No downturn in Asian bookings, spend

DESPITE the unfolding economic slowdown, Asian travellers remain bullish about their travel plans for this year, surpassing the global average in expected travel accommodation bookings, according to a new study commissioned by

The inaugural Traveller Confidence Index found that Asia scored 61.4 points, while Europe trailed behind with 55.9 points. The former was only bested by Latin America (66.7 points), and both were above the 60.8-point average.

As a region, Asia led in spending, and was also the least price-sensitive, independent market research firm VisionOne UK discovered, after surveying about 20,000 travellers worldwide during the first quarter.

Within Asia, Singapore came out tops for overseas leisure travel propensity at 67.9 points, compared to China at 62.8 points and Malaysia at 48.3 points.

Use of online channels for accommodation bookings was highest among Asian respondents (70.3 per cent), with China (57.5 per cent) ahead of the pack, followed by Singapore (57.4 per cent) and India (55 per cent). brand development lead, Clarence Lin, told TTG Asia e-Daily that the findings would help shape the OTA’s supply and marketing decisions. “For example, with China having the highest proportion of online bookings, we need to beef up on the kind of hotels that are popular with Chinese travellers. These could be resorts in more exotic and prestige locations. They are no longer just looking at Hong Kong and Macau, but places like the Maldives,” he explained.

“Knowing that Singapore and Malaysia are key, we also have to make sure we have adequate voices in those markets. We are spending and investing heavily in the two countries with our ongoing marketing campaign.”

According to Lin, the main source of bookings for were Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

With an inventory of 60,000 properties, Lin said was positioning itself as an Asian expert, backed by the “financial muscle of (its parent) TUI Travel”.

“At this point in time, we are growing the B2C market, as there are other brands within the TUI portfolio that deal with corporate wholesale business. We are quite clear about our strengths and competencies,” he said.

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