As the year 2020 opened, there were great expectations on what the year was to offer for most of us in the gaming and leisure industry. With a strong economy in the U.S., and globally, it looked to be a solid year of growth for casinos and leisure travel.
With February approaching, we noted the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, and into neighboring South Korea, with very few cases in western countries. By this time, many of the casino, gaming and golf conferences were being postponed – some canceled for the year.
My intent for this issue of G&L had been to write about several of the casino gaming conferences I was scheduled to attend in Macau, the Philippines and Cambodia. Presently locked-down in my Las Vegas residence, and with international travel severely restricted, I focus much of my time maintaining contacts through web conferences and reflecting on what the future holds. The focus of this article will be on a few of my focus countries: Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
My intent had not been to mention, or make the focus of this article on COVID-19. Having “self quarantined” in Las Vegas from mid-March, I treated the time as an extended “Nyepi”. Nyepi is a “day of silence” on the tropical island of Bali – the Balinese New Year. It is a 24-hour period of time when everybody is confined to their residence (or hotel) for a day of silence, meditation and reflection. The island’s international airport is closed, all roads are closed (except for emergencies) and internet services are suspended.
This year Nyepi fell on March 25, during my second week of self quarantine. Not able to travel back into Asia for conferences at this time, I’ve been reflecting on my efforts in Southeast Asia, and what I expect my focus will be once receiving the “allclear” on traveling back. I’ll be highlighting some of my recent travels (2018-2019) in Southeast Asia and what I’m expecting to do on my return.