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The last few years have been everything but relaxing for business travellers. During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, major restrictions were imposed virtually everywhere. And while the darkest hour appears to be behind us, some restrictions are still in place and can vary significantly among countries. Having to study rules and make adequate trip preparations is still a major source of stress among business travellers. 

In the long run, things are expected to continue to ease up. However, it’s undeniable that the pandemic has not only reshaped the workplace as we know it but also redefined our business travel experience. In this article, we will illustrate the state of post-pandemic business travel with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Malaysia

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Malaysia began reopening its borders in April 2022, and the country’s GDP growth recently beat all expectations by recording a +8.9% in the second quarter. Over the last decade, we have seen cities like Cyberjaya and Penang transform into global tech hubs. 

With the launch of the De Rantau pass on October 1, 2022, the country is also taking steps to attract an increasing number of talented digital nomads. It’s now very easy and affordable for digital workers to obtain a renewable multi-entry visa and make Malaysia their base. 

Not to mention that since August 2022 there have been no COVID-19 restrictions whatsoever for those travelling there.

Singapore

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As one of the major business centres in Asia, Singapore is an important hub for global business travel. A study conducted by Dojo declared Singapore as the world’s best city for business tourism.  

At the beginning of November, Singapore also organized the 2022 edition of its FinTech festival, the largest worldwide in its industry with participants arriving from more than 110 countries. Not to mention that Singapore is also a popular leisure destination

Currently, travellers don’t need testing to enter Singapore if they are minors born before January 1, 2010, or if they can prove they took the minimum WHO-EUL vaccine dosage within two weeks before entering the country. Other travellers must provide proof of a negative test, which must be in English, or have a notarized English translation attached.  

Vietnam

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Over the course of the last decades, Vietnam went from being one of the planet’s poorest countries to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Nowadays, it plays a major role in many industries, such as electronic manufacturing and textiles. Companies like IBM and Samsung now have an important presence in the country. 

There are two types of business visas you usually apply for when going to Vietnam for corporate travel needs. They both have a maximum duration of 3 months. A DN1 visa allows you to stay in Vietnam to work with organizations with legal status there, while a DN2 visa is designed for those who want to establish a business in the country.

Since May 15, 2022, travellers can travel freely to Vietnam without exhibiting a negative test or vaccination certificate. 

Indonesia

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Indonesia is another popular destination among digital nomads, that is, those who work online while travelling regularly. The province of Bali is particularly beloved by this group due to its stunning and incredibly diverse natural scenery.

While the country still doesn’t offer a specific visa to digital nomads, the government has recently declared that remote workers can use the B211A visa to stay in Indonesia for up to 6 months without having to pay taxes. 

As of September 2022, those entering Indonesia need to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19. There is no obligation to show a negative COVID-19 test.

South Korea

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As one of Asia’s most advanced economies, South Korea is obviously a key destination for business travellers. Samsung, Hyundai, and LG are only some of the major companies headquartered in the country. Korea’s thriving start-up scene is also worth mentioning. According to the World Economic Forum, South Korean start-ups attracted a staggering $6.4 billion in venture capital funding in 2021. 

Seoul, in particular, offers a mix of advanced infrastructure and friendly business culture. In the previously mentioned study by Dojo, the Korean capital ranks second in the global list of cities for business tourism. 

In March 2022, Korea began loosening social distancing rules and shifted towards treating the virus as endemic. As of October 2021, those travelling don’t need to provide a negative Coronavirus test or take a test upon arrival, but they are required to submit a health questionnaire. 

Thailand

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Thailand is the most visited country in Asia after China. In 2022, it is projected to receive more than 26 million tourists. While the tourism industry won’t reach its pre-pandemic levels before 2024, recovery is on the way, and visitors are again enjoying the country’s historical heritage and stunning natural beauty. 

This South-East Asian country is also a popular medical tourism destination. Its national health system ranks 47th in the WHO list, above various EU countries. Thailand’s hospitals combine the availability of highly-training medical personnel and cutting-edge medical devices with significant affordability by western standards.

The country is also a preferred destination for business meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (the so-called MICE industry) which makes it an important piece of the global corporate travel market. Since October 1, 2022, Thailand doesn’t impose any COVID travel restrictions on those entering the country. Corporate travel managers can again plan their MICE activities in Thailand without having to take extra steps due to the pandemic. 

India

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India is the 5th largest economy in the world, it produces 3.1% of the world’s manufacturing output, and it’s a key component of the global supply chain. The subcontinental country is also one of the fastest-growing technological hubs. Numerous Indian tech companies such as Digio and Whatfix are included in the latest Financial Times report on high-growth pacific businesses in APAC. 

Post-pandemic business travel gave a huge contribution to India’s travel recovery efforts in the post-COVID age. The country’s business travel market has been growing steadily over the years, with its value reaching 31.7 billion dollars in 2021. It’s also expected to continue to grow at a considerable rate and reach 55.2 billion dollars by 2027. 

COVID-19 restrictions tend to vary from state to state and can change with short notice. Therefore, it’s advisable to bring with you proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Hong Kong

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Harsh COVID-19 restrictions imposed over the last three years have taken their toll on Hong Kong’s long-standing status as one of the top financial centres on the planet. This has been exacerbated by protests against the Chinese government and China’s imposition of extended national security laws on the once-British territory. 

Both political tensions and the imposition of strict health rules are driving many Hongkongers away from home. The city recorded a 1.6% fall in its population over the past year. Officials from both local and national authorities are now taking steps to help the city recover its reputation as an international financial hub. Their strategy is to market Hong Kong as the only place on the globe where you can benefit from both the global advantage and the “China advantage.”

The website of the HK Special Administrative Region provides detailed information on all the steps those travelling to Hong Kong need to take. These include a full vaccination certificate.

Japan

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Japan’s economic importance in the global economy doesn’t need any presentation. Naturally, both domestic and international business travel is a fundamental factor in the functioning of the world’s third-largest economy. Like most countries, Japan saw its GDP drop considerably during the first year of the pandemic, but it recently managed to recover its pre-COVID size. 

The same can be said for its crucial tourism industry, which is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023. A recent and notable trend in Japan is referred to as a trip craze, and it’s the result of airlines and train companies offering tickets to random destinations at a huge discount. Corporate travel managers could see this as a very affordable option to motivate their company’s travelling workers by offering them a bonus leisure trip as part of their long business trip to Japan.

Visitors must exhibit a full vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 to be granted access to Japan

Australia

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Economic analysts have highlighted how the Australian economy weathered the pandemic storm better than most OECD countries.

The country is in the process of restoring the high number of international visitors it had before the pandemic, and it recently experienced a big uptick in both inbound and domestic travel. Business events are playing their part when it comes to post-pandemic business travel. This was highlighted in the latest industry report, which recorded a significant rebound. 

Currently, there is no need to provide a vaccination certificate when travelling to Australia.

Effective Management Tools for the Post-Pandemic Business Traveler

While business travel is almost opened up, the requirements and procedures needed can still vary considerably. Integrated and performance-optimizing travel management solutions like TruTrip can help you simplify the work of corporate travel managers and achieve significant savings. Test it for free by simply booking a demo and experiencing the benefits of next-level travel management tools.

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