In this issue of the ‘Wego Travel Pulse’, we analyze travel search patterns by Wego users living in the APAC region focusing on the period since the beginning of 2020. We explore the impact of Covid-19 travel restrictions and the gradual recovery of markets as they come out of lock-down and as travel restrictions are lifted.
APAC Travel Intent Analysis by Search Date
APAC countries were amongst the earliest to be hit by Covid-19 outbreaks but they were also the earliest to impose social distancing strategies, aggressive contact tracing, and isolation of people who have come into contact with infected individuals. This has resulted in relatively successful containment of the virus in several countries that are now beginning to lift restrictions on movement and travel.
Search volumes across APAC travel markets overall have fallen to around 20% to 30% of what they were in 2019 but we now see activity from some markets beginning to increase as lock-downs are eased or lock-down end dates get closer. With international borders still largely closed many destinations in APAC are planning to stimulate domestic tourism as a way to keep their tourism industry alive.
Across all markets what user search activity there is travel dates concentrated in the next few weeks with the sole exception being New Zealand where travellers are planning for trips a couple of weeks further out.
While most countries are still in different stages of lockdown, Vietnam has gone for weeks now without seeing further community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and has proceeded to relax restrictions on movement. Vietnam has shown the earliest and strongest recovery in terms of travel searches with a noticeable increase in the last couple of weeks.
Travel demand across the rest of Southeast Asia is almost uniformly depressed with search volumes in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines at around 25% of what they were in 2019 reflecting some limited domestic travel.
The Singapore market is at the very back of the pack in Southeast Asia with travel demand at less than 12% of what it was in 2019 reflecting the tight lockdown measures that are still in place and the mandatory 14-day quarantines that are imposed upon anybody returning from abroad which not surprisingly has discouraging most outbound travel.
Japan and South Korea have proven to be the most resilient travel markets in North Asia with demand running at 40-50% of 2019 levels propped up almost entirely by sizable domestic travel markets.
In recent weeks China travel demand has recovered to similar levels to its North Asian neighbors and is again almost entirely domestic-focused with travel restrictions still in place for most international destinations.
Taiwan gets the wooden spoon award in North Asia with travel demand down at levels similar to Singapore at around 10-11% of the 2019 levels. Taiwan has been relatively successful at controlling the spread of the coronavirus on the island but borders are still closed and international travel is strongly discouraged by the government with mandatory 2-week quarantine for anybody returning from overseas trips. The situation in Hong Kong is very similar to Taiwan albeit with the market stabilising at a slightly higher level.
The Australia and New Zealand travel markets held up longer than all other markets in the APAC but then in early April crashed to between 20-30% of 2019 levels as lock-downs were introduced in both countries. In the last week, New Zealand’s demand has surged back to roughly 40% while Australia remains flat.
It’s notable that Kiwis are planning trips with much longer lead times than any other country covered by this analysis which we think reflects confidence and certainty around the future which is still lacking in most countries of the region.
APAC Travel Intent Analysis By Travel Date
At Wego we remain optimistic that travel markets will recover sooner rather than later and we suggest that you keep in touch with us via your social media channel of choice so we’re able to share with you future editions of the “Wego Travel Pulse”.