(Hanoi) – The US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) hosted the second country level instalment of its Travel Reopening Roadshow Series in Vietnam on Wednesday, March 23. The 3-hour virtual event convened stakeholders from the business community, travel ecosystem, and Government of Vietnam across 3 panel sessions to discuss: Data Driven Models for Designing Safe Travel Protocols; Facets of a Digitally Enabled Travel Economy; and Trends and Themes Shaping the Post Pandemic Travel Industry. The Vietnam roadshow follows the Council’s annual Vietnam Business Mission, and Health & Life Sciences Mission to Vietnam which were recently conducted March 8-11 in Hanoi.
Amb. Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of USABC officially opened the roadshow, followed by remarks from Dr. Ha Van Sieu, Vice Chairman, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
“This roadshow comes at an opportune time as Vietnam has announced the wider re-opening of its borders to international travelers” said Amb. Michalak. “The Council and our members support the shift to safe and flexible returns to in-person activities such as travel and business events.”
The event was sponsored by USABC member companies Adobe, Airbnb, Boeing, IBM, Marriott, and Visa. Richard Andrew, Executive Director of the Asia Travel and Technology Industry Association (ATTIA), joined as a panel moderator. The roadshow also included the participation of officials from the Vietnam Ministry of Transportation; leaders from local authorities such as Department of Tourism of Ho Chi Minh City; Da Nang City; Yen Bai Province; Tourism Advisory Board; and the Vietnam Tourism Association.
John Mackenney, Practice Lead for Digital Strategy at Adobe, set the scene for the panel discussions with a keynote presentation on the global state of travel.
The first panel of the session on Future Proofing Transportation Resilience began with a discussion between Mr. Vu Hong Quang, Deputy Director, Air Transport Department at the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, Ministry of Transportation; Michael Parsons, Industry Sector Executive, Travel & Transport at IBM; and Satya Ramamurthy, Global Co-Head Public Transport at KPMG.
The second panel on Facets of a Digitally Enabled Travel Economy covered topics including interoperability and mutual recognition of digital health credentials during a presentation from Sandeep Makhijani, Watson Health Leader, Asia Pacific at IBM. He was later joined by Mr. Le Truong Hien Hoa, Deputy Director General, Department of Tourism, Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee.
“Over the years many facets of the Travel Economy have been digitised - tickets, boarding passes, visas, loyalty cards, room keys ” said Sandeep Makhijani. “The pandemic created the impetus to digitise health credentials of the traveller. The start has been made and now the Global Travel Ecosystem needs to continue this journey to completely digitise the Travel Economy.”
Finally, the third panel on Trends and Themes Shaping the Post Pandemic Travel Industry began with a presentation from John Mackenney from Adobe who earlier delivered welcoming remarks for the session. The panel discussion also included David Fowler, Vice President and Head, Cross Border & Sales Excellence Asia Pacific, Visa; Mr. Tran Trong Kien, Chairman, Tourism Advisory Board; Ms. Nguyễn Thị Lệ Thanh, Director of Khánh Hoà Province's Department of Tourism; and Mr. Vu The Binh, Standing Vice President, Vietnam Tourism Association.
Overall, the roadshow series comes at a critical juncture, as many ASEAN countries are starting to reopen borders more broadly and must consider safe and sustainable ways to do so. The Council will conduct additional country-level sessions in ASEAN as a part of this series throughout the first half of 2022.