Demand for travel to Southeast Asia increases as borders reopen
The top three destinations for international travellers in Southeast Asia are Manila, Singapore and Bangkok.
As borders begin to reopen across Southeast Asia, increased flight bookings show how excited travellers are to return to the region. All countries in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Brunei, have started to remove their travel restrictions and are reopening their borders to international tourists in hopes of rejuvenating the industry that was hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic: tourism.
Global technology company Travelport, that powers bookings for hundreds of thousands of travel suppliers worldwide, found that from its book data, the top 10 destinations in Southeast Asia for international travellers to visit in 2022 are:
- Manila (Philippines)
- Singapore (Singapore)
- Bangkok (Thailand)
- Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
- Jakarta (Indonesia)
- Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
- Hanoi (Vietnam)
- Phuket (Thailand)
- Bali (Indonesia)
- Angeles/Mabalacat (Philippines)
For the first quarter of 2022, international flight bookings to Southeast Asia overall have increased and have showed an upward trajectory with the Philippines taking the lead by achieving 42 percent of its international bookings in the first quarter of 2019 prior COVID-19 pandemic. The Philippines and Thailand were among the earliest countries in Southeast Asia to reopen their borders, and travellers are already clamouring to visit. In the first quarter of 2022, these two countries alone represent over half (51 percent) of all international flight bookings to the region.
On January 28, the Philippines announced its plans to fully reopen to vaccinated travellers on February 10. Within a week of the announcement, international flight bookings to the country rose by 114 percent. One month after the announcement on February 28, the country saw a 294-percent increase in daily flight bookings.
Thailand first allowed foreigners to enter the country on February 1 with the introduction of its Test & Go programme which required tourists to have a negative PCR test for entry, and a subsequent antigen test on the fifth day of travel. In the 24 hours following that announcement, international flight bookings to Thailand grew by 37 percent. On March 7, the Thai government further revised the measures, dropping the testing requirements on the fifth day. With that change, international flight bookings grew 128 percent compared to booking on first announcement.
The top five countries travelling to Southeast Asia are the US, UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. Solo travellers made up 44 percent of international flight bookings for the first quarter of 2022 to date, by far the largest traveller segment, which may be comprised of returning business travellers, flexible tourists whose bags are packed the moment borders reopen, and Southeast Asian expats who are eager to return home without enduring a once mandatory quarantine.
(**PHOTO CREDIT: Pixabay)