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Asia Pacific travel on the rebound: ForwardKeys expert sees bright future

Olivier Ponti, Director of Intelligence & Marketing for ForwardKeys, shares key insights on APAC travel trends post-pandemic at the PATA Annual Summit in Macao.

During the PATA Annual Summit in Macao, Olivier Ponti, Director of Intelligence & Marketing for ForwardKeys, shared crucial insights into the evolving travel trends in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region post-pandemic. In an insightful interview with TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific, Ponti highlighted the region’s path towards full recovery, the significance of rebuilding air connectivity, and strategic market targeting.

Ponti emphasized that while APAC is heading towards full recovery, several factors are crucial to achieving this milestone. One of the key elements is the rebuilding of air connectivity, which faced significant challenges post-pandemic due to the sudden reopening of markets, particularly China. The initial lack of airlift, combined with manpower shortages and logistical issues, posed hurdles on the supply side. Despite these challenges, the demand for travel remained robust.

“More destinations are now ready to host travelers,” Ponti stated, pointing out the gradual improvement in air connectivity and the downward trend in flight fares. He noted that fares, though still higher than pre-COVID levels, have seen a significant decrease, making air travel more affordable and fueling the recovery process.

A critical aspect of the recovery is the reactivation of the Chinese outbound market. Ponti observed a notable improvement in Chinese travel demand, especially during key periods like the recent Labor Day holiday. Although not yet at pre-pandemic levels, the upward trend is evident, signaling a positive trajectory.

In discussing strategic market targeting, Ponti highlighted India’s quick recovery and significant potential as a source market. He noted that the country’s swift lifting of travel restrictions, coupled with a strong economy and an eager middle class, makes it an attractive target for destinations worldwide. Additionally, substantial investments in air connectivity by Indian airlines indicate a promising outlook for outbound travel from India.

Southeast Asian countries also present a dynamic market, with destinations like Vietnam and Thailand showing strong potential both as destinations and source markets. Ponti emphasized the importance of targeting these markets with tactical and strategic marketing campaigns.

Looking ahead, Ponti recommended leveraging data to identify emerging opportunities and making informed decisions. He stressed the importance of smart regulations that facilitate travel, such as easing visa restrictions, and using intelligent marketing strategies. Examples include Macau’s successful targeting of the couples segment and Singapore’s strategic use of major events like Taylor Swift concerts to attract visitors.

As the PATA Annual Summit unfolded, the key takeaway was clear: the APAC region is poised for growth, with all the necessary elements in place for a robust recovery. The insights shared by Ponti provide a roadmap for travel professionals aiming to navigate this dynamic landscape effectively.

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