Setback for advance bookings

SINGAPORE, 17 February 2020: The travel setback caused by the Covid-19 outbreak extends across the Asia Pacific region triggering a 10.5% slowdown in outbound travel bookings for March and April, according to ForwardKeys.

Excluding trips to and from China and Hong Kong, ForwardKeys report up to 9 February indicated the most marked decline in Northeast Asia, where outbound bookings for March and April will drop 17.1% when compared with the same period last year.

Advance bookings from South Asia are 11% down; from Southeast Asia 8.1% and Oceania down 3%. These estimated exclude travel from China and Hong Kong.

By comparison, the all-important Chinese outbound market is much more severely affected. Currently, bookings for March and April are down 55.9%. Forward bookings to the Asia Pacific are down 58.3%; Europe 36.7%, Africa & the Middle East 56.1% and the Americas 63.2%.

Looking backwards over the three-week period following the imposition of government travel restrictions, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, outbound travel from China has fallen by 57.5%.

Travel to all parts of the world has been impacted, with the Americas worst affected in relative terms and the Asia Pacific in absolute terms. Travel to the Asia Pacific, which receives 75% of the Chinese outbound market, was down by 58.3%; to Europe, it slipped 41.7%; to Africa & the Middle East 51.6% and to the Americas 64.1%.

ForwardKeys VP Insights Olivier Ponti said: “The world’s largest and highest-spending outbound travel market, China, is in severe difficulty; cancellations are growing by the day and the trend is now spreading to surrounding countries.

“On the brighter side, however, we do not see a slowdown in travel outside of the Asia Pacific region; so, this is a moment to fill the void by studying alternative origin markets and focussing promotional efforts on them.”

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