Travel TrendsMobile messaging, AR/VR technology drive the US$215.92 billion market.

Asia overtakes US as largest digital travel market

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Asia Pacific takes top spot as the world’s largest digital travel market. Last year, total sales amounted to US$215.92 billion.
Asia Pacific takes top spot as the world’s largest digital travel market. Last year, total sales amounted to US$215.92 billion. Photo Credit: Pinholeimaging/Getty Images

Feeding this key trend is the growing volume of messages exchanged between people and businesses around the world. Last month, nearly 10 billion messages were exchanged according to Facebook. In Asia, 87% of smartphone owners use a message app every month. 

Asia Pacific has overtaken North America as the world’s leading digital travel market, with the booming market led by preferences for mobile messaging and AR/VR technology.

Last year, Asia Pacific racked up digital travel sales amounting to US$215.92 billion, a 21% boom compared to the previous year.

Feeding this key trend is the growing volume of messages exchanged between people and businesses around the world. Last month, nearly 10 billion messages were exchanged according to Facebook. In Asia, 87% of smartphone owners use a message app every month. 

A recent survey by Facebook found that people in emerging markets are “twice as likely as those in mature markets to message a business at least once a month”, Facebook’s global travel strategy and planning lead, Nikhilesh Ponde, said at the company’s recent APAC Travel Summit.

“People increasingly expect businesses to be available via messaging apps. This is a dynamic that travel businesses in Asia Pacific are poised to leverage, given these are mobile-first markets,” Ponde added. 

Travel brands have begun using WhatsApp to send timely notifications and offer customer support. They include airlines such as Singapore Airlines and travel planning websites like MakeMyTrip.com.

Last month, Facebook introduced its new Flight Ads for Prospecting that will enable travel businesses to target people in Facebook at various stages of travel shopping and booking.

Virgin Australia was one of the first airlines globally to test the new product to reach customers who have not visited their site or app but have shown travel intent. The airline’s targeted flight offers reached 500,000 people across Facebook and Instagram.


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