After two challenging years of start-stop Covid-19 restrictions, the
travel industry is sputtering to life again as borders across Southeast
Asia reopen in rapid succession in recent weeks.
feel like screaming for joy at the top of my lungs to say that recovery
has finally arrived in our region, and more importantly, we truly
believe that it’s here to stay,” Hermione Joye, sector lead of Travel
& Vertical Search APAC at Google said in her opening statement at
‘Asia Arising: Reopening Safely & Emerging Stronger', a hybrid
conference organised by WiT and Travel Weekly Asia on 22 April.
“The release of travel restrictions across Southeast Asia has meant
the pent-up demand has finally converted to realised demands,” Joye
said. “People get to take action and they’re doing it really fast.
Because governments have eased restrictions, it means that individuals
are feeling safer about travelling more freely.”
Singapore is a prime example of this. When Singapore announced on 24
March that the country will open to vaccinated travellers from around
the world beginning 1 April, Google saw a 107% surge in search queries
for the destination just three days after the announcement.
data also reveals that Australia is leading the recovery, closely
followed by Philippines and Indonesia. Other Southeast Asian countries
are similarly showing healthy returns for both outbound and inbound
travel, which translates to more regional traffic and travel, and a
greater willingness for long-haul travel.
revenge traveller is sitting in the Australia and Southeast Asia
regions" she added, "and we need to go after them and make their
Joye revealed that in March, the top three markets for outbound
traffic to Southeast Asia and Australia were Bali, London and Singapore.
Go online, tap Asia’s digital awakening
“The endemic and revenge travellers are sitting in Australia and Southeast Asia,” said Google’s Hermoine Joye. Photo Credit: Travel Weekly Asia
During the pandemic, more
than 440 million people came online just in Southeast Asia, and internet
penetration has soared past 72%, according to Joye.
The digital acceleration has resulted in digital dependency,
especially in Asia where “there are very few moments that we experience
now that don’t have some type of digital engagement, between maps,
payments, security check-ins, reviews, entertainment and social media
and video, you will need to have digital touchpoints to make your
and search queries are being converted into bookings faster than ever
before. People are now booking travel in under 60 days, where as
previously before Covid, it takes a traveller approximately 70 days from
their first Google search of a destination to follow up on making
“It means you need to be moving fast especially when consumers are
researching and taking action,” Joye said. “If you want to win the
hearts and minds of travellers, it’s crucial to be digitally prepared.”