Asia Businesses Suffer Lunar New Year Blues over Trip Curbs

From a skyway operator in Australia to a tourist guide on Indonesias resort island of Bali and a lion dance troupe in Malaysia, Asias travel industry is hurting as coronavirus curbs keep most people home for the Lunar New Year.

The celebration, which begins on Friday, usually triggers the largest annual migration as people reunite with loved ones or go on holiday, but this year government curbs are spoiling plans, even as many nations roll out vaccines.

In the last 10 months, theres been no income, because there are no visitors, said Bali tour guide Effendy, wearing traditional red headgear and batikprint sarong, as he stood in a deserted 60hectare 148acre park.

Crowds of tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan usually visit at this time of year, drawn by the parks colossal 21storeytall statue of the Hindu god Vishnu riding the mythical eagle Garuda.

Also hit by the lack of foreign tourists is Bangkok, where a survey has predicted Lunar New Year spending faces its sharpest fall in 13 years.

Parked in rows in the Thai capital, with many gathering dust and cobwebs, are hundreds of tuk tuk motorised rickshaws, tour buses and boats.

I will monitor the situation for another year, said garage owner Kraisak Kulkiatprasert, who used to rent out more than 100 vehicles a day, but now manages to rent less than 10 despite slashing prices.

If it doesnt get better, I will have to shut down.

In neighbouring Malaysia, a ban on public performances has kept a lion dance troupe…

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