This week the ForwardKeys analysts examined the latest travel statistics, looking for key trends and changes in booking habits for India and South-Asia. With the APAC region being one of the most negatively impacted regions when it comes to international long-haul flights and tourism, which countries are showing the most resilience?

Luxury Travel prevails

Upon closer inspection of the South-Asia region, one tropical paradise is showing surprising resilience: The Maldives. The current ForwardKeys Air Reservation Data shows that for the first time, since March and the outbreak of Covid-19, the number of new bookings to the Maldives has overcome the number of cancellations.

Bookings made for international travel to South Asia, India and MaldivesThe travel distribution of the long-haul bookings made to the Maldives shows a gradual increase from August, with the Winter period in 2021 benefiting the most of international travellers.

 

South-Asia Booking Trends

The good news for countries like India and Sri Lanka is that within the APAC region, South-Asia is the least affected in the decrease of international arrivals. Albeit still in the negative in terms of year to date of international arrivals, -60.2%, the region sits better than its neighbours such as North-East Asia at -82.7%.

Year to date international arrivals to APAC regionsIn fact, India is experiencing a double whammy as the domestic travel is showing signs of a slow but steady pick up; while beyond India, its key source markets of Australia, UK, Germany, UAE and US are showing India as one of the top 5 flight searches. Despite the global health crisis, the appeal and charm of India continue to allure and attract travellers from near and afar!

Top 5 most searched destinations in South Asia

 

The Outlook?

Dr Mario Hardy, CEO of Pacific Asian Travel Association says: “The data by ForwardKeys demonstrates that travel has a future. There are still movements and bookings being made, mainly led by the leisure sector and VFR segment. Popular holiday destinations will remain popular holiday destinations, before and even after the Coronavirus – as long as there are means of transport and safety measures put in place.

With 57% of total bookings to South-Asia for Q4 made in September and the average lead booking time for long-haul travellers being 73 days, time is of the essence.

Average lead times for long haul travel to South Asia

Which source market will be of interest to your business: the Saudis who book last minute or the Germans who book over 100 days in advance? Knowing who will travel, when, where and for how long is a costly project – one that is a lot easier if you have easy to use data at your disposal.

“Using past data right now to make decisions is a little bit like driving a car by only using the rear-view mirror, but not being able to look at the road ahead. You would be able to drive but very, very slowly. Big Data allows you to look ahead,” adds Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys.

If monitoring the travel recovery is a business prerogative, try our FREE version of the Global Recovery Dashboard and have your finger on the pulse of change as it happens.