Abacus Bookings Strong through Chinese New Year

Travel News Asia 7 April 2005

Travel bookings outstripped expectations in the post-Chinese New Year period, setting the scene for a year of robust growth, according to figures released today by Abacus International.

Traditionally for Abacus, the week following Chinese New Year sees a sharp decrease in travel bookings in many Asia-Pacific markets. However, bookings during February 13-19 this year were significantly higher than the equivalent period in 2003 (Feb 8-14) and 2004 (Jan 25-31) in key markets such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Bookings during the week following Chinese New Year are a good indicator of the health of the regions travel and how the industry will perform in the year ahead, said Mr Don Birch, President and CEO of Abacus

This year we have good reason to be optimistic. Bookings held up remarkably well across the board due to strong underlying demand and effective marketing and distribution of special fares by airlines and travel agencies, Mr Birch added.

The festive season was the main reason for a small drop in total bookings year-on-year for February. Intra-Asia routes, which account for 81 per cent of Abacus bookings, mirrored the overall bookings result with an 8 percent drop over the corresponding period last year. Asia to Europe bookings held up well with a 3 per cent decrease, while there is a resurgent in Asia to Middle East routes, up 66 per cent.

Due to the timing of Chinese New year, FIT bookings during February were down 14 per cent on 2004, but up 7 per cent on 2003 and 23 per cent on 2002. FIT bookings for the year-to-date are up 3 per cent on 2004, 11 per cent on 2003 and 5 per cent on 2002.

Electronic tickets (e-tickets) continued to gain traction. During February the number of e-tickets issued increased 98 per cent on the corresponding period in 2004.

The number of e-tickets issued was highest in Hong Kong and Taiwan, while Singapore saw the highest proportion of e-tickets (46 per cent of all tickets sold).

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