Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Europe and Southeast Asia Open Skies to Fuel Airline Expansion

1 year ago

The European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have signed a new open skies agreement aimed at recovering and expanding airline links between the two regions.

The agreement is unique as it covers two blocs of countries — the EU has 27 members and ASEAN 10 — rather than two countries or between the EU and, for example, the U.S. The agreement, unveiled Monday, will drop all restrictions on flights between the EU and ASEAN for airlines based in either region. It goes into effect immediately.

“It will support the aviation sector’s recovery after COVID-19 and restore much-needed connectivity,” EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said. She added that the agreement provides a “platform” for the EU and ASEAN to collaborate on “economically, socially and environmentally sustainable aviation.”

The departure board at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport
The departure board at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. (Ronald Yeo/Flickr)

Airlines based in ASEAN, which includes Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, are currently the largest in the market. Singapore Airlines and and Thai Airways flew the most passenger capacity between the blocs this year, according to scheduled data from Diio by Cirium. KLM and Lufthansa are third and fourth, respectively.

The agreement also appears to be a way for the EU to offer its own airlines a leg up in competition with the Gulf carriers, which include Emirates and Qatar Airways that carry large numbers of connecting passengers between the two regions. The bloc described the pact as helping “EU and ASEAN airlines to compete with competitors targeting the lucrative EU-ASEAN market.”

Airline capacity between the EU and ASEAN will be down 28 percent compared to 2019 in the fourth quarter, Diio data show.

Ground Transport

Southeast Asian Destinations Steer Tourists Towards Road Trip Holidays

1 year ago

In a bid to encourage tourists to explore the region by road, the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have come up with a driving tourism manual.

The guidebook contains information on driving in Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam and also includes a list of suggested tour routes.

Available for free download, the guidebook is an initiative under the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, with Thailand’s Department of Tourism as its main coordinator.

The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, sought to implement the agreement on the recognition of domestic driving licenses issued by ASEAN members states to promote drive/overland tourism across the region.

The information in the manual has been collated to help make the self-drive journey a seamless one among destinations in the region, based on connectivity, openness and mutual sharing of tourism experiences.

Designed to help driving tourists create their own itineraries, the guidebook contains information to help tourists traveling to Southeast Asia by land, including visa and entry requirements, vehicle permits, cross-border procedures, required documents, speed limits as well as emergency contact numbers.

A map also indicates the countries that drive on the left side of the road and those that drive on the right side.

To encourage tourists to explore lesser-known destinations, the guidebook also recommends self-drive routes for each country covering major highlights and second-tier destinations, and cross-border routes combining different countries.

The self-drive tourism manual is meant for travellers coming from within Southeast Asia as well as for international tourists coming from other continents, Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand said in a press statement on Monday.

“International travelers could, for example, combine a visit to Thailand with visits to Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, or Malaysia to be enjoyed at their own pace, along their own routes while exploring the many diverse cultures, attractions, and landscapes of this fascinating region,” Supasorn said.