In 2017, online travel platform Kayak.com declared that Hong Kong was “a nation of travel addicts”, a conclusion reached after surveying citizens’ travel planning habits. While perhaps not the most empirical of analyses, there is something to the judgment. In 2019, Hong Kong International Airport recorded almost 95 million resident departures, according to online statistics portal Statista, which equates to an average of 12.8 trips per person. In January – during those halcyon days before the pandemic hijacked 2020 – TKS Exhibition Services, which organises Hong Kong’s International Travel Expo, asked Hongkongers about their overseas adventures, past and planned. It found that just 3 per cent of respondents had not journeyed abroad in 2019 while 46 per cent had taken three to five international jaunts and 17 per cent had enjoyed six or more trips overseas. More than 60 per cent were hoping to get away for the Easter break, in April, a proportion that seems hopelessly optimistic with the wisdom of hindsight. Of course, that was then. But, anecdotally at least, Hongkongers’ appetite for international excursions has not diminished, it’s just a question of where – and when – we can go, ideally without having to self-isolate for 14 days upon our return. Discussions regarding relaxing border restrictions and creating quarantine-free “travel bubbles” are already under way with authorities in Macau and Guangdong province , and although theoretical for the moment, the prospect of horizons soon expanding has us wondering about wandering further than Sai Kung Country Park. On May 15, Thailand removed mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea from its list of “disease infected zones”. However, any hopes that the Land of Smiles (behind face masks) would become imminently accessible were dashed the following day, when the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand announced that it would be extending its ban on inbound international passenger flights until the end of June. Still, as the number of new infections in Thailand continues to drop, there is every possibility that a quarantine-free corridor could be established just in time for the rainy season. Taiwan, which closed its borders to all foreign tourists on March 19, has also been touted as a possible tourist-exchange partner because of its success at managing the coronavirus crisis, although according to a May 6 report in The Financial Times , the self-ruled island remained cautious about reopening. Citing health minister Chen Shih-chung, the article stated that visitors would be welcomed only once “a safe vaccine or drug for treatment of the disease became available”, which could be some time, if ever. Perhaps a vacation in Vietnam is more likely? The Southeast Asian nation is already easing out of a lockdown that kept reported cases of Covid-19 to a minimum and has turned to its domestic market to inject some much needed dong into the tourism industry. On May 16, Channel News Asia reported that Vietnamese sightseers “flocked” to scenic spots such as Ha Long Bay and Dalat, and on May 13, it was announced that some crossings on the country’s Chinese border would be reopened to facilitate trade between the two countries. Whether that means tourists will soon be flowing across those same borders is uncertain – like Taiwan, Vietnam was early to isolate and quick to contain the spread of the virus, which might make it more wary of embracing all those potential carriers from overseas. Malaysia’s ban on foreign arrivals has been extended until June 9 and there’s no sign of similar interdictions being lifted in the Philippines or Singapore. In Japan, restrictions have eased in some prefectures but border controls remain, forbidding the entry of most foreign nationals, including those from Hong Kong, mainland China, the United States and much of Europe. Indonesia expects to reopen to tourists in October, according to recent reports, and although South Korea is currently off the cards, Seoul is allowing business travellers from certain parts of China, so it is feasible that sightseers might soon follow. So, where exactly can Hongkongers go? Well, there’s always Cambodia. Providing you can arrange a visa ahead of your arrival, obtain a medical certificate within 72 hours of your travel time from a reputable health authority stating that you are not a carrier of Covid-19, and don’t mind isolating for 14 days on arrival, and then again on your return. No? Then why not let that passport gather a little more dust and head for an outlying island? Full steam ahead for Thailand’s tourist tax Last year, when almost 40 million arrivals streamed into Thailand, charging everyone for the privilege seemed like a grand idea. And although the pandemic put paid to the immediate implementation of a tourist tax, the Tourism and Sports Ministry is still considering the matter, according to a May 12 article in the Bangkok Post . Once inbound international flights resume (possibly in July) and the tourism industry sputters back into life, visitors could be charged 300 baht (US$9) as part of a strategic plan “to sustain and stabilise the national economy”. The minister for tourism and sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, told the newspaper that he expected the tax to be introduced by October. “The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s new target is 16 million arrivals this year, but I’m not optimistic we can reach that goal as international tourists will not come back before the fourth quarter,” he said. The levy is expected to be added to airfares, and it is not clear how those arriving via land or sea transport would be charged. Thousands sign online petition to reopen Bali’s beaches Once the domain of slacktivists, online petitions are one of the few ways a socially distanced community can make their voices heard. And so, beachgoers on Bali have united at digital petition platform Change.org to demand the reopening of the Indonesian island’s beaches. Launched earlier this month, the petition calls for socially responsible users to be allowed back onto the sands and into the surf, and has amassed 2,292 signatures of its 2,500 goal, at the time of writing. Watch this space to see whether authorities bow to the virtual pressure.