A recent travel data analysis by ForwardKeys has revealed an interesting story out of Asia. Upon examining flight searches from China to Asia versus China to South Korea, a new observation that is noteworthy can be made – since late March 2020, there has been an increase in the number of flight searches made to South Korea. And it is on a steady road of popularity against “other” Asian counterparts such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The Appeal of South Korea

“One of the reasons why South Korea may appeal so much to the Chinese travellers is the fact that it is one of the few countries in the world to have managed and controlled the outbreak of Covid19 in a safe way, “ says Lorena Garcia, Senior Analyst at ForwardKeys.

“The relative closeness and increasing frequency of flights between China and South Korea could be other contributing factors to explain this surge of interest,” adds Nancy Dai, Asia Expert.

The ForwardKeys flight search tool revealed another interesting note – airfares have jumped dramatically since 2019, yet that hasn’t slowed down the number of searches. Indeed, on the week starting June 29 the average airfare was $706 while a year ago it was $284 – more than double the price.


Changing booking habits from China

Beyond South Korea, from China other top searched destinations in June include Japan and Thailand. And the trend for flying later or last-minute reflects how the uncertainty of flight schedules and travel restrictions has impacted the booking patterns and habits out of China.

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have noticed that the average Chinese traveller has gone from two booking months in advance to booking just 4 days before their flight,” says Dai.

Asian-lead-timesMonitoring such travel trends is not just interesting for us analysts but useful to share with our clients and audience, particularly ones impacted by hotel bookings, duty-free shopping, and airlines,” says Garcia.

“Knowing who is looking to fly, when and where can save your business money in the investment you make in advertising, product development to even staffing,” concludes Garcia.

Explore the full suite of products at ForwardKeys, or why not get free access to the Global Recovery Dashboard to track travel trends as they unfold during Covid-19


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