Travel TrendsDemand bubbling over for Trans-Tasman and S'pore-Hong Kong travel, led by leisure travellers who are keen to get out and have some fun.

First came the bubbles, then came the sell-outs

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Leisure travel is leading the way for the Trans-Tasman bubble, accounting for 91% of travel bookings versus 9% for business travel, revealed ForwardKeys.
Leisure travel is leading the way for the Trans-Tasman bubble, accounting for 91% of travel bookings versus 9% for business travel, revealed ForwardKeys.

Hours after both governments gave the green light to the 26 May launch of the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble, flights for the initial phrase of the quarantine-free agreement between both cities are already sold out.

Singapore Airlines’ first bubble flight for Hong Kong is scheduled to take off on 26 May at 8.40am, whereas a similar outbound flight by Cathay Pacific is slated to leave Hong Kong at 9.10am.

The Straits Times also reported that Cathay Pacific Airways saw more than a 10-fold increase in its website traffic on Monday (April 26), the day the travel bubble was announced.

“Seats on our air travel bubble flights are selling fast, while some of the flights are sold out,” a Cathay Pacific spokesperson was reported as saying.

Outbound demand from Hong Kong is equally strong, with SIA's first bubble flight out of Hong Kong at 2.25pm on 28 May sold out hours after the 26 April announcement.

The travel bubble flights will initially begin with one flight a day in each direction, each capped at 200 passengers. SIA will run daily travel bubble flights from June 9, and Cathay Pacific from June 10.

Qantas has already added more flights to Queenstown to "meet expected demand during the peak ski season" says Group CEO Alan Joyce. Pictured: Coronet Peak.
Qantas has already added more flights to Queenstown to "meet expected demand during the peak ski season" says Group CEO Alan Joyce. Pictured: Coronet Peak. Photo Credit: Queenstown NZ

Who's booking these bubble flights?

ForwardKeys has captured similar data for the recently launched Trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand, with issued tickets reaching 101% of 2019 volumes within one day from the 6 April announcement.

According to the data, 46% of these bookings are centred between Australia's three major cities of Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, and New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland.

Another 15% of bookings come from these trio of Australian cities and New Zealand's Christchurch.

Leisure travel is leading the way for the Trans-Tasman bubble, accounting for 91% of travel bookings versus 9% for business travel, revealed ForwardKeys.

Travellers also seem eager to get outdoors and have some fun.

Queenstown, which markets itself as 'the adventure capital of the world' is faring "exceptionally well" in terms of bookings, noted the travel intelligence company. Overall, while bookings made from the entire of Australia to New Zealand from 6-14 April lagged 37% in the same period in 2019, Queenstown was 2.5% ahead of pre-Covid levels.

Just as Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran has anticipated a huge influx of Aussies entering Queenstown between July and September for the ski season, ForwardKeys say bookings are at a 72% high for winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, for this period.

As well, a growing number of travellers from Australia are choosing to stay over 14 nights, figures accounting for a 32% growth for this length of stay as compared to 2019 figures.

The average length of stay, meanwhile, has increased from 7.1 nights to 9.7 nights.

“Perhaps this is a sign of 'cabin fever', people haven’t had the chance to travel and now that they can they wish to get away for longer and even splurge on themselves,” said Olivier Ponti, VP insights at ForwardKeys.

Travellers are also more willing to splash the cash, with an 8% increase in bookings for business class cabins, these tickets mostly purchased by solo travellers and couples.

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