room.
See what's happening in the Zoo
From the comfort of your home, wildlife lovers can live stream some of Australia's most adorable animals online. Warning: if you're meant to be working, these videos can be highly distracting.
  • Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures, including some adorable snow leopard cubs who nap frequently. Or watch over the Zoo's friendly penguins, lazy lions and wandering giraffes.
  • Tune in for heart-warming live streams of cute and cuddly koalas over at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland. There's a range of koala cams to tune into, from the koala cuddle train to young joyful joeys, this is the wholesome content you need.
  • If you are longing for the seaside The Nature Conservancy has both above and below reef cams. Located at Pope's Eye, within Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park, Victoria, see some of the life teeming in Port Phillip Bay. On the underwater camera, see habitat, fish, seals and even dolphins, or on the above the water camera, take in views of the birds nest in the area – such as Australasian Gannets and Black-faced Cormorants. The webcam is solar powered and therefore only operates during local daylight hours and when there is enough sun - but a highlights stream is played when it's offline.
  • For something more educational, unlock the mysteries of the Great Barrier Reef and see what some of Australia's favourite Reef animals are up to with Reef Tracks by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. With real-time data, track turtles, sharks and manta rays which show their movements and location since they were first tagged by researchers in the name of science.
  • Or, live vicariously through one of Australia's most beautiful birds via BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre's EagleCAM, a live stream of a resident pair of Sydney's white-bellied sea eagles. The live stream is an interactive, interpretive hub that provides opportunities for people to learn about, and engage with, the eagles in their natural habitat.
Support your local restaurant, cafe or bar with take home options
Travel and hospitality industry go hand-in-hand, and together they employ millions of people across Australia. To help them out during this difficult time, why not purchase a no-expiration-date gift card to use at a later time, or choose to get your favorite meals home delivered with delivery services now offering 'contactless' options for diners. Also make sure you check in on your favourite local restaurant, cafe or bar, as they might just be offering take home packs, live streaming sessions or cook at home recipes.
  • In Sydney, The Prince of York have partnered with locals Shorty's Liquor and Moonshine Music to create 'Party At Home' packages, which brings you the same food, drinks and music you'd experience in the restaurant to your home. Either enjoy with those you live with, or set up a virtual video date with your friends and loved ones. A range of other Sydney restaurants are offering their menus for takeaway include Matteo Double Bay and A1 Canteen. Or take the flavours of Elva Bondi home with you, with a new take home and cook menu which allows diners to choose from a range of their secret recipes and ingredients to create themselves.
  • In Melbourne, feel like you're dining al fresco on a corner street in Paris without leaving home with Bar Margaux's 'A la Maison' menu, which includes Boeuf Bourguignon and Soupe à l'Oignon and is delivered to your door. Alternatively, get your late-night feed of classic New York style pizza from Connie's Pizza at Melbourne's Heartbreaker bar, who are delivering until the early hours.
  • For those in Perth, you can get some of the city's best gelato delivered to your door from Chicho in Northbridge, including one litre of ice-cream or five choc-tops for $30.
Australia has long been famous for its wine, but with more boutique bars, distilleries and breweries opening throughout the country over the last few years, you don't have to look far for an award-winning beer, wine or spirit! So if you are in need of a nice drop to take you back to a recent Australian holiday, there are a number of places offering cocktails and party packs right to your doorstep.
  • In Sydney, The Everleigh Bottling Co has introduced a range of hampers to liven up your 'Happy Hour at Home', featuring its signature single-serve bottled classic cocktails and more drops to pair perfectly with your other dishes.
  • South Australia's Unico Zelo has also introduced a digital happy hour where you can jump on Facebook to enjoy a drink with other Australians across the country, as well as a Coronavino Care Pack that includes a mixed dozen of their best wines delivered to your door to help give you a taste of Australia.
  • Perth's favourite southern Italian wine bar, No Mafia, has also recently launched a pick-up menu featuring highlights from its broadly Mediterranean offerings: think gnocchi with sugo, mixed salumi, Sicilian meatballs and other joys of European-style long-lunching.
Change up your self-isolation space
Australians love to travel, it's part of our DNA. And while it's not advised to travel right now, you can still go outside and soak up Australia's iconic sunshine from the comfort and safety of your local park or backyard.
  • Put the camping gear to good use by setting up a camping trip in your own backyard with the kids or your partner. Relax and recharge to the soothing sound of Australia's unique wildlife or if you are located in a city, why not try Calm app and listen to the sounds of waterfalls, calm islands or distant ocean waves.
  • Or, make it educational by downloading the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences' Australian Monthly Sky Guide podcast to learn about the southern night sky narrated by experts from Sydney Observatory.
Soak up Australian culture from the couch
Have some extra free time on your hands? Now is the time to sit back and watch classic Australian films and television to satisfy your travel wanderlust.
  • Wildlife fanatics can check out National Geographic's Wild Australiaa four-part series that tells the stories of Australia's most iconic - and mysterious - animals including the cassowary, tree-kangaroo, dingo, echidna and platypus.
  • For a wild journey to Australia's outback, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a 1994 classic that will make you want to get up and groove.
  • Transport yourself into Australia's wilderness by reading some of Australia's key classics and best-selling books. For storytime with the kids, flick through the pages of Possum Magic by Mem Fox and learn about Australia's environment and wildlife through unique storytelling. Or to satisfy those classic cravings, pick up Cloudstreet - an award-winning 1991 novel written by Tim Winton that will transport you to Perth in the 1940s.

Website: www.tourism.australia.com

Trip Planning for 2021? Where to Find Nara's Best Cherry Blossoms

Nara is famed for its free roaming deer and ancient temples. However, what many travellers might not know is that Nara is also home to some of Japan's most spectacular cherry blossom destinations. If you're planning your next trip to Japan for the 2021 cherry blossom season, here are five of the most beautiful cherry blossom viewing spots in Nara, all easily accessible by train.

We acknowledge the current situation regarding travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the serious impacts it is having across the world. For any travel being planned for the future, we encourage all travellers to continue to follow official health advice and closely monitor government advisories.

In this unprecedented and evolving situation, we hope the destinations featured in this media release can act as a source of inspiration for those seeking new experiences and adventures to embark upon when it is safe to recommence travelling.

1. Nara Park
While Nara might be well-known for having more than 1000 free roaming deer, in springtime the park's deer are outnumbered by blooming cherry trees. With approximately 1,700 cherry trees, Nara Park is also one of the most spacious places to view cherry blossoms in the whole Kansai region, including Kyoto, Osaka, Mie, Nara, Hyogo and Wakayama.

The large park covers 660 hectares meaning there is plenty to space to find the perfect Hanami (cherry blossoming view) spot. Visitors also have the opportunity to see Nara's prefectural flower, the Naranoyaezakura cherry, which can be found blooming in the park.

How to get there: Nara Park can be reached in just over 45 minutes from Kyoto or Osaka with the Kintetsu Railway, with the park's entrance is a short 10-minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara station.

2. Koriyama Castle
Located just 20 minutes from Nara Park by Kintetsu Railway, Koriyama Castle is considered one of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom sights. Train travellers will first spot the cherry trees from the train windows, with weeping cherry blossoms spilling over the castle walls into the moat beside the train tracks.

One of the top spring attractions at Koriyama Castle is the Oshiro Festival, held from late March to the beginning of April. A highlight of the festival is the night-time illumination, where the castle and cherry trees are lit up with hundreds of Japanese lanterns.

How to get there: Koriyama Castle can be reached in just over 45 minutes from Kyoto or Osaka with use of the Kintetsu Railway. The castle grounds can be accessed by foot in less than 15 minutes from Kintetsu Koriyama Station.

3. Tsubosaka-dera Temple
The Asuka region is home to some of Japan's first temples, shrines and stone monuments. The area also served as one of Japan's first cultural hubs around the 5th and 6th centuries.

Built in 717AD, Tsubosaka-dera Temple is a mix of Japanese and Indian styled architecture. The temple is considered a place of healing, and in spring the grounds bloom with cherry blossoms, falling softly on the shoulders of some the ground's historic giant Buddha statues.

How to get there: Tsubosaka-dera Temple is accessible in around 1 hour and 20 minutes from Kyoto or Osaka with the Kintetsu Railway. The temple grounds can be reached by local bus from Tsubosakayama Station in under 15 minutes.

4. Hanayagura Observatory
Hanayagura Observatory offers visitors some of the best views of mount Yoshinoyama, a mountain covered with close to 30,000 cherry trees. The observatory provides a bird's eye view of the mountain ranges below, with the cherry blossoms creating the illusion of a winding pink ribbon throughout the trees.

How to get there: Hanayagura Observatory is accessible in just over 1 hour 30 minutes from Osaka and just over two hours from Kyoto. The observatory can be accessed by foot or by local bus from Kintetsu Yoshino Station.

5. Chikurin-in Temple & Garden
Chikurin-in is a Buddhist temple in Mount Yoshino known for its beautifully landscaped gardens. The carefully groomed gardens surround a large pond which is lined by cherry trees. The back garden named “Tennin-no-sakura” houses 220 year-old weeping cherry trees, which are said to be some of the oldest in the region.

How to get there: Chikurin-in temple can be reached in just under two hours from Kyoto or Osaka. The temple can be reached using the shuttle bus bound for Nakasenbon from Kintetsu Yoshino Station.

About the Kintetsu Rail Pass
The Kintetsu Rail Pass gives travellers unlimited rides on all Kintetsu Railway lines for 5 days. Available for visitors from overseas at a discounted price of 3,700 yen, pre-purchase your passes online or buy at any Kintetsu Station in Japan. 

#travel, #traintravel, #Cherryblossoms, #TripPlanning

For information on the pass, please visit:

Supporting Our Communities Around the World

The coronavirus crisis is being felt around the world by all the communities we serve. Our teams are working 24/7 to assist public health authorities in their response to the pandemic, and to take actions that support drivers and delivery people, customers, and our business partners, both large and small.

To ensure Uber's efforts are grounded in the latest medical advice, we're consulting with an epidemiologist and are engaged with top experts. Here are the latest developments in our ongoing global response.

Public safety:
  • In-app messaging: We are displaying in-app messages reminding riders to travel only when necessary and encouraging riders and drivers to take steps to protect themselves. 
  • Supporting healthcare workers: In Europe and Latin America, we are working with public authorities to offer rides for healthcare workers to hospitals and their homes. We are exploring options to expand this service to other countries. 
  • Discounted rides: We launched discounted rides in SF, Washington DC, and Seattle to connect low-income and vulnerable communities to food. In Rome, we reduced the price of JUMP e-bikes to one euro per trip to support those who need to get from A to B.
  • Suspension of Uber Pool: To support social distancing, we have temporarily suspended the Uber Pool service around the world.
  • “Leave at door” delivery: We have advised Eats customers to use the no-contact feature by selecting “leave at door” at checkout or communicating instructions directly to delivery people in-app.
  • Uber Eats phone assistance: Beginning in France, Eats customers who do not have a smartphone have the option to reach out via a dedicated phone number and get assistance to order a meal.
  • Feeding first responders: We're committing 300,000 free meals on Uber Eats to first responders and healthcare workers in the US and Canada, and 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand.
Drivers and delivery people:
  • Financial assistance: Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID‑19, or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority due to a risk of spreading the virus, can be eligible for up to 14 days of financial assistance while their account is on hold. We are also working with our rental car partners in Australia, Brazil, the UK and the US to help drivers who cannot work to return their rented vehicles with no penalty.
  • Creating more work opportunities: We've made it easier for drivers to begin accepting Eats delivery requests to create an additional source of income for those who are receiving fewer requests for rides.
  • Cleaning supplies: We are working with manufacturers and distributors to provide drivers and delivery people with disinfectants, as soon as they become commercially available. Thousands of sanitation kits will also be sent to small carriers that use the Uber Freight platform. 
Uber Eats restaurant partners: 
  • Restaurant support: Beginning in the US & Canada, we have announced efforts to support the restaurant industry, including driving customer demand by waiving the Delivery Fee on all orders from independent restaurants. We've also launched a daily pay-out feature to help restaurant cash flows as on-premise dining declines. Similar efforts have been announced in Australia & New Zealand, the U.K., France, and across Latin America, with more to come.
  • Restaurant onboarding: We're making it quicker and easier for new restaurants to join Uber Eats, as many are required to shut their doors to the public. 
  • Supporting small shippers: All relief loads transporting critical goods booked on the shipper platform in the US will be hauled with zero profit pricing by Uber Freight, while the current FMCSA hours-of-service suspension is in place. 
  • Offering warm meals for truck drivers: All truck drivers hauling loads through the Uber Freight app will receive a weekly $20 credit towards any meal ordered on Uber Eats in the US. More details on these efforts can be found here.
Our team is working around the clock to do everything we can to support the communities we serve. We're committed to keeping you informed on our ongoing response and we'll share more updates here in the days to come.

Langham Hospitality Group Initiates First Phase of Recovery Plan for the Langham and Cordis Hotels in Mainland China

To ease the concerns for their guests and more than 8,000 employees, Langham Hospitality Group has implemented rigorous measures against the spread of the coronavirus at The Langham and Cordis hotels around the world.

These protocols were adopted from the company's hotels in Mainland China and Hong Kong which have been vigilant in their focus on containing the spread of the virus in their communities. This region was the first to be hit by the pandemic and has since successfully “flattened the curve” – drastically reduced the number of new cases of COVID-19 – in those locations.

“Recent events have proven that the profoundly disruptive effects of this virus outbreak are drastic for our industry,” said Stefan Leser, chief executive officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “But we are now starting to see a glimmer of relief in the form of a decreasing number of cases of confirmed infections in Mainland China, and our hotels in that region are now working towards a recovery plan for the rest of the year. As an industry, we are under tremendous pressure but it is heartening to observe that domestic travel in Mainland China is beginning to rise and that calls have started coming in for hotel stays.

Langham Hospitality Group remains committed to doing its part to stave off the growth of COVID-19 cases in the cities in which they operate hotels. In addition, to alleviate any stress on travellers who are currently grounded or are hesitant to travel over the next few months, Langham Hospitality Group is prepared to provide a full refund and waive all related fees on cancellations or changes made on direct individual bookings for stays through 31 May 2020 at any of The Langham and Cordis hotels in its portfolio. (Bookings made by a travel agent or an online travel agency can be cancelled or changed through the platform on which the booking was originally made.)

“Our hearts are with the millions of people who have been affected by this unprecedented crisis,” said Leser. “At all of our 22 hotels around the world, we want to ease the minds of guests who wish to cancel or change their reservations with us that we will make that process as easy as possible. And for those who are currently our guests, I want them to know that we remain vigilant and steadfast in our commitment to provide every individual at our hotels with the highest standard of safety and hygiene.”

At each of the hotels in the Langham Hospitality Group portfolio, daily protective measures have been strengthened including but not limited to:
  • Frequent disinfection of all high-touch areas such as door handles, elevator buttons, hand rails, telephones and remote controls
  • Sterilization of all chinaware, glassware and cutlery using high temperature washing equipment
  • Execution of additional cleaning protocols in all rooms and suites prior to and after each guest's stay
  • Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers placed in lift areas in the lobby and hand sanitizer bottles at host stations at the restaurants and bars, bell counter, reception and concierge.

Staff who are doing this extra stringent cleaning tasks are provided with gloves and masks, as are any other colleagues who need or request them.

In addition, in order to ensure that all guests and colleagues of The Langham and Cordis hotels remain safe, Langham Hospitality Group has created a declaration form for all guests to fill out regarding their recent travels and have implemented a process by which every guest, colleague, vendor and delivery persons will have their temperature checked before entering the hotel.

Langham Hospitality Group's colleagues, who are the most essential stakeholders in the company's efforts to combat the spread of the virus, have been given enhanced training sessions on personal hygiene, specifically those steps which can help to reduce possible transmission. On a daily basis, colleagues are reminded, through written and verbal instruction to take the following precautions:
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds at a time
  • Seek medical attention if they feel unwell or display flu symptoms.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
  • Stand at least six feet apart from other individuals whenever possible to assure “social distancing.

“Based on the expert advice of the World Health Organization, local governments, public health authorities and medical professionals, our hotel teams will continue to implement stringent measures against the spread of COVID-19”, Leser continued. “We are in this together, and we wish for everyone to stay safe and healthy. We're not going anywhere and when our guests are ready to return, we will be here to welcome them back.”

Website: langhamhotels.com

The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon *Opens June 2020*

The debut of a new generation of luxury featuring 206 guest rooms and suites with views of Tokyo skyline, 3 restaurants including a speciality restaurant with an outdoor terrace, custom-designed spa, 387sqm of events space and more...

EDITION is an unexpected and refreshing collection of individualized, one-of-a-kind hotels.

Displaying the best of dining and entertainment, services and amenities all under one roof, The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon will showcase a completely unique concept and an oasis of sophistication in Japan.

Just minutes from Tokyo’s best art and cultural landmarks, fashion, nightlife and international cuisine, the EDITION experience and lifestyle is an unprecedented intersection and a perfect balance between taste-making design, innovation and luxury service.

The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon will debut a new generation of luxury featuring 206 guest rooms and suites with iconic views of Tokyo skyline including 15 rooms with outdoor terraces overlooking Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Bay, 3 restaurants including a speciality restaurant with an outdoor terrace, EDITION's signature cocktail bar Punch Room, custom-designed Spa with 6 treatment rooms, state-of-the-art gym and 387sqm of events space.

Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Live Streams: Penguin Feed and Quokka Cuddles!

The live-streaming fun is set to continue at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo this week, as keepers invite you on exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences! The live-streaming fun is set to continue at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo this week, as keepers invite you on exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences!
  • join the Penguin Keepers on the ice with SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's adorable Gentoo and King Penguin colony. Watch them waddle, hop, slip and slide around their Sydney home and witness their fishy lunchtime feast! Hosted by Keeper Amy, find out more about the sub-Antarctic penguins who call SEA LIFE Sydney their home, their quirky personalities and find out how and why Keepers keep track of who eats what fish!
  • we head next door to WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo for a Quokka of a good-time! Meet our cutest and cuddliest local celebrity, Davey the Quokka and his Keepers Shania and Caroline in Kangaroo Walkabout. Learn all about his new target and station training program, which allows keepers to guide Davey to follow them to a certain spot to assist husbandry, health checks and weigh-ins easier for him. Then it's time for Q&A and Davey's favourite – belly scratches!

To ensure you don't miss out on the fun, be sure to set your alarm clocks and follow SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo on Facebook!

SEA you soon for a WILD time!


As the community adjusts to a ‘new normal’, many people are now working from home, conducting meetings remotely and connecting with friends via virtual platforms. 

If you are using Zoom, why not take friends and colleagues on a virtual holiday to your region or favourite place in NSW by updating your Zoom video call background? 

You can enjoy a new location everyday by uploading your personal photos, or you can source a photo of a place that represents your #LoveNSW from Destination NSW’s Content Library - it’s free to register and download spectacular imagery from across the state. 

See this simple guide from Shutterstock on how to update a Zoom background.

Visit Austria From the Comfort of Your Couch

Austria in the times of armchair travel: From streamed Vienna State Opera performances to 360° videos of hiking trails, the Austrian National Tourist Office has put together a collection of virtual experiences which bring Austria's culture and nature into Australian homes. A little inspiration of what awaits when travellers will be able to visit the “Heart of Europe” again.

In Austria as across much of the globe, tourism has been put on hiatus in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. People have been asked to stay at home and travel plans have been put on hold. Therefore, we have curated a collection of virtual journeys to help bring a piece of Austria to your readers' homes across Australia
On our website, www.austria.info/en, we have added a portal for exciting virtual experiences.

Take a virtual stroll through Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the imperial family, and explore the splendid state apartments while kicking back on the couch at home. Sit in the audience for a streaming of a Vienna State Opera performance and bring the very best of classical music into your home. Dip your toes into Lake Wörthersee in Austria's South with an interactive panorama or head up to Schafberg mountain, enjoy the views of the lake region, and recharge your batteries with a 360-degree video.

Art lovers now have the opportunity to wander through Vienna's top museums, without ever leaving the couch. You can browse the Albertina, the world's largest collection of graphic art, or visit the Belvedere galleries, particularly famous for the work of Gustav Klimt. Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) brings works by Rubens, Tizian, Rembrandt, Raffael, and Velázquez and Bruegel directly to your living room.

Start your virtual journey here: www.austria.info/en/virtual-austria

#Austria, #virtualvisit, #virtual, #vienna, #Museums

For further information or 300dpi images, you can also contact:
Austrian National Tourist Office
Astrid Gruchmann-Licht, Director
T: (02) 9299 3621

Monday, 30 March 2020

Da Nang to boost tourism in Japan

An overview of the Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang
The central city of Da Nang’s tourism promotion centre has inked an agreement on tourism promotion in Japan with Sunrise Group Asia (Sunrise Da Nang) company, looking to expand to new tourism markets in the future.

The centre said the agreement, which was signed last week, aims to support Japanese tourists and promotion programmes of Da Nang in Japan.

Sunrise Group Asia company will jointly cooperate with the centre to update tourism products and services while providing information on destinations in Da Nang through two social networks – Danang Fantasticity and Sunrise Danang – to all cities in Japan.

The company will record feedback from Japanese tourists about tour services in Da Nang that would help the central city improve its products. It’s expected that the website Danang Fantasticity will be published in Japanese soon.

Sunrise Danang was founded by two young Japanese, Kenta Kawano and Taiki Iida, to support Japanese ex-pats and tourists as an information channel.

The cooperation would also create a chance for Da Nang’s tourism industry to approach a sustainable and luxury market in Japan amid the continuing COVID-19 epidemic.

Japan is a focus for Da Nang’s tourism, with 180,000 travellers coming to the city in 2019.

The number of Japanese tourists to Da Nang experience annual average growth of 15 to 20 percent.

The city also opened its liaison offices in Tokyo and Yokohama to boost tourism, trade and investment between the two localities.

Local airlines have operated direct air routes to connect Da Nang with Narita, Osaka, and a chartered flight to Nagoya.

Japan plans to open a Consulate General in Da Nang to boost tourism and exchanges between Japan and the central city later this year.

The Japanese language is also being taught in some junior secondary schools following the city’s foreign language teaching programme for 2012-20.

Route Inn Group opened its first hotel project with a total 18 million USD investment in Da Nang in 2017.

#DaNang, #tourism, #Japan,

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

Adventure Tour Operator Tucan Travel Honour 33rd Birthday With Travel Stories from Around the World

On Friday 27th March, adventure tour operator Tucan Travel will turn 33 years old. What started as a few small overland tours in South America has grown into a global community of adventurers from around the world - and now, more than ever, we wish to acknowledge this incredible milestone.

As part of their birthday, Tucan Travel recently asked past clients to submit their most memorable travel stories. Since then, the world has seen some unprecedented changes due to Covid-19 with most international travel being put on hold. In light of this, Tucan Travel now feel it is more important than ever to share these wonderful stories with their community - highlighting the fantastic aspects that travel brings both travellers and communities alike.

You can read Matt's story about the history of Tucan Travel here.

You can read the top ten stories submitted by customers here and a video encompassing Tucan Travel's adventures here.

Below is a snippet from the winning story, submitted by Jennifer from Canada:

“Travel and music inspire each other, and that was the case for me back in 1982. This was a time when music videos became art, almost mini-movies, telling a story, and the ones which left the greatest impression on me were filmed by Duran Duran in Sri Lanka. I was 15 years old and I promised myself that one day I would visit! Over the years, I have been to many countries, but Sri Lanka was always burning in my mind. I kept imagining how wonderful it would be. 36 years later, in February 2018, I had finally, finally made it thanks to Tucan Travel! My dream came true. I lived the day! Besides the history, culture, archaeological sites and temples, there was even more to experience with unesco sites, several incredible hikes and views, and even being lucky enough spotting a leopard in Yala National Park! Every day had a fantastic highlight to enjoy!”

Jennifer will secure two spots on Tucan Travel's Classic Colombia group tour.

Tucan Travel welcomes future bookings at this stage and are offering up to 33% off many departures in 2021. Booking Conditions have been updated and can be found here, with all new bookings subject to free amendment until further notice. The team at Tucan Travel would also like to take the opportunity to thank customers, staff, agents and suppliers from around the world during this difficult period.

#TucanTravel, #touroperator, #smallgrouptours, #LatinAmerica, #Birthday

For further information: www.tucantravel.com


Photo: Pattaya Mail
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), together with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and Ko Tao’s public and private sectors, has launched ‘The One for Nature’ project to promote responsible tourism in Thailand.

Mr. Kitsana Kaewtumrong, Executive Director, TAT’s Advertising and Public Relations Department said TAT hoped the project would also help strengthen awareness of Thailand as a preferred destination for sustainable tourism that appeals to environmentally conscious travellers.

“On the occasion of TAT’s 60th anniversary in 2020 and as a government organization overseeing the promotion of Thailand’s tourism sector, TAT recognizes the importance of responsible tourism, and has set a clear direction for sustainable tourism development, ”Mr.Kitsana, said. “The One for Nature’ initiative forms part of this strategy to protect, rehabilitate, and conserve Thailand’s natural resources through responsible tourism.”

Strategies and objectives include the initiative to instill environmental consciousness among tourists through online communication. Some responsible tourism activities have already been initiated in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Surat Thani (Ko Tao). Pioneering the project is an activity to construct artificial reefs for marine ecosystem rehabilitation at Ko Tao, Surat Thani, on 11 January, 2020.

Mr. Pitul Panchaiyaphum, Director of Marine Resources Rehabilitation Sub-Division, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said: “The Department has included ‘The One for Nature’ initiative as part of its marine ecosystem rehabilitation project to construct artificial reefs by using marine-friendly materials in creative shapes and styles. This will hopefully develop new dive sites teeming with marine life paving the way for sustainable tourism development in collaboration with TAT.”

Read the full article at Pattaya Mail: https://www.pattayamail.com/pattayamail/tat-launches-the-one-for-nature-project-to-promote-responsible-tourism-287848

#ResponsibleTourism, #TAT, #Thailand

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road
National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

Australia's #1 Workplace Fruit Delivery Company Launches Fresh Fruit at Home Boxes

  • Free home delivery
  • 20 years of experience in the hygienic handling of fruit
  • Regular ($49) and large ($69) sizes available
  • Supporting Australian growers
  • Delivery to Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth & Sydney metro locations

Fresh Venture Group, home of Snowgoose and Fruit at Work, Australia's #1 Workplace Fruit Delivery company, has launched its Fruit at Home Box, bringing a vibrant mix of beautiful quality and safe, fresh fruit to Australian homes.

“As the number of virus cases exponentially increases, we know you and your family want to completely avoid touching and eating fruit that has been handled and touched by hundreds or possibly thousands of people,” says Wendy Visontay, Founder of Fruit at Work. “With 20 years of experience in the hygienic handling of fruit, we have the strictest health and safety measures in place from grower to delivery.”

Fruit at Home boxes arrive brimming with Australia's best quality fruit sourced directly from Australian growers. It means customers enjoy the freshest fruit experience, knowing that they're also supporting Australia's rural communities during these difficult times.

“While you're self-isolating, sick or recovering, it's so important to maintain a healthy diet,” continues Wendy. “Fruit at Home is packed with essential vitamins and minerals as well as health-boosting flavonoids and antioxidants. We want everyone to stay safe and healthy by staying at home. And to help you eat well, we're waiving our home delivery fee as we appreciate these are challenging times.”

Fruit at Home is delivered free to doorsteps in two sizes: regular $49 and large $69. Deliveries are available to homes in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney metro locations.

Fruit lovers can order their Fruit at Home boxes for themselves, loved ones or employees by visiting www.snowgoose.com.au/products/fruit-at-home or call 1300-857-776

#fruitathome   #snowgoosegiftboxes

Website: www.snowgoose.com.au

Experience the Capricorn Coast from the Comfort of Home

As governments across the world implement social distancing in the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, operators on the Capricorn Coast, just a short drive from Rockhampton, are offering up some of our signature experiences virtually. While regular travel may be off the cards for the foreseeable future, virtual escapism is open to everyone with an internet connection.

Here are some places to take a tour – without leaving the couch.

Pumpkin Island - take a virtual tour
Catering to only 34 guess, social distancing is not a new concept to Pumpkin Island. You can even rent the whole island to yourself! Pumpkin Island is fortunate to be close to the mainland to offer a quick getaway, yet ultimate seclusion with very few guests. This allows safe social distancing whilst enjoying fresh air, beautiful nature and your own self-contained cottage with minimal interaction with other guests or staff, if you so wish.

Capricorn Caves - take a virtual tour
The popular Cathedral Cave tour has something for everyone! Showcasing spectacular caves, this walk leaves you with lasting memories of ancient geological history, early explorers, the wonders of wildlife and special cave acoustics. Leave the caves through the Zig Zag passage and suspension bridge, and finish with a sense of adventure.

Keppel Bay Marina - take a virtual tour
Located at the gateway to the Keppel Group of Islands; Keppel Bay Marina is the friendliest and largest marina in Northern Australia. Make your holiday complete with an adventure to Keppel Bay Marina on your way to The Keppel Islands!

Keppel Kraken - take a virtual tour
This is a water play feature quite unlike any other. With a mythical sea creature centrepiece and set against the spectacular backdrop of Keppel Bay, it's the perfect place to soak up some sunshine on the beautiful Capricorn Coast.

Singing Ship - take a virtual tour
Set against a spectacular coastal vista of blue seas and with Great Keppel Island in the distance, the Singing Ship at Emu Park is a majestic monument that commemorates the area's legacy of the historical explorations of Captain James Cook, who discovered this bay in May 1770.

The Centenary of Anzac Memorial Walk - take a virtual tour
The reflective memorial boardwalk and its gateway gallery entry are the focal point to this thought-provoking walk. The walkway is an emotional, reflective experience and provides a timeline of WW1's many major battles of war.

Villa Mar Colina - take a virtual tour
Set high on Bluff Point in Yeppoon, boasting stunning views across Keppel Bay, long sandy beaches and the Keppel Isles. Villa Mar Colina is just a short walk to Yeppoon's Central Business District where you will find great restaurants, plenty of shopping and access to Yeppoon's main beach.

More holiday inspiration can be found at www.visitcapricorn.com.au. Keep dreaming and start planning today!

#visitcapricorn #southerngreatbarrierreef

Website: www.visitcapricorn.com.au

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi *Opens 1 July 2020*

This new property soars above the heart of the capital offering expansive Imperial Palace views and putting you at centre stage, from sky-high gourmet meals on the rooftop terrace to gala business and social events at Tokyo’s best address.

In a city fuelled by boundless energy and defined by intriguing contrasts, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi delivers next-generation luxury experiences with inimitable style. Soaring above the heart of the capital and offering expansive Imperial Palace views, Four Seasons puts you at centre stage, from sky-high gourmet meals on our rooftop terrace to gala business and social events at Tokyo’s best address.


Gaze onto the iconic Skytree Tower from these spacious guest rooms. Distinct Japanese touches immerse you in the local landscape, with bespoke artwork paying homage to Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake. DETAILS

Wake up to gorgeous vistas of the Imperial Palace Gardens, inviting you to linger just a little longer. With an innovative open-plan layout, these suites are tailored for intimacy, from sharing breakfast in-suite to raising a toast to Tokyo's after-dark glamour.DETAILS

Elevated on the 38th floor, our ultra-luxurious Imperial Suite offers a panoramic array of palace views. A sophisticated Japanese aesthetic flows through the palatial interiors, illuminated by natural light in the day and ultra-modern chandeliers at night. Host up to eight guests for a sit-down dinner, tend to emails in the welcoming study and unwind with a Four Seasons massage in your private treatment room. This suite may also be configured as a three-bedroom suite. Please contact the Hotel for more information. DETAILS

Get to know Tokyo’s next-generation luxury hotel with 15% off our Room Rate, daily breakfast, a special dinner, and more.

OFFER VALID FOR: JUL 1 2020 – JAN 1 2021
  • 15% off our Room Rate
  • Daily buffet breakfast for two
  • Dinner for two (once per stay)
  • 15% off food and soft drinks in the Hotel's dining outlets
  • 15% off treatments in the Spa

In vibrant Tokyo, where the ancient meets the hypermodern, we create opportunities for our guests to feel the sensory excitement of discovering the city’s intriguing blend of old and new together. Our engaging team offers highly personalized service, enabling us to open doors to little-known local experiences that connect each of our guests to the true spirit of Tokyo.

Discover a resplendent world of gardens, galleries and historical ruins just steps from the Hotel. Embark on a private guided tour of the Imperial Palace grounds, erstwhile site of Edo Castle and current residence of the royal family. In spring, the moat is lined with cherry blossom trees in full bloom – perfect for the traditional Japanese pleasure of hanami (flower viewing).

Let our local experts give you the inside scoop on the best flavours in town – from steaming bowls of umami-infused ramen and freshly caught fish at bustling markets to hidden omakase spots where you leave the menu entirely up to the chef. Epicures, bring your appetites.


Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dreaming of Beverly Hills

It is no secret we are in the midst of a worldwide storm. But rather than allowing events to dampen our spirits, we are choosing to find the light. During these unprecedented times of stillness, we have been given an important gift that we often seek: the luxury of time. Time to imagine. Time to create. Time to dream. Time to plan for a healthier, brighter future.

The world is undoubtedly shifting, but what will never change is our status as a destination of singular, storied luxury. When the storm is over, Beverly Hills will be here to provide you with experiences that are as expert and refined as they are warm and inviting.

The sun will shine again, and when it does, we cannot wait to welcome you back.


Keen caravan and camping fans are being encouraged to keep the magic alive this Easter by enjoying a different kind of holiday at home. 

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) has launched a 'Camp At Home Heroes' campaign to inspire the travel community to think outside the box and embrace the fun, educational and family connection that comes with caravan and camping experiences. 

CIAA data shows more than 300,000 Australians usually go camping over Easter Weekend but this year they suggest a holiday at home could mean ‘a backyard tent, a caravan in the driveway, or even a home-made cubby in the living room’. 

To get involved, families are encouraged to visit the Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Facebook page for competitions and tips to camp at home and to share videos and images with the tag #holidayathome #campathomeheroes


Our hearts go out to you amid the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It cannot be overstated how difficult this time is for the global community, for the industry that is grinding to a halt, for your clients, for your companies, and for each of us as individuals. We will look back upon this period as a defining time for our era. The travel industry is experiencing the greatest reduction in business in our lifetimes.

Please see specific information about the member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion below: Cambodia. PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam

Travel around the world continues to be affected by the novel corona virus.
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office would like to inform its partners on the latest developments around COVID-19. We are constantly gathering updates on the measures taken by the different destination countries to stop the spreading of COVID-19.

The outbreak of the corona virus has hit some destinations particularly hard, as a stark decline in Chinese Outbound tourists, and a general fear of travelling, especially to some destinations in Asia. While nobody can predict when things turn back to normal, or if we need to adapt to a new reality in travel, destinations can do a few things during this time, instead of solely focusing on declining numbers and fear:

Diversify Source Markets: We have seen many destinations have relied dangerously on the Chinese market. And when it comes to the Chinese market, many destinations have focused on easy to capture, but less profitable mass tour groups, that showed nice growth numbers. Diversifying should be one of the biggest lessons from the coronavirus, and even within China, there are multiple market segments that drive more yield and sustainability. Develop a robust Feeder Market Channel Strategy vs the usual market segmentation channel strategy. Focus on your short-haul feeder-markets and especially on your drive-in feeder markets. Why? People will continue to travel, especially on short-haul and shorter stay trips.

Develop Sustainability Strategies and Programs: Now is also a good time to step back and look at developing more robust and scalable digital platforms, reduce single-use plastic and food waste, and revamp your product and distribution strategies. Implementing sustainability strategies sometimes is not always top priority, especially when business is good and the hectic of the day to day operations makes implementation challenging. Many of these programs can result in financial benefits in the long-term, in addition to saving the planet.

Leverage Industry Association and Partnerships: For destinations in the Mekong Region, taking advantage of the free or low-cost programs of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. Also, organizations like the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has various services in the region, as well as other travel industry associations. This is a way to collaborate as judging from the past SARS outbreak, individual destination campaigns are unlikely to be very effective with long-haul travellers, even if the destinations are virus-free. North American and European travellers will be hesitant to return to Asia until it is completely safe. Now is the time to collaborate to work together in restoring confidence and rebuilding business. This cannot be done alone in silos but has to be done in partnership as a united industry.

Assess risks and prepare solutions to potential challenges in advance. Destinations have to assess potential risks and prepare for potential emergency cases in advance. This does not only apply for cases such as COVID-19 or natural disasters. It can also be responses to over-crowding of destinations or environmental emergencies. Destinations have to take long-term look and opportunities and challenges and prepare in advance. We are working with destinations to support them in their strategies and align them throughout the region.

As many destinations have relied on the Chinese outbound market, the effect has resulted in a drastic decline in tourism numbers.

Recommended Resources

Please see below for updates about travel requirements in each of our six GMS member countries:

There are no travel restrictions issued by the Cambodian government. Officials perform temperature screenings on arriving travellers at international airports.

The General Department of Waterway And Maritime Transport, and Ports of Cambodia has announced that from the 13th Mar 2020 until future notice, all international tourist cruises are not allowed to enter Cambodia.

The Cambodian government has announced a temporary entry stop for Italian, German, Spanish, French and American citizens for a period of 30 days starting from Tuesday the 17th of March till 16th April 2020.

Last updated on March 20:
Passengers arriving from France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain or USA are not allowed to enter Cambodia. – This does not apply to nationals and residents of Cambodia. Nationals and residents of Cambodia, diplomats and officials of foreign embassies and international organizations and their family members who have a Diplomatic Visa Type A and Official Visa Type B who live or have been in France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain or USA in the past 14 days will be quarantined for 14 days. – This does not apply to airline crew.

Other nationalities can technically still arrive however given the introduction of quarantine measures in which travellers can get caught up, we advise nationalities other than the 5 above to POSTPONE any travel to CAMBODIA until 31 March 2020. Read more

Last updates on temporary closure for 18th of March

Phnom Penh
  • The National Museum is closed until further notice.
  • The S21 Toul Sleng Museum is closed until further notice.
  • The Killing Fields are closed until further notice.
  • Wat Phnom is closed until further notice.
  • The Royal Palace is closed until further notice.
  • The Silver Pagoda is closed until further notice.
  • The Angkor National Museum is closed until further notice.

Official Tourism Department Website

Last updated on March 25:
Effective 00:00 local time 28 March 2020, passengers are not allowed to transit or enter China (People’s Rep.).
– This does not apply to nationals of China (People’s Rep.).
– This does not apply to passengers with a diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visa.
– This does not apply to passengers with a visa issued after 28 March 2020.

All passengers arriving at PEK will have a PCR test and be quarantined at the designated location in Beijing for 14 days.

Passengers who live in or have been in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Korea (Rep.), Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom or USA in the past 14 days arriving at Shanghai Pudong (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) must undergo 14-day quarantine at home or in designated places for medical observation.

Passengers who have not been in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Korea (Rep.), Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom or USA in the past 14 days arriving at Shanghai Pudong (PVG) or Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) must undergo a Nucleic Acid Testing.

Passengers who live in or have been in France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep.), Spain or USA in the past 14 days arriving at Guangzhou (CAN) or Shenzhen (SZX) must undergo 14-day quarantine at home or in designated places for medical observation. All passengers arriving at SZX will have a PCR test.

All passengers arriving at XMN will be quarantined for medical observation at the designated hotels for 14 days on their own expenses.
– This does not apply to passengers under 18 years old, passengers above 70 years old, pregnant women and passengers suffering from illness. They must apply for permission to undergo a 14-day quarantine at home. Source

China has banned outbound tourist groups and individuals.

Authorities have introduced preventative measures across China, including temperature checks at transport hubs and other locations; quarantine arrangements for travel between different parts of the country; and restrictions on travel between and within cities.

Many tourist attractions are closed, in addition to other public and private entities such as schools and businesses.

On Wednesday (March 11), Beijing announced a 14-day mandatory quarantine on all international travellers arriving in the Chinese capital.

Meanwhile, international business travellers will be required to stay at a select number of designated hotels in Beijing where they will be tested for the virus. They will not be allowed to leave until their test results have been returned.

Countrywide, passengers arriving from Iran, Italy, Japan or Korea and travelling to Beijing, Guangzhou, or Shanghai are subject to quarantine for 14 days. Read more
Official Tourism Department Website

Lao PDR has suspended flights to China. There are no official restrictions for travellers entering Laos.

Lao PDR has sealed off Golden Triangle roads at the borders with China and Myanmar.

Last updated on March 20:
The government of Laos has announced that travellers who are unable to leave Laos because of the COVID-19 outbreak, can extend their tourist visa at the provincial immigration offices.

The fee would be the same as for a regular extension, and the process would take 24 hours. Source

Last updated on March 19:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic presents its compliments to all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to the Lao PDR and has the honour to inform the latter that in response to the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, the Lao PDR will further implement the visa measures, beyond those already in place, to reduce the risk of importation of the virus to the Lao PDR as follows:

1. Suspend issuing visa on arrivals for all nationals

2. Suspend issuing Tourist Visa at Lao Diplomatic Mission Overseas

3. Suspend issuing eVisa

4. Suspend practising of visa exemption for nationals of ASEAN countries and nationals of countries that signed agreement on visa exemption both unilateral and bilateral with the Lao PDR ( excluding holders of diplomatic and official passports)

5. Issue visas for visitors who intended to visit the Lao PDR with non tourist purposes only. Visitors will have to submit requisite information on their health and related documents to the Lao diplomatic missions in the country they are resident for approval before the intended date of travel. Visitors who arrive in the Lao PDR without the necessary approval will be denied entry into the country. Application form on health declaration will be available on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs“ ”

The above mentioned measures will enter into force from 00 hour of 20th March 2020, PM to 00 hour of 20th April 2020, PM.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic avails itself of this opportunity to renew to all Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to the Lao PDR in Vientiane the assurances of its highest consideration. Source

Official Tourism Department Website

Last updated on March 25:
Additional Precautionary Restrictions for travellers from all countries visiting Myanmar
With a view to preventing importation and spread of COVID-19, the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar is obliged to take additional precautionary measures to control and limit the risk that travellers from all countries may pose to the populations in Myanmar.
The following additional temporary restrictive measures will take effect for incoming travellers from all countries starting from 25 March 2020, 0000 hours (Myanmar standard time) –

2.1 All incoming Myanmar nationals from any country will be subject to a 14-day facility quarantine on their arrival in Myanmar.

2.2 All foreign nationals travelling to Myanmar are required to present laboratory evidence of absence of CoVii)-i9 infection issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel before boarding any airline destined for Myanmar. They will be subject to a 14-day facility quarantine on their arrival in Myanmar.

2.3 All diplomats accredited to Myanmar and United Nations officials working in Myanmar are also required to present laboratory evidence of absence of COVID-19 infection issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel before boarding any airline destined for Myanmar. They will be subject to home quarantine for 14 days on their arrival in Myanmar.

This notification shall supersede the precautionary measures announced earlier.

Last updated on March 24:
Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has shut all border checkpoints to foreign visitors. The temporary closure remains in place until further notice. Read more
All visa issuances are suspended until 30 April 2020.

Nationals of China (People’s Rep.) are not allowed to transit Myanmar without a visa.

Effective 25 March 2020:
Passengers will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.
Passengers must have a lab test proving they are free from Coronavirus (COVID-19).
– This does not apply to nationals of Myanmar. Source

Last updated on March 18:
The government of Myanmar has announced that all entertainment venues such as KTV, movie theatres, night clubs, spas, and massage parlours are closed until further notice. Source

Latest updated on March 16:
The Myanmar government is preparing to quarantine or turn away tourists from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and Iran, the countries that have been hit the worst by COVID-19, according to the Union of Myanmar Travel Association on Sunday (March 15).
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has ordered the closure of all preschools and nurseries starting March 16 until the end of April as part of the efforts to protect people from COVID-19 pandemic.
The Central Bank of Myanmar announced March 13 that the implementation of a 0.5 percent cut in interest rates will start on Monday (March 16), instead of April 1 as originally planned.
The Myanmar Rice Federation announced on March 13 it will ensure a steady supply of grains in the local market to support demand. It also said the public need not worry about rice shortages as Myanmar has sufficient reserves. Dealers will continue distributing rice at normal prices. Read more
Sunday 15 March
The government of Myanmar has issued a 14 days quarantine on arrival for citizens of the following nations AND for travellers having visited these countries: China, Italy, Iran, S-Korea, Spain, Germany, France. We advise ALL travellers to POSTPONE any travel to MYANMAR EFFECTIVE today Sunday 15th March until 31 March 2020. We will keep you updated if travel to Myanmar and vis policies are able after this date. Source

Travellers from outbreak regions are asked to report to the Airport Quarantine Desk to fill in a medical report form. Upon arrival at the point of entry, Travellers are subject to primary fever screening. Temperature checks are also set up at hotels and shopping malls.

No restrictions have been put in place for tourist attractions.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended visas-on-arrival for Chinese travellers to Myanmar. Read more   Official Tourism Department Website

Last updated on March 27:

The Office of International Cooperation, Department of Disease Control (DDC), Ministry of Public Health has opened a dedicated hotline for foreigners in Thailand to inquire about COVID-19 related matters at +66 (0) 96 847 8209 or +66 (0) 92 726 0474, from 08.00 – 20.00 Hrs. Thailand local time.

DDC previously handled all inquiries from both Thais and foreigners via the main Hotline 1422. Read more

Last updated on March 24:
Thailand closes border checkpoints. Read more

Last updated on March 23:
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update that the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health has updated its list of ongoing local transmission areas regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), including affected areas reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Read more

Starting from the 22nd of March at 00 h 00, the following measures will be in effect in Thailand:

For foreign nationals:
  • All passengers must be able to produce a Health Certificate certifying that they are not infected. This document must be issued within 72 hours of the departure time.
  • All passengers must have health insurance for minimum medical coverage of 100 000 USD in Thailand and covers the treatment of COVID-19.

Thai Nationals returning to Thailand:
  • All passengers must be able to produce a Health Certificate certifying that they are fit to fly.
  • All passengers must have a letter issued by the Royal Thai Embassy, Thai Consular Office or Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kingdom of Thailand certifying that the passenger is Thai National returning to Thailand. Read more

On March 20
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update that the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has upgraded its notification on the practical guidelines for airlines operating international flights to Thailand in its intensified effort to support Thailand’s nationwide surveillance measures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Issued on 19 March 2020
effective from Sunday, 22 March, 2020, at 00.00 Hrs. Thailand local time onwards, the CAAT’s upgraded guidelines now require all airlines to check the required documentation from foreign travellers regardless of their flight origins.

Upon flight check-in, all foreign travellers must present a health certificate issued no more than 72 hours prior to the date of travel certifying that they pose no risk of being infected by the COVID–19. Each traveller must also present a health insurance policy with a minimum medical coverage of US$ 100,000 in Thailand of COVID-19. Read more

On March 18
The Government of Thailand has announced the following measures:
  • Thai New Year, or Songkran, holidays and celebrations, from the 13th to the 15th of April, 2020, are postponed until further notice.
  • 14-day closure of universities, international schools and tutorial schools, from the 18th to 31st of March, 2020.
  • Temporary closure of Muay Thai stadiums, sports stadiums, horse race tracks, cinemas, pubs/bars, and entertainment venues in Bangkok and the vicinity until further notice.
  • The hosting of events and activities which attract large crowds; such as, concerts, exhibitions and trade fairs, and religious, cultural and sports events, will be up to the discretion of each provincial governor and the local communicable disease control office.

For venues that need to remain open, including shopping venues, markets and office buildings, the government has asked for stricter surveillance measures. Operators of shops and restaurants are also asked to implement stricter screening and cleanliness. Source

On March 15, The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide clarification on our recent update issued on 13 March 2020, titled “Thailand temporarily suspends visas for 21 countries to contain COVID-19,” especially for passport holders of South Korea, Hong Kong SAR and Russia. Read more

Upon arrival at the point of entry, travellers are subject to primary fever screening by thermo scanners and infrared thermometers and a questionnaire on their travel history and contact information. Travellers with no fever will receive a health beware card and be allowed to enter the country. Travellers with a body temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius and who have COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated and transferred to a designated hospital for quarantine or treatment. Travellers who have been in contact or seated in the close vicinity of the suspected cases will be followed up for 14 days in accordance with the disease prevention and control standards.

Thailand has recently announced the visa on arrival cancellation for 18 countries and visa exemption of three countries including South Korea, Italy, and Hong Kong. Read more

The Airports of Thailand (AOT) has stepped up its surveillance, prevention and control measures for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Don Mueang Airport. Aimed at ensuring health confidence among travellers, the enhanced measures at Don Mueang Airport include extra screening points with handheld thermometers at:
  • Immigration’s passport control, International Departures, Level 3, International Passenger Terminal 1
  • Security screening, Domestic Departures, Level 3, Domestic Passenger Terminal 2
  • Entry screening, Domestic Arrivals, Level 1, Domestic Passenger Terminal 2

The extra screening points are in addition to the entry screening points at the International Arrivals, Level 1, International Passenger Terminal 1.

Due to the extra screening, travellers are advised to arrive at Don Mueang Airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure time.

Read more

The Airports of Thailand (AOT) has stepped up its surveillance, prevention and control measures for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The enhanced measures include:
  • 5 entry screening points with thermal scans and handheld thermometers
  • 2 at the Arrival Concourse D.
  • 3 at the Immigration’s passport control.
  • 4 departure screening points with thermal scans and handheld thermometers
  • 1 at the security screening, International Departures Zone 3.
  • 1 at the Immigration’s passport control, Fast Track Lane, International Departures Zone 3.
  • 1 at the Immigration’s passport control, Fast Track Lane, International Departures Zone 2.
  • 1 at the Immigration’s passport control, International Departures Zone 1. 
Read more Official Tourism Department Website

Last updated on March 22:
  • From March 22 until further notice, Vietnam has temporarily suspended entry for all foreign nationals, as well as Vietnamese and their spouses and children holding visa exemption certificates. Vietnam will not be issuing visas or allowing entry to travellers at this time. Read more

Last updated on March 20:
  • Vietnam Airlines will temporarily suspend all international flights within its network until the estimated date of the 30th of April, 2020.
  • Flights connecting Vietnam and China, Hongkong, Macau, South Korea, France, Russia, Malaysia, and Taiwan have been halted.
  • Flights to and from Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar will be halted from the 21st of March.
  • Flights to and from the UK and Japan will be temporarily suspended from the 23rd of March.
  • Flights to Germany and Australia will be stopped from the 24th while those returning to Vietnam will be halted from the 25th of March. Read more

Last updated on March 18:
Vietnam Airlines has announced it will suspend its flights to France starting from the 17th of March until further notice. The national carrier added that their flights between Vietnam and Malaysia will be suspended from the 18th until the 31st of March because of the Malaysian government’s temporary border closure announcement.

The government of Vietnam has announced measures in the following provinces:
  • Binh Thuan: all boats, all accommodations, all tourist sites, and all restaurants are closed until further notice.
  • Ha Giang: all accommodations, all tourist sites, and all restaurants are closed until further notice.
  • Dong Nai: all tourist sites, and all entertainment venues are closed until further notice.
  • Phu Quoc: Aquatopia Water Park (Hon Thom) is closed until further notice. The Hon Thom cable car remains open.

Latest update on March 15: Starting at 12 PM Sunday, 15 March 2020 (for 30 days), no entry to visitors from the European Schengen Area and U.K, or visitors coming from these countries, is allowed. Visitors travelling through or coming from China, South Korea, and Iran will also be denied entry. Visa-on-arrival for all foreigners will not be possible.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has removed Vietnam from the list of destinations with risk of community spread.

Upon arrival at the point of entry, travellers are subject to primary fever screening by thermo scanners and infrared thermometers and a questionnaire on their travel history and contact information. Travelers with no fever will receive a health beware card and be allowed to enter the country. Travelers with a body temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius and who have COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated and transferred to a designated hospital for quarantine or treatment. Travellers who have been in contact or seated in the close vicinity of the suspected cases will be followed up for 14 days in accordance with the disease prevention and control standards. All flights to and from mainland China on all airlines have been indefinitely suspended by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam. Flights connecting to Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan are operational with many airlines running reduced routes. Read more

Travellers arriving from as well as those who have transited through South Korea are required to submit medical declarations upon arrival in Vietnam, and may be placed in quarantine if showing symptoms of the virus.

Travellers who have transited through mainland China, and outbreak areas of South Korea within the past 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam.

The Italian Embassy has confirmed that visitors from Italy and Iran will be placed under quarantine for 15 days, or will be asked to return to their port of departure. Italian citizens arriving from other countries are asked to fill in a form upon arrival and undergo a temperature check. Each case will be decided upon separately by the Vietnamese Immigration Police.

Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific have announced they will temporarily waive flight change and refund fees for passengers flying to or from Chinese cities until further notice.

Vietnam Airlines and Air Seoul have reduced flights between South Korea and Vietnam, while Bamboo Airways’ routes from Nha Trang and Đà Nẵng to Seoul are cancelled indefinitely from February 26.

Visitors from other affected countries may be subjected to restrictions at the discretion of the Vietnamese government.

The following events have been cancelled or postponed:
Yen Tu Festival in Quang Ninh – Cancelled
Tam Chuc Festival in Ha Nam – Cancelled
Tran Temple Festival in Nam Dinh – Cancelled
Huyen Tran Festival in Hue – Cancelled
Da Nang International Fireworks Festival 2020 – Cancelled
Activities for Visit Vietnam Year 2020 in Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu – Postponed
Huế Festival 2020 – Postponed to August 28, 2020
Da Lat Sufferfest – Postponed
Quang Binh Marathon – Postponed
Techcombank Ha Noi Marathon – Postponed
Sunrise Sprint – Postponed to May 3, 2020
Vietnam’s inaugural Formula One Grand Prix is postponed. New dates will be announced later on this year.
Pedestrian and walking zones in Hue and Hanoi — common gathering places for locals and tourists — will be closed until the situation improves.
Official Tourism Department Website

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Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road
National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853