Asia is “bouncing back at an impressive rate” and is expected to recover to nearly 80 per cent of 2019 levels by year-end, down by only 22 per cent – this is fuelled by the rise of the live music industry to attract tourism where the average length of stay is three nights.
This and other insights were discussed during the November 28 PATA-ForwardKeys webinar, Charting the course for 2024: Unveiling APAC Travel Trends, with participation from the NTOs of Thailand, Guam and Seoul.
Nancy Dai, insights expert, ForwardKeys, attributed the region’s recovery to the implementation of enhanced safety and health measures during the pandemic, high demand for VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travel, the impact of effective marketing campaigns and incentives, and a shift towards unique experiences and sustainable travel.
In 2024, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be targeting premium, quality travellers, expected to spend more and stay longer, according to Titiporn Manenate, executive director, Americas Region Department.
Mark Manglona, senior marketing manager, North America, Pacific and New Markets, Guam Visitor Bureau (GVB), shared that South Korea and Japan were the destination’s main source markets.
GVB would be cooperating with its airline partners to address capacity needs, working with key opinion leaders to attract visitors from new markets such as Singapore and Malaysia, and are also looking at secondary travellers in segments such as schools, sports, and long-stay seniors.
For Seoul Tourism Organization, Jamie Lee, assistant manager, Global Team 1, said there was growing emphasis on sustainable and responsible tourism, and best practices were discussed and shared at the November 16 and 17 Seoul Sustainable Tourism Conference 2023.
On Asia-Pacific destinations likely to see a surge in 2024, Dai named India, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan due to enhanced air capacity and fleet expansion, various incentives, family appeal and weak currency.
Challenges include connectivity and staffing still not back to pre-pandemic levels as well as ongoing conflict in Europe and the Middle East, but the traveller profile that was emerging – longer stay, booking in advance and booking premium – presented an “exciting opportunity”, she commented.
Dai also said that Chinese New Year 2024 would be the first year after China’s reopening, and that the eight-day public holiday bodes well for Seoul, the leading destination based on available seats.
In addition, with easier visa access and application times cut from two months to one week, Italy, France and Germany have emerged as popular destinations among the Chinese.