Abacus reports strong recovery
SINGAPORE, 10 February 2011 – After a strong showing in 2010, Asia is on target to take its spot as the largest region in travel by 2015, Abacus International president and CEO Robert Bailey said during a media briefing in Singapore, Wednesday.
According to Abacus data, booking transactions for 2010 ended on a record high, even higher than the pre-recession period back in 2007. This trend appears to support data from other organisations such as the UNWTO that predicts Asia’s tourism industry will surpass North America and Europe within five years.
Abacus reported that booking transactions were up +11% year-on-year from 2009. This coincided with international arrivals into Asia, which was up by almost 13% in Asia. Globally, international tourist arrivals were up 7 % after a 4 % decline in 2009. Growth is expected to continue in 2011, but at a slower pace of 4 to 6%, according to Mr Bailey.
“Despite rising fuel costs and the recent recession, the Asian travel industry has shown its resilience in its quick recovery and strong growth years in both 2009 and 2010. I foresee that 2011 will continue to be a high growth year for Asia, albeit at a slightly slower pace,” he said.
Abacus views the boom in smart phones as one of the drivers that will need to be harnessed by travel companies intent on building a business in the online space.
Asia accounts for 43% of online usage, 3.1 billion mobile subscribers, 56% of the world’s 3G subscribers and more than 450 million mobile internet users.
Based on this rapid growth of online, ancillary services, mobile bookings and the resurgence of corporate travel, Abacus believes Asia is well poised to continue its strong growth of 2010 into 2011.
“In 2010, Abacus achieved its strongest year in terms of bookings since 2007,” said Mr Bailey. “We expect the figures to increase with Asia’s sharp growth in travel, although 2011 may be a year of cautious optimism for many.”
Abacus International VP marketing and VP India, Brett Henry, added, “2010 has been a record recovery year for many channels within the travel industry. Airlines have bounced back, corporate travel has picked up 20%.
According to the latest Abacus booking data, independent traveller bookings in Asia remained strong in 2010, up 11% from 2009. North Asia increased by 14 %, South East Asia by 8 % and South West Asia by 10 % year-on-year.
Asia Pacific international traffic accounts for 29.6% of the world’s RPKs, and set many new records in terms of passenger traffic. Asian aviation played a key role in the recovering global aviation industry, through its bulk of growth, speed of recovery and continued strength.
“Growth is the name of the game in travel at the moment, and although 2011 may not hit milestone figures like we saw in 2010, it will certainly be a year of growth with the emergence of Asia as the leading travel region,” stated Mr Bailey.
“Led by a slowing China and a growing India, in what has been aptly dubbed as slowing dragon and crouching tiger, Asia is well equipped and set to take the leap forward in establishing its dominance of the travel industry. It is important that we understand this evolving trend and are at the forefront to address any needs for the growing industry and to provide insight to our partners and customers,” he concluded.