In the prolonged absence of Chinese tourists, regional destinations
have shifted their attention to other key source markets, most notably
India’s outbound market, which had shown a “particular promise”
pre-pandemic, travel industry data analyst ForwardKeys said.
“Although India’s size as an international outbound market is largely
attributable to its significant global diaspora, its middle-class
population is growing, and the number of outbound leisure travellers
from the country is increasing as a result,” it added.
India was among the top five outbound markets in Asia Pacific before Covid-19, the Spanish research house said.
“India’s intra-regional outbound travel market is relatively small
but it has experienced more than 10.4% growth than any other major Asia
Pacific outbound markets, international and intraregional, over the five
years before the pandemic.
“Now that the country has fully reopened, ForwardKeys expects its
development as an interregional outbound market to accelerate,” it
India, Japan, South Korea and Thailand are some of the travel source markets to watch, says ForwardKeys.
Over in Thailand, a better economic environment has enabled more of
its residents to travel abroad, making the country an “increasingly
valuable source market” for regional destinations.
ForwardKeys also expects the reopening of Japan and South Korea, two
top-performing outbound markets in Asia Pacific (excluding China) before
Covid-19, would once again see their re-establishment as valuable
source markets in the region.
“With China’s reopening seemingly still some time off, regional
destinations need to adapt to the new environment, identifying markets
and travel audiences to fill the gap left by China and contribute
towards a long-term, sustainable tourism model,” it said.
In the meantime, the analyst noted that with much of the region
having reopened, it would be interesting to see whether local markets
can keep Covid-19 rates under control.
“If they can, it may encourage China to reopen, gradually, in 2023 –
as it will become increasingly difficult for the country to keep its
borders closed when the rest of the region has returned to normality.
Yet even if China were to reopen next year, the economic challenges
currently facing the country – including a property market crisis and
issues relating to the pandemic – would result in a slow travel
recovery, particularly in the long-haul segment,” it said.