The coronavirus not only exposes the varying political alignments between Asian governments with China, but also their different approaches to crisis communications, all of which would have knock-on impacts on travel confidence to a country.
The deadly coronavirus is proving to be an increasingly difficult issue for many Asian countries. Not only are the region’s governments facing a spreading virus outbreak that has surpassed the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in its fatality toll, they are also grappling with eroding trust among their populations as fallouts from the coronavirus deepen beyond tourism and the related industries.
As countries weigh the pros and cons between protecting citizens and their alignment with China, there is a remarkable disparity in how Asian governments have moved to restrict the entry of Chinese visitors as well as their approaches to crisis communication.
One particular standout is Singapore. When panic buying swooped across Singapore after the government raised the pandemic alert level last Friday, the country’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong issued a public statement to quell panic and anxiety, reminding residents that “fear can do more harm than the virus itself.” The Singaporean leader as well as the government have largely won praise for the country’s swift and firm handling of the coronavirus crisis.
While it’s unclear how long the virus outbreak will last, pragmatic Singapore, as the story below shows, could offer a playbook on how staying clean is the best policy in crisis management and attempting to retain traveler confidence.
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Asia Editor Xinyi Liang-Pholsena [[email protected]] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.
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Photo credit: With its wide array of attractions and safe image, Singapore is a magnate for leisure and business travelers alike. Singapore Tourism Board