A Personal Message from Laurent– CEO Asian Trails

Laurent - official Asian TrailsOur focus for the past two years has been on people and technology: We supported as many of our managers and staff as we possibly could, with reduced salaries and benefits, but to the greatest extent possible. We are extremely thankful to Mr. Menon and Mr. Watsa for their trust and commitment to see us through these most difficult times.

We are all facing multiple challenges, challenges we never had to face in the past. I don’t want to get into details since I would rather focus on the future, on solutions and on our strategy to grow our business profitably and efficiently. What I see as a key hindrance though is governments’ continued red tape in opening up destinations. Asia is the last part of the world to finally open the doors again to tourism. However, governments open the doors, but they don’t remove the mosquito nets. We still have to deal with pre-arrival paperwork, tracing apps, testing regimes, overnight quarantine awaiting test results etc. This is besides the fact that in some Asian countries if you test positive you will be moved to a hospital or hospitel (hotel converted to a hospital) even if you do not have any symptoms. Whereas there are many countries in the world, probably most countries by now, where you don’t have any restrictions or paperwork, and this is where tourists naturally prefer to go. Asian governments need to remove all restrictions, stop with this nonsense of putting asymptomatic tourists in hospital or hospital isolation, and then the business will grow.

On technology we have focused on efficiency and connectivity. Whereas we have achieved major milestones and  objectives on a monthly basis, it is a work in progress and we continue with developments and in connecting partners on the buying and selling side. We hope that in the near future our systems will be connected to Thomas Cook and SOTC as well, so that we can be fast and efficient.

In recent months we have also implemented a new regional sourcing organization led by experienced sourcing managers who understand both the static and dynamic world of buying products. They assist our country contracting and product teams in implementing their sourcing strategies, and in achieving their buying objectives.

As you will read in this PULSE newsletter on Asian Trails, many of our colleagues have been inventive in activities supporting their family and friends on and off work, and in helping their communities. I wish you happy readings and happy trails !

Laurent Kuenzle