India: Bookings hurt but will lead

ForwardKeys, in association with PATA India Chapter, has come up with air travel trends to India and South Asia during COVID-19. The report, which also lays focus on the future, predicts that growth in air travel bookings to the region will be led by India.

Travel analytics company ForwardKeys has employed several datasets to reflect on the entire traveller journey, resulting in some key predictions for the future while also mapping how booking behaviour has panned out during the COVID-19 pandemic, a step that is key to understanding the future of travel to India and South Asia. The methodology includes application of flight search, seat capacity and actual air reservations data, combined with historic trends, to estimate the total air market forecast in the region.

Current booking pattern

ForwardKeys reveals that based on year-to-date variance in international arrivals to Asia Pacific between January 1, 2020 and July 12, 2020 compared to the same period last year, South Asia has been the least affected within APAC with a -60.2 per cent variance. The most affected region is North East Asia with a variance of -82.7 per cent. The analysis also reveals that within South Asia, India has been the most affected country with a variance of -61 per cent.

Outlook for South Asia in Q4 2020

ForwardKeys reveals that the top five South Asian inbound destinations for international travellers will be led by India. This outlook is based on bookings confirmed in the first week of July versus the same period last year, for travel in October–December 2020 vs travel in October-December 2019. India, however, will continue to have a year-on-year variance of -78.1 per cent, which is higher than the year-on-year variance predicted for total inbound to South Asia that stands at -70.4 per cent. In fact, international bookings for travel to South Asia in Q4 2020 are said to peak in September.

Key findings – APAC

  • More cancellations than news bookings for international travel to South Asia since early March
  • New bookings overcome cancellations to the Maldives towards June-end for the first time since March
  • Issued tickets for domestic air travel in China show an uptick since late May
  • As Europe begins to rebound, tickets issued for international flights to Spain, Greece and Portugal for travel in July and August rise
  • Spike in cancellations to India and South Asia from southern Europe
  • Weekly tickets made for future domestic travel in India show slow signs of recovery
  • Spike in tickets issued during Easter break correspond to travel within India between June-August



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