As markets open up, India emerges among the top three inbound destinations in APAC with a year on year (y-o-y) rise of 21 per cent in bookings though outbound within the APAC region is lower by 40 per cent according to data provided by RateGain.

According to the data accessed by businessline, the top three destinations for inbound travel within the APAC region are Indonesia, Malaysia and India with an increase of travel of 51 per cent, 38 per cent and 21 per cent on a y-o-y basis. 

Foreign inbound

Data from ICICI Securities concurs that inbound travel within the next few months is supposed to pick up. Foreign inbound travel has so far remained moderate till now but is expected to pick up from Q4FY23 onwards, it said about the hotel and tourism sector.

“India is chairing a lot of events this year, which is a great booster. We are also expecting that travel picks up, and it is. The marketing is doing its jobs, that’s boosting morale. Plus, most cities are vaccinated. Singapore is closing, China isn’t opening, Pakistan isn’t safe and so isn’t Sri Lanka. Plus, same time last year, international travel wasn’t open, so that is also the reason for the increased number,” said Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).

Covid scare

Speaking about why outbound tourism is down by 40 per cent from India, she explained that there is a Covid scare in several APAC countries and visa issues continue to be a dampener for outbound, resulting a downfall.

The data shows that the travel activity for 2023 from late bookings is 6 per cent higher than in 2022 levels. There has also been an increase in business activity which is a key driver of overall increase which is an average increase of 18 per cent from 2022. However, leisure activity in 2023 is slightly down vs 2022 levels

However, Asian travelers are reluctant to travel internationally. China is also not seeing the impact of opening yet and is expected to come around summer. Amid the scare of the new variant, China is seeing a decline of further 12 per cent of inbound travel despite it being the time around the Chinese New Year.

Shorter trips

In contrast to the pandemic, we are now seeing trips of less than 5 days comprise 81 per cent of 2023 trips, compared to 75 per cent of 2022 trips with people moving away from the work from home option. Business travel grew a healthy 18 per cent , much higher compared to leisure which is reflected in the huge amount of economic activity in India seeing more people coming to visit the destination, as compared to people flying out.

However, travelers continue to book last minute as the contribution of late bookings grew by 6 per cent in 2022 levels. The end of China’s zero-Covid policy has not yet resulted in increased activity to and from the country, even for the New Year. Travelers are choosing safer travel to India instead.