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LATest e-bulletin June '23

In this issue: ① Stabilization ② The Underwater Connectivity ③ Return of Airline Seats ④ Pinisi of Indonesia ⑤ So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT ⑥ Kuching Legacy Capital ⑦ Nature at the Heart ⑧ Leadership Vacuum


Asia's subsea cables, which are vital for global data transmission, have become a focal point of geopolitical tensions involving China. Leading telecoms and technology companies, including Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Singapore Telecommunications, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), and Google, are facing delays in laying cables along the floor of the South China Sea. This contested region, which Beijing has claimed almost entirely for itself, has forced these companies to seek alternative routes, resulting in higher costs for cable deployment and operation.

The disruptions caused by these tensions are creating headwinds for economies in the region. Fast and reliable connectivity has become essential in modern life, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, which encouraged people to spend more time at home and online.

Despite the challenges mentioned above, there are positive signs of stabilization in various sectors. Over the past year, there has been a significant imbalance of supply and demand, but the situation is now starting to stabilize. This is evident in the air travel industry, where capacity has increased in the first half of 2023, leading to moderating airfares in the second half. Data shows that seat capacity in the first quarter of 2023 was 2.1% higher than the previous quarter but down 6.8% compared to the same period in 2019. However, early forecasts indicate that air capacity in 2023 will be only 2.5% lower than the volumes seen in 2019.

Asia has experienced the highest seat growth in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, with a notable increase of 12.2%. Other regions have seen an average growth of around two percent, except for Europe, which witnessed an 8.7% decline due to changes in demand. However, demand is expected to pick up during the Northern Hemisphere summer in the second and third quarters of 2023.

The airline industry is gradually recovering, with a forecasted return of 94% of seats offered in 2023 compared to 2019. Airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Qantas Airways have even higher seat forecasts of 97%, reflecting the normalization of travel.

Similarly, LAT is also experiencing stabilization and growth, achieving 92% of its 2019 business volume year to date.

Pinisi of Indonesia

The word "Pinisi" originally refers to a specific type of rigging found on Indonesian sailing vessels. It pertains to the configuration of masts, sails, and ropes known as "lines." A Pinisi typically carries seven to eight sails on two masts, arranged in a gaff-ketch style with "standing gaffs." Unlike most Western ships with similar rigging, the main sails of a Pinisi are not raised by lifting the attached spars. Instead, they are "pulled out" like curtains along the fixed gaffs positioned around the centre of the masts. It's important to note that the term "Pinisi" specifically identifies the type of rig used and does not describe the hull shape of a vessel employing such sails. Historically, Pinisi-rigged ships were primarily constructed by the Konjo-speaking people of Ara, a village located in the Bontobahari district of the Bulukumba regency in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. These ships were widely utilized by Buginese and Makassar seafarers as cargo vessels. During the period preceding the motorization of Indonesia's traditional trading fleet in the 1970s and 1980s, Pinisi-rigged vessels were the largest sailing ships in Indonesia. Presently, the term "Pinisi" is often used quite broadly to refer to various types of wooden ships in Indonesia. The alternative spelling "Phinisi" emerged as an attempt to mimic the Indonesian pronunciation of the word, /pi: nisi/. It was initially employed to name the vessel "Phinisi Nusantara," a motorized traditional ship with a Pinisi rig. In 1986, this vessel undertook a voyage from Indonesia to Expo 86 in Vancouver, Canada. Numerous refurbishments of these traditional ships have resulted in a wide selection of sailing opportunities in the eastern part of Indonesia, particularly in the Komodo and Sumbawa areas. If you're interested, please check with us for exclusive cruise offers in Indonesia.

So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT

Established in 1991

Independently owned and operated

Purely B2B with travel industry partners

Online booking engine with immediate

confirmation of hotels, tours and transfers

Skilful Contents Provider and Technology user

Knowledgeable and efficient reservations personnel

Long and proud association with the MICE industry in all Lotus destinations

Fully committed to Sustainability and CSR; ‘Travelife’ partner

Carbon Neutrality for all packages and services on offer

Extensive selection of scheduled group departures and innovative product lines

Direct access to a vast pool of local professional contributors

Owns small boutique island hotels strategically located

LAT Indochina subsidiary operating in Thailand and Vietnam

Multilingual guides in all destinations

Operations offices throughout its destinations

Centralised bookings and payments for multi destination tours

Assistance in language


Kuching Legacy Capital

Sarawak, a state in Malaysia, has expressed its intention to position Kuching as the first Legacy Capital for business events in Malaysia and Borneo. This announcement came after Indonesia's plans to develop a new capital city in Borneo. While this ambitious plan demonstrates Sarawak's willingness to embrace transformative thinking, it leaves some doubts and questions unanswered. The concept revolves around the Legacy impact of Sarawak's value proposition, not only in the realm of business events but across all sectors and industries. The aim is to capitalize on the opportunities presented by developments such as Indonesia's new capital, Nusantara.

However, without specific details and time frames, it is natural to question the feasibility of achieving these desirable objectives without a clear plan in place. It is not realistic to expect desired outcomes simply through a snap of the fingers. Nevertheless, we wish Sarawak well in their endeavors.


A Rare Coup of Genius

The Government of Bali has recently made several announcements that could have a significant impact on travellers planning their trips to the island. These announcements include proposed bans on tourists driving on the island and hiking or climbing up the Balinese mountains.

While there may be some arguments supporting these proposals, the exact merits have not been clearly spelled out during the announcements. It is regrettable to see that the Balinese government seems to attribute the threats to Bali solely to misbehaving tourists, rather than acknowledging the broader issues stemming from consistent governance oversight, graft, exploitative developments, and a lack of long-term urban planning. The island is in desperate need of essential infrastructure such as sewerage systems, road networks, power grids, internet connectivity, and education, among others.

It is important to recognize that tourism plays a vital role in Bali's economy, and any decisions or policies that directly impact tourists should be carefully considered in light of the broader challenges faced by the island. Balancing the preservation of the unique cultural and natural heritage of Bali with the needs and expectations of tourists is a complex task that requires comprehensive planning and sustainable development strategies.

Nature at the Heart

Langkawi, a stunning archipelago comprising 99 islands in Malaysia, is scheduled to undergo its fourth assessment by evaluators appointed by UNESCO in the second half of 2023. This assessment occurs every four years and is a crucial process for Langkawi to meet specific criteria related to geo-conservation, sustainable development, and the active involvement of local communities in managing their geo-heritage resources.

Having been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Global Geopark status in 2007, Langkawi has successfully passed three previous evaluations, ensuring the retention of its esteemed designation. The evaluations by UNESCO are a testament to Langkawi's commitment to preserving its unique geological features, promoting sustainable practices, and actively engaging the local community in the management and protection of its rich geo-heritage.

The forthcoming evaluation in 2H2023 will provide an opportunity for Langkawi to showcase its continued dedication to maintaining the highest standards in geo-conservation and sustainable development. The assessment process plays a crucial role in recognizing and promoting Langkawi's outstanding natural heritage to the world.

Leadership Vacuum

The recent departure of two key figures from the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has raised concerns within the business events industry in Malaysia. The lack of successors being named at the time of the press has further intensified these concerns. The industry players are worried about the implications of this situation on the overall leadership and direction of MyCEB.

Strong leadership is crucial for the effective functioning and strategic development of any organization, especially in the business events industry, which relies heavily on collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders. The absence of appointed successors for the departed individuals at MyCEB creates uncertainty about the continuity of initiatives, decision-making processes, and long-term planning within the organization.

It is important for the relevant authorities and stakeholders to address these concerns promptly by ensuring the appointment of capable and experienced leaders to fill the vacant positions. This will help maintain stability and provide the industry with the necessary confidence in MyCEB's ability to drive the growth and success of Malaysia's business events sector.


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