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Travel Agents in Asia Realistic but Not Downbeat about Future Travel Prospects

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Those closest to Asia’s travelling millions, the travel agents are realistic but not downbeat about travel prospects for the next six months, a survey by leading travel facilitator Abacus International in conjunction with Web in Travel has found.

Mr Robert Bailey, Abacus International President and CEO said that slightly less than half of the 185 travel agents surveyed felt that travel bookings will fall in the next six months and only 44% felt that prospects for business travel will shrink.

“In the recent weeks, the travel industry is somewhat besieged with pessimistic reports and forecasts for the future. This survey from the ground shows that the people who have the closest and most direct contact with travellers do not see the next six months of travel as all of gloom and doom,” said Mr Robert Bailey.

Results from the survey also revealed 68% of the travel agents surveyed felt that short getaways in the region will be their strongest growing category while 12% felt that long-haul travel to U.S., Europe, and Middle East etc will take the lead in their bookings.

It was also found that travel agents felt that economic downturn (43%), personal financial status (30%) and fuel prices (27%) were the top three factors influencing travellers’ intention to travel in the next six months.

“In addition, general sentiments are that the much-awaited fall in fuel prices from the peak of US$140 per barrel will unfortunately on its own not be a big enough catalyst to boost travel in the face of the current slowdown in global markets,” Mr Bailey added.

The survey also revealed that the three hottest destinations cited for outbound growth were; China (42%), Malaysia (31%) and Hong Kong (27%), confirming China’s status as saving grace for Asia’s travel market.

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