Ep 20: justsaying with Rachael Harding, Club Med’s CEO of ESAP – Reopening Asia Pacific Travel

The announcement of the new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) n Singapore marks the first sign of real recovery for Asia Pacific’s (APAC) travel industry. This would be the first time that Singapore residents can go for quarantine-free leisure travel since travel borders were shut almost one and a half years ago.

Compared to the rest of the world, Asia has taken a much more cautious approach to the resumption of travel, while countries in the other regions have already been experimenting with the reopening of borders much earlier.

Having already seen strong domestic travel picking up within several Asian countries toward the end of 2020, Club Med predicts that APAC travel will pick up as we close 2021 and has already been preparing its resorts in the region for a swift, decisive and impactful rebound since the close of 2020.

While this delay in Asia’s reopening has led to a decrease of about 80.3% in APAC’s cross-border air travel in 2020, bringing losses to various industries and tourism-reliant countries in the region, Club Med strongly believes that the delay will prove beneficial to APAC’s travel and hospitality in the long run.

We speak to Rachael Harding, Club Med’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of East and South Asia & Pacific (ESAP) about the outlook and impact of reopening of APAC with the new VTL implementation and the lessons that Club Med took from their successes and failures.

Rachael also shares how Club Med is refining processes to ensure a stronger and safer environment for travellers from enhanced hygiene processes and flexible booking and refund policies, to vaccination and regulatory measures and considerations, and its plans for expansion in the regions to provide travellers even more options over the next 5 years starting with their first greenfield beach resort in South East Asia.

Club Med targets a full re-opening of all its resorts in APAC by the end of 2021.

Listen to all the episodes of the ‘justsaying with…’ podcast on Spotify