Explore Southeast Asia’s evolving tourism trends with insights from Luzi Matzig, Chairman of Asian Trails. Learn about post-COVID recovery, emerging markets, special interest travel, and the role of associations like PATA in shaping the region’s tourism industry.
In a recent interview with TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific, Luzi Matzig, Chairman of Asian Trails, shared valuable insights into the evolving tourism landscape in Southeast Asia. With over 52 years of experience in the travel and hospitality industry, Matzig provided a comprehensive overview of the current state and future prospects of tourism in the region.
Recovery and Challenges
Matzig highlighted that despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable recovery in several Southeast Asian countries. Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore have seen significant improvements, while countries like Myanmar are still struggling due to limited international flight connections.
Matzig discussed the return of Russian tourists to Thailand, as they are welcomed with open arms, contrasting with their reception in Europe. The Chinese market, while not fully back, is expected to recover with Thailand’s cancellation of visa fees for Chinese tourists. Additionally, new markets like India and Saudi Arabia are emerging, offering new opportunities for the tourism industry.
Future of Tourism
When discussing the future of tourism in Southeast Asia, Matzig acknowledged the global concern of over-tourism but emphasized that Thailand has ample unexplored beach destinations to accommodate visitors. He noted a shift from cultural tourism to leisure tourism, with European tourists spending more extended periods on the beaches.
Special Interest Travel
Matzig highlighted the rise of special interest travel, such as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) tourism and the growing popularity of bicycle tours combined with river cruises. He emphasized that MICE tourists tend to spend more, making it an attractive segment for the industry.
Role of Associations like PATA
Reflecting on his role as a lifelong member of PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association), Matzig acknowledged the challenges associations face due to online accessibility of information. He suggested that associations should focus on providing specialized services, such as MICE support and destination development.
In conclusion, Matzig acknowledged the irreversible trend of online bookings but emphasized the continued need for travel specialists in complex travel scenarios. He suggested that travel agencies specialize in specific regions or types of travel to provide valuable expertise. Matzig also shared his experience as a pilot, running VIP charter flights, including air ambulance services, providing a unique perspective on the industry.
Luzi Matzig’s extensive experience and insights shed light on the resilience and adaptability of Southeast Asia’s tourism industry as it navigates through challenges and embraces new opportunities.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.