European outbound travel agents are seeing a strong interest for longhaul travel to Asia for spring and summer next year, and Asian countries that have good air connectivity and quarantine-free entry will stand to gain.
Guillaume Linton, president & CEO of France-based Asia Voyage, said that the French market is keen on “simplicity and accessibility” and government policies that create “constraints or long processes will be a no-go”.
He shared that rising prices for medium-haul destinations for summer 2022 made Asia an attractive alternative, provided prices were reasonable. His company has seen bookings pick up for Japan, Bali and Australia for travel next spring.
“Travellers are looking for new types of nature-based and outdoor experiences that are well packaged and structured,” he said at last week’s virtual tourism programme X-Change Malaysia, where tourism experts discussed ideas to help revive Malaysia’s tourism industry.
Another speaker, Mariah Hamid, managing director of UK-based outbound agency Aerticket Emerald, also stressed that European travellers are inclined to go to destinations which do not require quarantine or a lot of paperwork to enter.
An emerging trend she noticed among vacationers from the UK is the rise in multi-generational travel. “They seek new experiences, and doing things and creating memories together,” she said, adding that outdoor and nature activities such as trekking were of particular interest.
Both Linton and Mariah agreed that Malaysia’s tourism products such as nature-based attractions will stand the country in good stead to gain strong forward bookings from the European market for the spring season.
However, this would hinge on the government announcing a concrete date for border reopening as well as the regulatory framework surrounding the reopening, they added.
Linton said that travel agents will play a pivotal role in helping tourism to recover, as he has seen an increase in travellers enlisting the help of agents to advise and assist them in preparing for their longhaul trips.