PETALING JAYA: Capital A Bhd appealed to Asian governments to further ease travel restrictions to revive the global economy.
Capital A, which is the holding company of AirAsia Aviation Group, notes that the world continues to reopen with higher vaccination rates currently.
“We thank the Asean governments for finally reopening the borders.
“This is an important first step in reviving economic growth.
“With a high percentage of people in Asean fully immunized, we believe it is time to revisit the onerous deterrents that still stifle air travel, including extensive pre-departure and arrival testing requirements. , extra paperwork and expensive Covid travel insurance,” Capital A for Commerce President Colin Currie said in a statement.
He added that tourism is a major economic contributor for many countries in ASEAN and beyond.
“For ASEAN as a whole, the tourism sector accounts for 13% of the aggregate gross domestic product of the grouping and 6% of total employment. Reviving the tourism sector is therefore essential to support the livelihoods of the people,” he said.
“The majority of the world is now fully vaccinated and a significant portion have also received boosters,” he noted.
AirAsia Aviation Group Chief Executive Bo Lingam highlighted the high costs of Covid-19 testing in many countries.
“It is sad to see that some of our airfares are cheaper than the Covid-19 tests required by many countries in Asia, which makes the overall cost of air travel burdensome for most of the ordinary travelers we serve. Testing requirements, including the number and type of tests involved, must be constantly reviewed to ensure they remain relevant, without burdening travelers or compromising public health,” Bo said.
The group also said a key issue currently facing air travelers is the additional paperwork and various non-standardized entry applications required by different countries.
“These should also be urgently reviewed, as current processes tend to duplicate and confuse travellers.
“This is in addition to the superfluous requirement for Covid-19 travel insurance still imposed by many countries.
“We would like to commend Singapore, Cambodia, Australia and India for leading the way in removing this requirement to attract more visitors to their respective countries,” he said.
He also said the global air transport recovery is well underway.
“We are happy to see that many countries are already making travel easier and friendlier for tourists. Countries that persist in trying to block the disease instead of managing it risk losing significant economic benefits,” Bo said.
He noted that countries like Cambodia and India have completely scrapped testing requirements and reduced paperwork for entry applications, while travelers to Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia and in the Philippines are required to take a Covid-19 test, either before departure or upon arrival.
“Malaysia is about the only ASEAN country that still requires two tests, both before departure and upon arrival, which we sincerely hope the government will urgently reconsider,” he said. he declares.
AirAsia said it was continuing to play its part in the recovery by seeking ways to make air travel as affordable and hassle-free as possible for customers, including completely contactless procedures at airports and in the air.
“Just last week, we announced a partnership with leading local provider Medijaya, to provide more affordable and convenient testing facilities in Malaysia, which we hope to similarly roll out to other destinations soon.” , did he declare.
“We will continue to work closely with respective governments, regulators and industry partners across Asia and the Pacific and thank them for their support as we work together to reduce air travel frictions in order to stimulate demand and help revive the economy as a whole,” Bo added.