All countries in Southeast Asia, with the possible exception of Brunei, have begun lifting travel restrictions and reopening their borders to foreign tourists. The main goal — revitalize the tourism industry, which has been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Travelport, a global distribution system for booking flights, hotels, cars and other services that provides “online” hundreds of thousands of travel companies around the world, published a study yesterday showing how the easing of restrictions has affected the demand for travel in Southeast Asia.
According to Travelport booking data, the top ten destinations in Asia, which tourists from other countries will visit in 2022, looks like this:
- Manila (Philippines)
- Singapore (Singapore)
- Bangkok (Thailand)
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Hanoi, Vietnam
- Phuket, Thailand
- Bali, Indonesia
- Angeles/Mabalacat, Philippines
International bookings in Q1 2022 flights to Southeast Asia as a whole has increased and continues to grow. Leading Philippines, reaching a level of 42 percent of passenger traffic from pre-pandemic 2019. The Philippines and Thailand were among the first countries in Southeast Asia to reopen their borders, so it is no coincidence that today these two countries account for more than half of the — 51 percent — all international flight bookings to the region.
On January 28, the Philippines announced plans to fully open to vaccinated travelers, which they did on February 10. In the week following the news, international flight bookings into the country rose by 114 percent. And a month later, on February 28, this figure increased by 294 percent.
Thailand for the first time allowed foreigners to enter the country on February 1, launching the Test & go. Tourists were required to have a negative PCR test for entry and to take another antigen test on the fifth day of travel. The next day, the number of purchased tickets to Thailand increased by 37 percent. On March 7, the Thai government further relaxed the requirements and canceled mandatory testing on the fifth day. With this change, bookings for international flights are up 128 percent compared to bookings at the first announcement.
The top five countries in terms of number of tourists traveling to Southeast Asia are the US, UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia Arabia and South Korea. To date, individual travelers account for 44 percent of the tickets booked in the region.