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Can Fintech drive a strong post-COVID-19 recovery in Asia?

To say 2020 has been a challenging year is a massive understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly undermined development gains from recent decades and slowed growth in many Asian economies.

Yet, every crisis presents opportunities. One is the rapid advance in digital technology, which offers a way to recoup some of these gains and spur a strong economic revival once the pandemic has passed.

As we all know, the pandemic has accelerated the use of digital technology. Many of us have become adept at online video conferencing and other digital tools while working from home.

Pervasive restrictions on mobility and lockdowns have driven companies to shift their businesses and services online.

The use of digital technology and e-commerce has become the business norm.

Digital payment platforms have eased a transition from offline to online transactions—and their use has skyrocketed in many parts of the region. In the Philippines, f…

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Wish you were here: how the pandemic harmed tourism-dependent economies

In 1950, at the dawn of the jet age, just 25 million people took foreign trips. By 2019, that number had reached 1.5 billion, and the travel and tourism sector had grown to almost too-big-to-fail proportions for many economies.

The global pandemic, the first of its scale in a new era of interconnectedness, has put 100 million jobs at risk, many in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises that employ a high share of women, who represent 54 percent of the tourism workforce, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Tourism-dependent countries will likely feel the negative impacts of the crisis for much longer than other economies. Contact-intensive services key to the tourism and travel sectors are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and will continue to struggle until people feel safe to travel en masse again.

“There is no way we can grow our way out of this hole we are in,” Irwin LaRocque, secretary-gener…

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Thailand strengthens COVID-19 control measures

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) latest update regarding the Royal Thai Government’s announcement on the strengthened COVID-19 control measures to contain local transmission, 28 provinces are now declared as “highly controlled areas”.

Effective from 4 January, 2021, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has declared 28 provinces as “highly controlled areas” following a surge in community transmission.

These include the capital Bangkok and (region by region) 

Central: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri and Suphan Buri; 

West: Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan Ratchaburi, and Tak; 

East: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, Rayong, Sa Kaeo and Trat, and 

South: Chumphon and Ranong.

The strengthened restrictions, which are …

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