A round up of what’s new in the travel and technology industries, THE Wrap is designed to track developments in these sectors as companies adapt and reset to meet the challenges of the Coronavirus era

Thailand hires Agoda to expedite online hotel quarantine package bookings

Agoda’s special platform for the return of Thai and inbound travelers to book hotel quarantine packages

Thailand has automated the process of booking ASQ (Alternative State Quarantine) packages for returning Thais and inbound travelers through a partnership with the online booking platform Agoda.

Working with Thailand’s Ministry of Health (MOPH) and the Department of Health Service Support (HSS) “makes Thailand one of the first countries in the world to digitize the booking process” and accelerate the process, Agoda said in a statement.

ASQ is a mandatory quarantine period for arriving international visitors in government-approved hotels.

As part of this government initiative, arriving Thais and international visitors to Thailand can now search for and book real estate through an ASQ approved by MOPH dedicated booking platformThis enables the traveler to search for availability, room type and prices in real time. The packages include accommodation for 15 nights, three meals a day, two Covid tests, airport transfers and more.

ASQ properties listed on the Agoda platform are currently located in Bangkok, Chonburi and Phuket. More partners are expected to join the program in the coming months.

Tares Krassanairawiwong, HSS general director, said ASQ is an important mechanism that aims to benefit Thailand in two ways. Firstly, in controlling the spread of Covid and secondly, as an incentive to drive the economy forward by generating income for entrepreneurs.

“ASQ is helping to boost the country’s economy, as 113 hotels are participating as ASQ hotels and to date have generated a turnover of 1.2 billion baht for Thailand. ASQ facilities, which allow flexible selection of quarantine locations, can be a way of attracting foreign tourists from all over the world again and generating income for the country. “

John Brown, Agoda’s chief executive officer, added that this type of government-business collaboration enables fast and affordable delivery of products that are vital during the current crisis.

“We strive to improve and improve the travel experience every day. Technology is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we’re excited to be part of this groundbreaking project here in Thailand. “

In order for hotels to participate in the ASQ program, they must pass rigorous standard exams across six Department of Health and Defense Department categories. This includes safety protocols ensuring that staff on site are fully equipped with medical care and training, processes that minimize disruption to the general public, and an environmental management system to protect and control guests.

Asian NTOs are leaders in providing online travel resources for Muslim travelers

Asia’s tourism organizations are best online to tap into the growing Muslim travel market. (Photo credit: Gerold Grotelueschen / GettyI Magier)

National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) in Asia are most actively developing the growing Muslim travel market by making resources available online to meet its specific needs. This is evident from a recent study.

How online are NTOs for Muslim travelers in 2020 ?, so the report of the tourism consultancy Pear Andersonfocuses on the online resources that NTOs from the 50 most visited non-Muslim countries around the world have created to support Muslim-friendly travel. It also includes information on Muslim-friendly food, prayer rooms, and hotels.

The results of the study, a 2019 update, showed that 60% of the top 10 NTOs are from Asia, with Hong Kong and Taiwan taking first place together and Japan getting the highest score out of the way last year vacate.

Of the top 50, 46% have online resources for Muslim travelers, an increase of 21.7% over the previous year.

Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and Slovenia saw their 2020 scores increase significantly as they create new content, improve their search engine optimization, make Muslim-friendly information more accessible, and segment Muslim travelers by interest.

Six countries scored for the first time and were listed in the 2020 edition of the report: Germany, Greece, India, Macau, South Africa and the UK.

Hannah Pearson, director of Pear Anderson, said that while regional NTOs are placing more emphasis on Muslim-friendly travel, their European counterparts still have a long way to go in catching up.

“The Hong Kong Tourism Board and Taiwan Tourism Bureau have put serious emphasis on developing Muslim-friendly online resources, and their efforts have paid off by taking first place. Her leap into the rankings shows that it is not enough for an NTO to create Muslim-friendly online resources as a one-off project – there has to be continuous innovation to keep the news up to date, “she added.

The report also includes case studies from the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Tourism Australia, and industry best practices for Muslim-friendly online tourism resources.

Spending on Muslim travel is a significant and rapidly growing sector, rising to $ 194 billion in 2019, according to the 2020/2021 Global Islamic Economy Report.

• Download the 31-page report Here.

Fly Gangwon selects Saber as a GDS partner to expand its geographic presence

Fly Gangwon has international markets in its sights. (Image credit: Fly Gangwon)

As the national and regional travel sectors slowly recover, airlines step up their marketing to meet pent-up demand when borders are fully open to international visitors.

One airline that is doing this is a new South Korean low-cost airline Flying Gangwonwho chose saber as the first global GDS partner. The agreement will make the airline’s content available to travel agents worldwide for the first time, targeting a broader geographic market and reaching new customer segments

Fly Gangwon was launched in 2016 under the motto “Fly To Your Dream” and started its maiden flight from its base in Yangyang to Jeju in November 2019. It flies domestically and internationally to the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam. Three Boeing 737-800s are currently in use. The expansion plans include expanding the economies of scale to Vietnam and China.

“While we flew our first flight just a few months before the global impact of Covid-19, we remain focused on our goals of resuming existing routes and launching new routes to China as the momentum for travel to South Korea increases “said the SeongGil Choe, executive vice president of the airline

He added that the Saber GDS would allow the freight forwarder to grow its business by having “access to hundreds of thousands of agents around the world and the ability to effectively sell our products and services, including by-products.”

Rakesh Narayanan, Saber Vice President, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Travel Solutions Sales, said low-cost airlines like Fly Gangwon would play a key role in travel recovery as national and regional markets continue to recover first and fastest.

“LCCs will be critical to assisting the recovery of the hospitality industry and building confidence in re-flying so travelers will feel comfortable as they travel further afield and international routes reopen.”

• Selected image source: doomu / Getty Images