India H1 recovery fast in APAC

Considering the tickets confirmed for international arrivals in the first half of 2023, India is one of the most recovered destinations in the world, according to a report released by ForwardKeys. However, the recovery is still 18 per cent below the pre-pandemic levels.

TT Bureau

ForwardKeys has revealed that India is one of the most recovered destinations, with tickets confirmed for international arrivals in the first half of 2023, which is only 18 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

“The APAC region continues in recovery mode, mostly driven by VFR travel. The latest forecast from ForwardKeys points to an overall recovery of international arrivals of 51 per cent of 2019 volumes in H1 2023. India is one of the most recovered destinations, with tickets confirmed for international arrivals in the first half of 2023 only 18 per cent below pre-pandemic levels,” says Juan A. Gomez, Head of Market Intelligence at ForwardKeys.

“Most recovered international hubs in the region in Q2 versus pre-pandemic, in terms of planned air seat capacity, include Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (-1 per cent) and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (-9 per cent). India as a whole is just 9 per cent below 2019 levels,” adds Gomez.

“As a source market, India has also managed to recover some ground and some regional leisure destinations are set to post growth on arrivals from India in Q2 versus 2019: Vietnam (+121 per cent) and Indonesia (+3 per cent),” he shares.

The data shows a recovery in global international air travel that could reach 80 per cent of 2019 volumes by the end of the first half of the year. Not all destinations are set to reach pre-pandemic levels, but some will certainly exceed 2019 numbers. In the report, it is mentioned that India is expecting a full recovery by the end of Q1 2023. “Although India’s size as an international outbound market is largely attributable to its significant global diaspora, its middle-class population is growing, and the number of outbound leisure travellers from the country is increasing as a result. Moreover, while India’s intraregional outbound travel market is relatively small, it had experienced more growth (+10 per cent) than any of the other major Asia Pacific outbound markets – both international and intraregional – over the five years before the pandemic. Now that the country has fully reopened, ForwardKeys expects its development as an interregional outbound market to accelerate,” states the report.

Key trends

The report lists six key trends and opportunities to look out for in 2023.

Coming back to pre-pandemic arrival levels

The report mentions that the latest data shows a recovery in global international air travel that could reach 80 per cent of 2019 volumes by the end of the first half of the year. Not all destinations are set to reach pre-pandemic levels, but some will certainly exceed 2019 numbers. It says that the Middle East is set to be the first global region to grow in international visitor numbers overall, while in Europe, Mediterranean destinations are getting close to pre-pandemic arrival levels or even surpassing them.

Limited capacity and travel disruptions

The report points out that in the post-COVID-19 context, non-stop connections and ‘simple’ flight itineraries have become decisive factors for travellers concerned about the inconveniences of varying travel requirements and the likelihood of flight disruptions. “Despite travel restrictions now being lifted in most destinations around the world, we will see this trend continuing in 2023,” it says.

Asia-Pacific returns

The report points out that things are looking up for a few destinations in the Asia-Pacific region. ForwardKeys has revealed that China’s decision to ditch its zero-COVID policy has triggered a surge in flight bookings.

High on Luxury

As observed by the fast recovery of premium cabin classes in 2022, the report says that travellers have shown interest to spend more on travel services and experiences. It will benefit airlines, destinations and tourism-related businesses.

Communication and crisis management

“Clear communication has been key throughout the pandemic crisis and should remain consistent whenever there is a disaster – Turkey could have avoided such a fall in bookings, especially in Istanbul if crisis communications were laid out in time,” says Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights, ForwardKeys.

 

 

 

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