Asia’s travel recovery picks up

Asia’s travel recovery picks up

If flight booking trends continue at the current pace, an estimated 430 million more passengers will fly in Asia Pacific in 2022 compared to last year, according to the latest Mastercard Economics Institute analysis.

The research indicates that the travel outlook for the region is optimistic, even with markets in North Asia and mainland China yet to relax border measures.

‘Despite a delayed recovery and numerous risks such as inflation impacting discretionary spending, travellers in Asia Pacific have demonstrated a strong desire to return to travel,’ says David Mann, chief economist Asia Pacific and Middle East Africa of the Mastercard Economics Institute.

‘As border restrictions relax we have witnessed an accelerated return to travel, with the region poised to swiftly catch up with the rest of the world.’

The research backs up evidence that people are favouring travel destinations that are less complex to navigate amidst confusing entry and quarantine requirements, travel restrictions and testing procedures.

As such, USA remained the most popular choice for Asia Pacific travellers, followed by Australia, Singapore, UK and Canada.

‘In the months to come, however, this trend is likely to shift in favour of intra-regional travel as restrictions are relaxed and domestic travel picks up once again,’ says the institute’s report.

The study also found:
• Spending on cruises is roughly one-tenth below 2019 levels, a sharp recovery from about 75% below pre-pandemic levels at the beginning of the year.
• Aussies are keen to cross the Tasman to New Zealand as the borders have reopened, with flight bookings increasing almost 200% since January 2022.