Revitalising tourism in Southeast Asia

Meeting the challenges posed by COVID-19 in the tourism sector

Challenges faced by the tourism sector

Asia has experienced rapid growth in tourism primarily by sustained economic growth, regional cooperation and liberalised air travel prior to COVID-19. With international and domestic travel heavily restricted as a result of COVID-19, Asia Pacific is projected to be one of the most heavily hit regions in terms of tourism, facing potential losses of USD4.5 billion.

Some signs of positive recovery are showing. As vaccines are being rolled out across the globe and countries form bilateral travel bubbles, people are starting to travel domestically and internationally. But these are temporary measures amidst the uncertain evolution of the pandemic. The longer term challenges facing tourism still remain. As countries gradually restart to open their doors for international travel, some of the challenges that need to be addressed are:

  • transparent communication, as destinations will have to keep innovating and collaborating locally and globally
  • regular updates on health and safety protocols in alignment with local health authorities, governments, and institutions for international travel
  • understanding behavioural changes and better comprehension of how people traveling perceive risks.
Watch our webcast as panel of experts discuss how Southeast Asian countries can meet the COVID-19 challenges while finding opportunities for growth 
  • Jessica Shannon, Global Government & Public Sector Lead, PwC Ghana
  • Pieter van de Mheen, Consulting leader, PwC Indonesia
  • Steven Schipani, Principal Tourism Specialist (South East Asia), ADB
  • Liz Ortiguera, CEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association

Click here to watch

Identifying opportunities for growth

While this is a major crisis, there are opportunities to reconfigure and reposition the tourism sector for sustainable growth and differentiation, including areas such as:

  • Source market diversification (including a focus on domestic and regional tourism)
  • Rebranding and marketing to new customer segments
  • Linkages within domestic markets to build growth in other sectors
  • Sustainable and eco-tourism

To revitalise tourism in SEA, governments will need to develop flexible policies to balance public health and economic needs in phases. Travellers' confidence will recover as safety and hygiene protocols are set throughout the whole tourism value chain to reduce risks. Technology will also play a key role in restarting tourism by providing updated protocols and responsibilities through digital and social media. As we tackle the fundamental challenges of reopening the tourism sector safely to protect national populations, we can look forward to revitalised tourism in SEA.

Recovery across tourism subsectors require differentiated approaches based on COVID-19 impact


  • Aviation
  • Hospitality (accommodation, F&B)
  • Leisure (cruises, amusement parks)
  • Meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions
  • Culture, heritage and religious travel (museums, monuments, pilgrimages)
  • Luxury
  • Wellness and eco-tourism
  • Ground transportation and mass transit

Considerations to reopen subsectors

  • Crowd exposure and density
  • Typical activity duration
  • Infrastructure constraints and high-touchpoint areas
  • Average age of tourist
  • Screening protocols
  • Ability to utilise personal protective equipment

With deep knowledge of the Southeast Asian markets, governments and cultures and experience in global tourism and source markets, our team can help you to identify and address the unique challenges you face.

Our differentiator: industry-specific knowledge

Our clients work closely with us across each industry segment throughout their COVID-19 recovery efforts. You can expect us to provide a clear understanding of the unprecedented challenge and the urgent stabilisation requirements, as well as of longer-term strategies to support the industry whilst preserving public health needs. Gain insights on the unique opportunities for tourism destinations such as leveraging the potential of eco tourism and greater domestic tourism in SEA to emerge stronger.

PwC's Hospitality and Leisure practice provides strategic insights and expertise across all areas of the sector, including travel and tourism, gaming, lodging, marinas, sports facilities and teams, vacation ownership, franchise and management selection, lease structuring, lodging asset, valuation and appraisal. With our professionals located in all continents, you can gain insights into local and global knowledge and expertise.

Global footprint

With firms in over 155 countries and more than 284,000 people, our clients can look beyond traditional boundaries and embrace new horizons to achieve long-term sustainable impact.


PwC has supported the COVID-19 recovery work in the global tourism sector including:

  • Dubai
  • Jamaica
  • Barbados
  • Mexico
  • United States

How we can support you

Strategy and planning

  • Long-term national strategy
  • Policy options and incentives evaluation
  • Market segmentation, diversification and strategy
  • Covid-19 health and safety protocols
  • Public-private partnership models for recovery
  • Consensus building

Market studies

  • Feasibility studies for new tourism products
  • Impact assessments for tourism subsectors
  • Source market assessments and attractiveness surveys
  • Revenue modelling and analytics
  • Benchmarking against other tourism markets
  • Communications advice for recovery campaigns


  • Pilots and proof of concepts for reopening
  • Vaccination passport concepts
  • Recovery phasing of tourism avenues and assets
  • Digitisation for crowd and health management
  • Change management
  • Workforce planning and reskilling

Strategic project management and support for capital financing

Contact us

Tristan Hockley

Tristan Hockley

Asia Pacific Government and Public Sector (G&PS) Leader and Salesforce Practice Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9753 6736

Jessica Shannon

Jessica Shannon

Global Government and Public Sector Leader, PwC Ghana

Tel: +233 (0) 30 276 1500

Pieter van de Mheen

Pieter van de Mheen

Consulting Partner, PwC Indonesia

Tel: +62 21 509 92901

Edwina Chin

Edwina Chin

International Development Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9750 3775

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