PATA's Far East spokesperson eyes the road to recovery that awaits
Sam Collins, Far East product manager at Best at Travel and Far East spokesperson for PATA UK & Ireland, on the outlook for Asia in 2023 and considerations to be made in the journey ahead.
"We start this year with cheer and caution. The outlook for Asia remains positive in 2023 and there are reasons to be positive which agents can use to their advantage when selling the Far East. However, there are reasons to be cautious. Asia specialists must be ready to adapt – it’s the last wholesale region with differing restrictions in place. Be prepared that not everything could be smooth sailing in 2023."
Open for business
"China and Hong Kong are showing the possibility of full openings, but travellers are cautious, watching how the current ‘openings’ unfold. For these countries we’re optimistic for the 2nd half of 2023. There’s the feeling that Indonesia is preparing to withdraw restrictions, but with a focus on domestic tourism, closure of international offices and a re-introduction of visa fees, Bali & Lombok are still impacted."
"Supply is starting to meet demand as airlift is improving. This has made a noticeable difference to Malaysia with continued presence from the national carrier – good offers abound for those looking for alternative destinations. There's increased flights via Middle East hubs to the Far East such as Indonesia and Bangkok and UK regional departures such as Hainan Airlines to China."
"Hotels are almost fully reopened with great rates available for luxury hotels and almost complete unrestricted access. There continues to be a number of new openings across the region."
Multicentre & Touring
"The Far East is very accessible now and we’re seeing a shift away from ‘long stay in one destination’ towards multicentre and touring itineraries. This is beneficial for Northern Thailand and especially Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos."
Strong Sales Forecast
"International tourism arrivals are fast returning to pre-pandemic levels in parts of the Far East, notably Thailand – the region's top selling destination – aiming for 80% of 2019’s total arrivals."
"Travellers are expected to seek value for money in response to the economic climate but this is where the Far East holds its own with competitive rates. This allows for higher margins and the opportunity to upsell. Flight prices remain higher than usual as demand outstrips supply."