On June 8, the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan , in the Indonesian province of Central Java, reopened to tourists after almost three months of closure. For the time being, the popular sites will rely on domestic interest alone as they remain out of reach for overseas visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions. Exactly how much domestic interest there will be from across the archipelagic nation remains to be seen, especially as hundreds of new cases of Covid-19 are recorded daily and businesses remain closed. In an attempt to boost domestic demand, local governments are expected to offer discounted entry to tourist attractions. During a webinar, Pranoto Prayitno, director of Indonesian tour operator Citra Gilang Tour, said that such a move would “allow tourism businesses to gauge consumers’ purchasing power”. And Indonesia is not alone in exploring this option – subsidy schemes are all the rage across the region. Really, however, destinations are awaiting the return of their largest market – and in many cases largest spenders – to reignite their sputtering tourism industries. The question is: will the Chinese return? And when? Clues can be gleaned from observing how movement resumes within the Middle Kingdom, and the early signs are positive. On May 28, The Economist reported that some 115 million Chinese tourists travelled during the Labour Day holiday, from May 1 to 5, “a healthy 60% of last year’s number”. Travel data platform ForwardKeys recently noticed “a domestic phenomenon”, namely an increase in internal flight bookings to commercial centres including Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Sichuan and Yunnan. “All eyes are on Hainan’s duty-free trade zone to see when the ever-important shoppers are set to return,” it reported. Coronavirus lockdown eases but Thai tourism industry must rely on locals Whether returning domestic confidence will translate into international yearnings is harder to gauge. According to state-run English-language newspaper China Daily , “Chinese travellers are still showing a cautious preference for short-distance trips. Many prefer driving for a few hours to a nearby town for weekends where they may stay for a night – and spend much less than if they go further away and travel by rail or air.” So cost looks to be a consideration for the post-Covid-19 Chinese traveller. Surely, how well a place has managed the spread of the coronavirus will also be taken into account, as health and hygiene become measures of a destination’s appeal. The biggest barriers to China’s outbound tourism market, though, are the travel bans that have closed off entire countries, not to mention the infrequency of international flights. Even once aviation takes off, the million-dollar question will be how expensive it is. Nevertheless, according to travel media company Skift, there are reasons for Asian destinations to be cheerful. “If you look at the amount of Chinese and you look at the tiny percentage – around 10 per cent – that have passports: we’re just seeing the real tip of the iceberg in terms of demand of outbound tourism from China,” consultant Richard Tams told Skift. “There is an enormous amount of pent-up demand. Restrictions are going to be lifted very gradually […] but I think the demand out of China will be significant.” Exactly which destinations will benefit from this demand could also depend on how cosy their government is with China. A hostile United States should not expect an influx of travellers from the Middle Kingdom any time soon whereas perennially obsequious Southeast Asian nations such as Cambodia and Myanmar can hope to be rewarded for their neighbourly love. Ultimately, nowhere should anticipate a return to pre-pandemic ways in the near future. Covid-19 might be far from the great equaliser, and Chinese tourists might be the first to get back out there, but that new normal is going to be a long time coming for everybody. Bali beaches reopen, then close again On June 1, the wish of many foreign surfers remaining on the Indonesian island of Bali appeared to have come true with the announcement that Badung regency would be opening two beaches, Canggu and Labuan Sait, exclusively for their use. According to The Jakarta Post , the head of the local tourism authority, I Made Badra, said the beaches would remain off-limits to Indonesians and anyone who didn’t know how to catch a wave. Any self-satisfaction among those allowed access to the sea was short-lived, however, as Bali’s governor, I Wayan Koster, announced the following day that the decision would be revoked and the beaches would be closing again. “We had instructed to close tourist attractions through a circular and we have not reopened them yet,” he said. Raffles City Chongqing opens 250-metre-high ‘sky bridge’ Fans of high, glass-bottom viewing decks rejoice, for China has introduced another vertigo-inducing attraction to the mix. The Crystal skybridge is suspended 250 metres above Chongqing, atop the Raffles City Chongqing complex. Those brave enough to venture out onto the glass are treated to 270-degree panoramas of the city’s skyline and views all the way down. Social distancing currently dictates that only 3,000 pairs of feet can seemingly float above the Earth and 3,000 pairs of eyes can watch the Yangtze’s brown waters meet the deep blue of the Jialing River far below. No guarantees about visibility in the polluted city are given.