Since the last edition of our APAC findings, this week’s trends include drilling down on the Asia Pacific specifics, signs of positive momentum in domestic travel, highlighting which specific months in the future we can expect an uptick in travel and what is happening in Australia. These insights are based on data collected on the 4th May, 2020.
APAC experienced about 40% decrease in search from March onwards
All Regions Year-To-Date Index in Searches
Following the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring that COVID-19 was officially a pandemic, from 12th of March onwards, Asia Pacific was seen to have a 40% decrease in search volume. Following which, the individual countries within the region saw a further decrease in search intent as stricter travel restrictions came into play.
Positive momentum in domestic travel in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan
Source Market: China - Domestic Travel
While Mainland China outbound travel started declining in December, it has since reached a plateau. Trends show that domestic travel took a sharp drop in mid-January when China imposed a lockdown, but continues to improve since mid-February showing positive upticks. This trend comes amidst China being prominent in the news - politically, where a lengthy rebuttal of allegations was submitted over its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and elsewhere in the country, Shanghai Disneyland reopened on 11th May to a reduced number of visitors, ending a three-month closure.
Hong Kong domestic travel was on a decline, but is showing clear signs of recovery since mid-February. Hong Kong outbound travel declined until the end of January, but has started to show signs of recovery at the end of April. We noticed that this uptick is coming from Hong Kong to China specifically. While Hong Kong has been celebrating progress of the containment of the virus, are more troubles on the road ahead as riot police chased protesters over the Mother's Day weekend?
Taiwan domestic travel has a slower decline than average and shows signs of recovery in the second week of April. Additionally, Taiwan outbound has been on a decline since mid-January, but has reached a plateau. Taiwan announced over the weekend that they had no new cases of COVID-19 to report, meaning the area has gone 28 days without reporting a single local transmission. This could reflect positively on travel trends in the near future.
Source Market: South Korea - Domestic Travel
South Korean domestic and outbound travel has seen a general decline since mid-December, but we are seeing a slight improvement in April. Following positive news of containment of the virus, over the weekend, South Korea warned of a second wave of cases as a new cluster formed around a number of nightclubs. Since then, the capital Seoul shut down all night clubs, bars, and discos.
February 2021 has the highest search volume in the last 28 days across Asia
Future Flight Departure Date Searches from East Asia, Oceania and Southeast Asia
Looking at our flight data and the flight searches conducted in the last 28 days, we can tell that travellers are searching and dreaming of a destination during some specific months ahead. February 2021 has the highest search volume intent. We believe that this could be due to the Chinese Lunar New Year and that travellers are looking for potential destinations to visit. Additionally, we noticed that September and November this year do have a high search volume and this could be due to the mid-Autumn Festival in China - just four months away!
What is happening down under in comparison to Singapore and Hong Kong?
Hong Kong seems to have the highest search volume in November and this could be due to two anticipated events happening - The Airline Economic Growth and Fintech Conference. As for Singapore and Australia, February 2021 is the highest search month. Even though the numbers are still lower than last year’s volume, it is a positive sign that travellers are ‘dreaming’ and planning their next trip. Australia and New Zealand largely avoided high casualty cases introducing strict nationwide stay at home orders and border closures, including travelling between states. Positive signs coming out of Australia indicate that students of New South Wales and Queensland began returning to school this week on a limited basis, as the country's rate of new infections continued to slow.
Future Flight Departure Date Searches to Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore