“It’s time to travel again”: Optimism, camaraderie at Asia Now event  

Lu said Air Canada has kept its ties with Asian countries strong, noting that the airline has built relationships with other carriers in the region to offer comprehensive coverage of two key Canadian cities, Toronto and Vancouver, the West Coast gateway to Asia .

Lu repeated what many of the agents in attendance said – that it’s been a tough road through the pandemic, but the agents are seeing market return and greater willingness from customers to travel again.

A common comment from all four tourism associations present was that COVID travel restrictions and quarantine requirements will be relaxed for vaccinated arrivals, making it easier to enter and exit countries. They also found their destinations to be good value against the strong Canadian dollar.

Toronto-based Randy Snape, deputy director of the Korea Tourism Office (KTO), told agents that as of Sept. 8, the Canadian dollar was equal to KRW 1,058, South Korea’s official currency. “That’s a lot of bang for your buck,” he said. Agents should consider adding Seoul as a stopover for those traveling to other Asian locations, he added.

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KTO, which was present at the mini-exhibition that accompanied the presentations and dinner at the September 16 event, offered the agents Visit Korea’s official travel guide as well as information on UNESCO sites. Contact Snape at [email protected] for more details.

Soleil P. Tropicales, tourism attaché for the Philippines, told agents that the Philippines can offer a range of adventure and diving activities. The Canadian dollar also goes a long way, she added. “You can buy a beer for a Canadian dollar,” she said. While Tropicales is based in San Francisco, she attended the event along with Vancouver-based Lyra E. Ocampo, Consulate General for the Philippines.

Vancouver-based Taiwan Tourism Bureau marketing specialist James Chi told agents Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world. “Even at night,” he said, adding that it’s also culturally diverse; It is recognized as a Muslim-friendly country and was the first Asian country to recognize same-sex marriages.

Whether it’s for a day tour or a week-long stay, there are a range of tours that can be arranged for clients in Taiwan, Chi said, including cycling, which is popular with tours around the island. Contact Chi at [email protected]

Jayne Yeo, who represents the Singapore Tourism Board from the San Francisco office, said Singapore has never been easier to travel than it is now as it is open to the vaccinated and unvaccinated and has no quarantine restrictions.

Also, she said, Singapore serves as a base to visit a number of surrounding countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, and “most are quarantine-free.” Gregory Yap from the San Francisco office was also present representing Singapore. Yeo can be reached at [email protected]

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