Corporate Travel: Travelling For Work Within APAC

Fatihah Ramzi | 7 February 2022

With the opening of Vaccinated Travel Lanes, businesses are back to implementing business travel however, it is important to keep up with the COVID-19 measures of each country.

Despite continued restrictions relating to new COVID variants, many customers in APAC are adapting to the new normal of restrictions and regulations, and testing is now at a level for most to consider travelling. Overall consumer sentiment has become more confident as we have seen that more clients are now opting to postpone their trips rather than cancel as they did earlier during the pandemic, even though rules for various APAC countries are still constantly changing. This outlines a clear desire to return to travel and reconnect again.

The pandemic has changed the corporate travel experience and the dynamic transformation of the corporate travel industry has heightened the demand on firms to remain agile and innovative to survive. In their efforts to continuously innovate and spearhead travel recovery and growth in a COVID world, FCM has set out a roadmap for success, putting customer needs front and centre. This includes accelerated investment through a raft of new initiatives to fortify an already strong technology offering; and enhanced service capabilities to improve customer experience as we forge a path back to business travel in the months ahead.

“Two top priorities by most organizations in the new corporate travel landscape now include people-centric technology and traveller risk management.”

FCM Travel Spokesperson

As the world remerges, clients are faced with a new set of challenges: new variants and continued restrictions, geographically dispersed operations and a remote, reduced workforce are the new norm. Alongside the need for enhanced personal service and support, travel managers are also asking for powerful and intelligent tools to support their programmes that are adaptable and easy to use.

Unsurprisingly, as barriers to international movement lift and companies resume travel programmes, duty of care has been identified as a priority and will be the key to any successful corporate travel policy. This is backed by a recent survey of global travel managers in which 94% of respondents cited traveller safety as a key component for their travel programmes in the year ahead.

FCM Travel Spokesperson also added that , “Travel managers now require risk, safety and well-being to be prioritised 24/7/365 and enhanced duty of care support. This includes an improved ecosystem of communications that blends the latest technology and personal service to keep customers informed and supported at all times.”

With that being said, here are the various COVID-19 measures of the top five most popular APAC countries to travel to for business.


China

COVID Measures For Travelers

All travelers must show proof of two negative tests, PCR and antibody tests, done within 48 hours of their departure. Travelers must have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccinations at least 14 days before entering the country. They must apply for a visa in advance and present proof of immunization as well as negative testing upon arrival. At the airport, passengers are re-screened. Those who do not pass the background checks will be sent to government facilities. Upon arrival, you must then quarantine. Some locations require 14 days, while others require 21. This might happen at a government facility or in your own house.

Life has mostly returned to normal in China, but things can change quickly there: regional lockdowns have been implemented whenever new infections of the virus have emerged. The provincial government took drastic precautions after an outbreak of the Omicron type in the city of Xi’an, which is well known for its UNESCO-listed terracotta warriors, in late December 2021.

Tourism Activities

  • Due to the ongoing strict measures, tourism activities are still being held off. Will be updated once the measures in China have eased or lifted.

Hong Kong

COVID Measures For Travelers

In light of recent developments in the worldwide and local COVID-19 epidemics, the government has enacted a number of border control procedures for inbound travelers in order to create an anti-epidemic barrier and prevent the spread of cases. Upon arrival, all inbound travelers must pass temperature tests and complete health declarations. Those who show signs of illness will be referred to the Department of Health for further treatment.

Travellers will be obliged to stay in a specified quarantine hotel for 14 days, undertake six tests throughout the mandatory quarantine period, which comprises professional swab testing, self-monitoring for the next seven days, and mandatory testing on the 16th day after arriving in Hong Kong. They will also be forced to undergo mandatory testing on their 19th day in Hong Kong [at a Community Testing Centre (CTC)]. Travelers from high-risk areas inside the selected countries, on the other hand, will be compelled to quarantine for 21 days. You can learn more about it by clicking here.

Tourism Activities

  • Due to the ongoing strict measures, tourism activities are still being held off. Will be updated once measures in Hong Kong are eased or lifted.

Malaysia

COVID Measures For Travelers

Upon arrival, all travelers must complete a COVID-19 screening test. Passengers arriving from outside Malaysia must present a negative RT-PCR test result obtained two (2) days prior to departure, otherwise their entry may be prohibited. The certificate must be presented in either digital or hardcopy format, and must be written in English or Bahasa Malaysia. All travelers must also adhere to the most recent updated quarantine regulation, which takes effect on January 24, 2022.

Passengers who are completely vaccinated and have received booster doses are only needed to quarantine for 5 days. On Day 5, as well as Day 7, they must take a PCR test, and if they test negative on the last day, they will be released from quarantine. You may find further information here if you are an unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or a vaccinated traveler who has not received a booster vaccination.

Tourism Activities

Genting Highlands – Genting Skyworlds Theme Park is set to open on 8th February 2022. The highly-anticipated theme park will be home to 9 uniquely themed worlds and spans across 26 acres, with 26 rides and attractions suitable for people of all ages. There will also be ample dining establishments, retail outlets, as well as shows and live entertainment to keep people engaged throughout their time there.

Kuala Lumpur – With VTL open to Kuala Lumpur, it can be expected that almost all their attractions are fully operational. Travelers can head down to Zoo Negara Malaysia where they can get to see over 5137 specimens from 476 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. But of course, a trip to KL is not complete without doing a bit of shopping. Pavilion KL is one of the largest shopping destinations, covering a whopping 1.37 million sq. ft. that opened in 2007, while accommodating 450+ retail stores. It is definitely a mall that travelers should not miss!

Malacca – Malacca has the most dominant Peranakan culture in Southeast Asia. The land is filled with the history of “Baba-Nyonya”. One of the places tourists definitely should not miss is the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum. There, people will be transported back to the year 1865 where they will step into the home of Baba Chan Cheng Siew whose eclectic taste offers a glimpse into the richness of the culture and the opulence that was fashionable in many pre-World War II Peranakan homes.

Singapore

COVID Measures For Travelers

Travelers intending to enter Singapore will do so through a Safe Travel Lane arrangement, with various entrance procedures and health controls based on the traveler’s profile and travel history. If you are traveling from the United States, the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) allows you to enter Singapore without having to go through quarantine, but you must undergo frequent testing. The VTL is also available to accompanying unvaccinated children aged 12 and under.

If you are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccinated without booster, you may be denied entry to Singapore or may have to adhere to the quarantine order. If you are not from the United States and would like to find out more, you can click on this link.

Tourism Activities

Marina Bay – At Marina Bay, travelers will find one of the most famous gardens in the world, Gardens By The Bay. There are two conservatories, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, and the OCBC Skyway where people can get to walk 22 metres above ground on a 128m-long aerial walkway suspended between two Supertrees. At the Flower Dome, people can get up-close with unusual plants native to a range of unique habitats from the Mediterranean region, to South African savannahs and arid deserts. At the Cloud Forest, travelers will see one of the world’s largest indoor waterfalls and a lush mountain clad with plants from around the world.

Sentosa – With many tourist attractions on just one island, everyone can find a plethora of activities to do at Sentosa. From water activities to theme parks as well as thrilling land activities, Sentosa is a must visit. For water activities, people can check out Hydrodash, Adventure Cove and their 3 different beaches; 2 are open to the public whilst one is a private beach. For land activities, tourists can check out Skypark Sentosa by AJ Hackets. For those who are looking for a family friendly activity, definitely check out The Luge.

Jurong East – Sprawling lush green meadows, stone arches, park benches, bridges, ponds, and gazebos adorn the Japanese & Chinese Garden where people usually enjoy leisure strolls and day picnics. For those who would like to immerse themselves in nature as well as enjoy cultural architectural designs of China and Japan, this garden is a must visit. For travelers who would like to try being Einstein for a day, Science Centre Singapore is where people will get to enjoy interactive exhibits and galleries.

Thailand

COVID Measures For Travelers

Passport holders from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia are exempt from obtaining a visa when visiting Thailand for tourism purposes, and are allowed to stay in Thailand for up to 45 days per visit. Tourists from non-visa-exempt countries can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which is valid for 90 days and can be renewed twice. An STV must be obtained from a Thai consulate or embassy in your home country.

Prior to their trip, all travelers must apply for a “Thailand Pass.” Foreign visitors must submit proof of an insurance coverage that covers Covid-19 therapy up to the cost of $50,000 as part of the “Test & Go ” scheme’s entry requirements. All passengers must show documentation of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their departure. International travelers who are fully vaccinated can also visit Thailand under the “Sandbox Program,” which requires them to remain for at least seven days in one of six designated areas, including Krabi, Phang-Na, Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao.

Travelers who have not been vaccinated must spend 10 days in a government-approved quarantine facility or an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility. This can include high-end hotels, some of which offer quarantine services. You can see a complete list of participating hotels and resorts, as well as package rates, here: asq.locanation.com.

Tourism Activities

Phuket – Known for its beautiful beaches, islands and caves, Phuket is a must stop for those who love nature and adventure. Phi Phi Islands are a beautiful archipelago made of fantastic beaches and immense cliffs over two bays where people can admire from a famous viewpoint. Phi Phi is also renowned among young crowds for those legendary beach parties lasting all night long. The best time to visit is during the high season, from December to May.

Krabi – When in Krabi, their water sports is definitely a must go. Water sports like white water rafting is a tourist favorite. With the challenge of navigating through rapid waters and enjoying drops while heading downstream, white water rafting is definitely not for the faint hearted. For those who are not a fan of water, ATV courses in Krabi are definitely worth the try. Hop on a powerful ATV and start the day on an off-road trail leading you through local farms, jungle and plantations.

Bangkok – Bangkok is extremely rich in culture and the best place to experience the rich history of Thailand. They have multiple religious sites all across the city and are filled with wonderful street markets where people can try local foods and purchase local items. Some of the worthwhile places to visit are Wat Phra Chetuphon, one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok as well as Chatuchak Weekend Market which has more than 10,000 shops and stalls offering a wide range of products from Thai handicrafts, handmade products, clothing, accessories, arts and painting as well as souvenirs.


With business travel slowly becoming more accessible, employees must still do their part of assuring safety and preventing the further spread of the virus. The necessary precautions must be taken and throughout the trip, adhering to the country’s COVID-19 regulations should be their top priority. With the information above, employees can better prepare for their upcoming travel.