A recent MasterCard survey has confirmed the
widely held belief that intra-regional destinations have become
more popular than destinations further afield.
The survey was conducted by MasterCard
between 1 October to 9 November 2009 and involved 10,623 consumers
from 241 markets (Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India,
Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New
Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,
South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and
Vietnam). Data collection was via personal, online and computer
aided telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to
local language wherever appropriate and necessary.
Of the top 10 likely destinations in the next
six months for Asia Pacific respondents, eight were
intra-regional, with Japan (25%), Australia and China (both 22%)
topping the list. For Middle East respondents, six of the top 10
likely destinations were intra-regional led by Egypt (27%) and the
Africa respondents who plan to travel in the
next six months provided a contrast to their counterparts in Asia
Pacific and the Middle East. European destinations were the most
popular (72% of respondents) with six appearing in the top 10,
although the US (33%), Canada and the UK (both 24%) topped the
Across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, one
in five consumers surveyed plans to spend on international
personal air travel in the next six months. Of the 24 markets
surveyed, Hong Kong respondents (59%) topped the list of consumers
planning trips abroad, followed by Singapore (42%), Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia (37%), Nigeria and New Zealand (35% each).
Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor, Asia
Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide said, “Travel is firmly ingrained in
the lifestyles of consumers in Asia Pacific, and Kenya, Morocco
and Nigeria were added as new markets in this latest survey
although travel patterns have changed moderately, we see that
consumers’ appetite for travel has held through the recession. The
fact that Asia has been the region that has been the least
affected by the global recession also means that spending on
travel by Asian consumers will likely rebound more strongly in the
coming months as well. In the Middle East, although fewer
consumers plan to spend on travel in the next six months compared
to six months ago, we see that they attach a high level of
importance to this item of discretionary spend.
“It appears that following the economic
recession, intra-regional destinations have become popular among
consumers in Asia Pacific and the Middle East looking to take
advantage of less expensive travel options. With connectivity
among key tourist destinations within Asia Pacific and within the
Middle East becoming stronger, as well as frequent airline
promotions, consumers have become more inclined to explore
destinations closer to home.”
Across the 14 markets surveyed in Asia Pacific,
22% of the respondents surveyed are planning to holiday abroad in
the next six months, compared to 20% six months ago. Some 57% of
these respondents stated that spending on international personal
air travel was a very important or important item of discretionary
spend for them.
Intra-regional destinations are highly popular
among these travelers, with 88% of them planning to holiday in
destinations within Asia Pacific for the next six months. Eight of
the top 10 destinations chosen by the travelers are within the
region, compared to seven in the last survey.
Women in Asia Pacific (24% of female
respondents) are more inclined to travel abroad for holidays in
the next six months than men (20% of male respondents).
Almost a quarter (24%) of Middle East
respondents plan to spend on international personal air travel in
the next six months. Although fewer plan on traveling compared to
six months ago (33%), Middle East consumers are the most
enthusiastic travelers across Asia Pacific, Middle East and
Africa. Some 89% of these consumers cited it as a very important
or important discretionary spending item for them.
The popularity of intra-regional destinations
has grown among these travelers as well, with six of the top ten
destinations they have chosen being in the Middle East,
compared to five in the last survey. Of the respondents planning
to holiday abroad in the next six months, 63% plan to visit
destinations within the Middle East.
More male respondents (25%) than female
respondents (22%) plan on taking a trip abroad in the next
six months. Women respondents in the Middle East are more partial
to intra-regional destinations, with 69% of the would-be female
travelers planning to visit destinations within the Middle
East and Africa compared to 61% of the male travelers.
Respondents from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
(37%) are the keenest on traveling abroad, followed by consumers
from Kuwait (29%) and the UAE (27%).
Some 17% of consumers surveyed in Africa plan to
spend on international personal air travel in the next six months,
with 90% of these consumers citing this as a very important or
important discretionary spending for them. Respondents in Nigeria
(35%) top the Africa list of consumers planning holidays abroad,
followed by Morocco (20%) and Kenya (10%). South Africa has seen a
substantial drop in the number of respondents planning on personal
travel abroad in the six month period ahead, from 23% in the last
survey to 3% this time.
An equal percentage of women and men (both 17%)
plan to spend on travel abroad in the six months ahead. European
destinations are more popular with the female African travelers
(76%) than male (69%).
“Africa is a continent on the move today, and
consumer spending is rising along with economic growth and income.
International travel will accordingly expand in scope and
frequency in the coming years,” added Dr. Hedrick-Wong.
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