Data from Trip.com reveals that global travel bookings for the summer (June 1 to August 31) have already surpassed 2019 levels, with intra-regional travel leading the way.
Overall, bookings on the Trip.com platform this summer have increased by 170% compared to the same period in 2022 – with the relaxation of travel restrictions in Asia-Pacific, summer bookings have skyrocketed by 356% year-on-year (YoY) in Asia, with European markets recording a 72% YoY increase this summer.
Travellers “wait-and-see” for longhaul tours
Shorthaul regional tours are the preferred trip this summer, with short-distance flight bookings accounting for 44% of all bookings in Asia and more than half in Europe (67%). On the other hand, the percentage of longhaul summer travel in Europe dropped significantly from 48% in 2019 to 13% this year, while the percentage is up slightly from 22% in 2019 to 27% in Asia.
Asian travellers are focusing on travel closer to home, with the top 10 most-booked cities in Asia being Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei.
Likewise, in Europe, nine out of 10 destinations booked this summer are European cities, such as London, Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris; Bangkok is the only destination on the list outside Europe.
Even though European users are in the “wait-and-see” mode for long-distance travel, search demand is still prominent – Trip.com search data shows that European users are looking for hotels in Asian and Middle East destinations, with Bali, Dubai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Marrakech listed on the top 10 most searched hotel destinations.
Ray Chen, CEO, hotel business unit, Trip.com Group, said: “As flights and hotel capacity continue to increase, and the global industry is better prepared for welcoming back international travellers, we can expect a faster return of long-distance travel in the near future.”
Tours to coastal cities and islands are trending in Europe
This summer, Trip.com users are booking more coastal or island destinations, such as the Fuerteventura Island, Lanzarote and Santander in Spain, and Kefalonia in Greece.
More travellers are also going to remote or rural areas for unusual travel experiences, and destinations with unique cultures and landscapes are gaining popularity, like Lijiang in China and Shimukappu Mura in Japan.
The new engine of Asian summer travel
After three years of waiting, music fans in Asia finally welcome back their favourite bands and musicians to the region. Significant music events, such as concerts and music festivals, are in full swing across major cities in Asia, becoming a new engine to attract more visitors to the area.
According to data from Trip.com’s UGC platform Trip Moments, discussions on “going to music events” while travelling are trending in Hong Kong and South Korean sites, especially music fans from the Chinese mainland looking to flock to Hong Kong for concerts and performances in 2023.
Theme parks and water parks are also drawing traveller’s attention this summer – an upcoming new opening is the Making of Harry Potter in Tokyo, which will be the first Warner Bros. Studio Tour to open in Asia.