Recovery momentum continues for Asia Pacific travel and tourism


Amid mounting optimism for a promising year ahead for the Asian travel industry, EyeforTravel’s 6th Travel Distribution Summit Asia in Singapore (April 28-29) will focus on the theme of economic recovery and how the industry can capitalize on the changed Asian online travel landscape.

The summit arrives at an opportune time for a resurgent Asian travel and tourism market, which has now overtaken North America as the world’s largest air travel market with 647 million passengers during a tumultuous 2009. The China Tourism Academy reports that total revenue in the country’s tourism industry is expected to grow 13 percent to hit a high of US$205 billion in 2010 as the country rolls out favorable policies to back the industry.

Figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) in February provide further evidence of a modest recovery in air traffic demand. A total of 11.1 million international passengers were carried by AAPA member airlines in November, 4.5 percent more than in the same month last year. International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, grew 3.5 percent.

PATA’s head of Strategic intelligence, John Koldowski, who will be giving a keynote presentation at the upcoming EyeforTravel Distribution Summit Asia, reports that the numbers of international visitors to the Asia Pacific region grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year in October 2009, improving the overall position for the year (over 10 months), just 4 percent down when compared with the same period in 2008.

Within Asia, southeast Asia recorded a strong gain, standing at 7 percent growth in international visitor arrivals, boosted by another impressive month for Malaysia (+14 percent) coupled by better outcomes from Indonesia (+3 percent) and for Thailand (+11 percent). In northeast Asia, arrivals to Chinese Taipei (+13 percent) and Korea (ROK) (+13 percent) maintained stable growth momentum, while arrivals to Hong Kong SAR (+9 percent) and Macau SAR (+5 percent) continued to improve. However, weak arrivals were reported for China (PRC) (+1 percent) and sharp declines experienced by Japan (–11 percent); factors that limited the overall growth rate for the sub-region to 3%. In south Asia, Maldives (+11 percent), Nepal (+11 percent) and Sri Lanka (+7 percent) reported robust growth in visitor numbers for the month of October but where India’s tourist numbers were down by 1 percent.

Much of this comeback is being driven from within the region itself. Expedia data shows a higher growth of intra-APAC travel versus long-haul travel into the region. For hotel bookings into the APAC region, Expedia’s Asia Pacific points-of-sale (POS) have gained share versus the EMEA and Americas POS, contributing as much as 30 percent of the region’s room nights.

“Sixty million consumers worldwide visit our sites every month, booking more than 57 million room nights at our hotel partners’ properties last year,” said Cyril Ranque, VP Asia Pacific, Expedia Partner Services Group. “This gives Expedia unique insights into travel demand that enable us to help our hotel partners manage demand and occupancy in this environment. Right now, we are seeing that value is still very important to travelers, and our airline and hotel partners are taking full advantage of the dynamic and targeted capabilities of our sales and marketing channels to implement more sophisticated revenue management strategies,” continued Ranque, who will also be presenting at the summit in April.

Set in the heart of Asia’s thriving travel industry, the event takes place on April 28-29 and will bring together Asia’s foremost travel brands, including IHG, Expedia, Abacus, Accor, Abacus, Google Travel, Marriott, Air Asia X, Travelport, Club Med, Travelocity, Hilton, and Microsoft Online to discuss the evolution of the online travel industry in Asia and how companies can position themselves to capitalize on the upturn.

Don Birch, managing partner of China Opportunities and former CEO of Abacus, explained: “The great thing about Travel Distribution Asia is that it draws in such a wide range of knowledge and experience. It attracts some of the leading players in their respective fields and provides a real insight into what is in their thoughts and what could be coming next.”

The event is now in its 6th successful year and is expected to attract over 700 industry delegates, exhibitors, and international press.

More information about the event can be found here – or via Marco Saio, Eyefortravel global events director, email: , phone: +44 2073 75 7219.