The recovery of travel in Asia may look like this

By | March 12, 2021
Spread the love

take the change

With Asian destinations learning to live with the virus, recovery doesn’t seem far off. A new report from the Asia Pacific Travel Association (PATA) is going to great lengths to explore how this recovery might occur.

Biden Duma Bhutia

International visitor arrivals to Asia between 2022 and 2023 are expected to grow by 100 percent, highlighting the usual S curve as demand rises and then back to more normal growth rates over time.

That’s according to a new Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) report, which examines trends and expectations of foreign visitor arrivals to and through the region over the three-year period covering 2022-2024.

The PATA report envisages moderate, moderate and severe scenarios for generalizing tourism recovery in the region.

By 2024, international visitor arrivals to Asia are expected to exceed 2019 levels under the moderate scenario and close to parity under the medium scenario. However, the harsh scenario expects arrivals in and through Asia in 2024 to be only 69% from 2019.

What are the specific determinants?

John Koldofsky, Special Adviser to the International Air Transport Association, said the criteria outlining the three scenarios include containing Covid, keeping borders open with no quarantine policy on arrival and reopening entertainment and hospitality venues.

On the demand side, some of the key factors influencing scenarios, apart from the desirability of a destination, include the perceived (and actual) safety of the destination, its access to and from and the ability to quickly return to domestic ports in the event of a sudden rise in infections and subsequent return of containment policies. Koldofsky, who is also the author of the summary report, noted that the cost of tests and treatments (if needed) would also be significant. “The current war between Russia and Ukraine is not helping things either, especially in and around that part of Europe.”

From being one of the most visited regions worldwide with more than 500 million visitors in 2018 and 525 million in 2019, international visitor arrivals to Asia declined by 85 percent in 2020. Estimates for the full calendar year 2021 suggest to an overall decrease of 70-75% compared to 2019.

After the contraction in the numbers of foreign arrivals to Asia between 2020 and 2021, annual growth is expected to return in 2022 under all scenarios.

Which region in Asia will be the first to recover?

While the recovery largely depends on what is used as a measure of growth, South Asia is likely to see the fastest recovery to 2019 levels.

The moderate scenario predicts the strongest return for South Asia in 2022 with international visitors arriving at 47 percent of 2019 levels. In 2023, arrivals to Southeast Asia are expected to reach 89 percent from 2019, while 2024 will see International visitors to South Asia increased by 123 percent from 2019. Under current conditions, the three Asian sub-regions are expected to exceed their 2019 levels. by the end of 2024.

The medium scenario also presents the strongest recovery for South Asia in 2022 with international visitors arriving at 38 percent from 2019. Southeast Asia is expected to reach 67 percent of 2019 levels in 2023, while in 2024, from It is expected to reach 101 percent from 2019. Northeast Asia levels 97 percent and South Asia 95 percent.

However, if the scenario becomes harsh, the recovery is likely to be confined to South Asia throughout 2022-2024, with 2024 seeing a 75% return to the 2019 arrival figures.

“What is different from previous negative attitudes is that for the first time, policies of origin and destination come into effect,” Koldowski said. “Passengers not only need to be allowed to leave their home ports and arrive at a destination without a lot of containment measures, but then they also need to be allowed to go back to their home ports at the end of the journey and again, without a lot of containment measures.”

What about air capacity?

The report notes that a return to 2019 capacity levels will remain elusive, as only 52 percent of this capacity will be reached in 2022.

Since airlines are so adept at matching demand with capacity, the higher the production capacity, the higher the latter will also, Koldowski said.

“However, capacity will likely be managed with caution until profitability and passenger load factors increase beyond the break-even point,” PATA’s Koldowski said. “Flights and capacities to/from viable ports are likely to increase, as ground planes are very expensive (and obviously not generate any revenue), while airport slots need to be maintained where possible.”

Any near surge in demand will likely be satisfied quickly, as there are countless aircraft waiting to return to profitable air routes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.