China Retains Top Spot as Most Frequently Visited Destination for Business Travel in Latest MasterIndex of Travel Survey

Travel News Asia Friday, 8 September 2006

MasterCard Worldwide released on Thursday the results of its MasterIndex of Travel survey report on business and personal travel trends among the urban middle class across 13 markets (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam). Released twice a year, the survey report shows that intra-regional travel around the region still seems to be the most popular choice. Click here for detailed country by country results

According to Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor to MasterCard Worldwide in Asia Pacific, "Chinas importance as a business travel destination is a simple reflection of the role it plays in being a key hub in an increasingly efficient Pan-Asia Supply Chain, as well as, its rapidly expanding domestic market. In this regard, business travel to China is a positive sum game that also benefits the rest of the region a rising need to travel to China for business purposes generates an additional need to travel to the rest of the region as well."

Personal Travel in the Past 12 Months

Respondents continued to name destinations in the Asia Pacific (83% vs. 84% six months ago) region as their top choice for personal travel, above destinations in Europe (36% vs. 34% six months ago) and North American (18% vs. 17% six months ago). Similar to the previous reports, Japan (23% vs. 28% six months ago) and Australia (21% vs. 24 six months ago) although saw a slight dip, continued to remain as popular travel destinations in Asia Pacific for personal travelers.

Regionally 36% of respondents said that they have traveled internationally in the past 12 months. This is exactly the same as a period ago and a year ago. As previously, Thais (72%) followed by Hong Kongers (64%) and Singaporeans (60%) continue to top the list of personal travelers in the past 12 months, as they have for the past four surveys.

Other key insights included;

- The concerns of personal travelers remain relatively unchanged from six months ago and a year ago. Security and safety issues (59%) continue to represent the biggest concern about traveling, ahead of losing one's passport (36%) and language barriers/communication problems (28%).

- General sightseeing and visiting scenic spots (59%) remains the regions top priority activity for travelers in the region, followed by shopping (50%) and rest and relaxation (41%).

- Local souvenirs/antiques/arts & crafts (57%) as well as apparel and personal effects (56%) continue to be the most preferred shopping purchases, followed by food items (30%) and luxury items/jewelry/branded goods (25%). 

Business Travel in the Past 12 Months

For business travelers, 88% frequently visited more destinations in the Asia Pacific region, above that of Europe (12%) and North America (11%) in the past 12 months. China (28%, the same as the previous two periods) and Singapore (19% vs. 20% six months ago) continue to remain key destinations for business travelers. Hong Kong (15% vs. 16% six months ago) and Japan (14% vs. 12% six months ago) follow closely behind. The markets with the highest percentage of respondents traveling for business remain fairly consistent, with Thailand (35%, same as six months ago) heading the list followed closely by Hong Kong (34% vs. 17% six months ago) and Singapore (33% vs. 32% six months ago). Compared to the historical average and to a lesser extent, a period ago, Hong Kongers, Mainland Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans are travelling more for business, while Indonesians and Malaysians have begun to travel less.

Other key insights included;

- Business travelers across the region continued to see that they needed to travel about the same (46% vs. 40% six months ago) compared to a period ago. Slightly more business travelers (31% vs. 32% six months ago) see the need to travel more than the previous period than those who see the need to travel less (24% vs. 27% six months ago). Of the 13 markets, business travelers in Vietnam (64%) and New Zealand (48%) saw a need to travel more compared to the previous period.

- Singapore Airlines (16%) continues to be the most preferred airline for business travelers, as it has been since the inauguration of the MasterIndex of Travel in 2003. Thai Airways (10%) and Cathay Pacific (10%) are neck to neck in second place, followed by Air China (9%).

- Regionally, business travelers prefer international four-star hotels (33%) over international five-star hotels/accommodation (22%) and three-star/medium priced hotel (21%).

Method of Booking Personal and Business Trips in the Past 12 Months

- Similar to the previous report, travel agents (45%), the Internet (38%) and word of mouth/friends/family/associates (35%) remain key information sources that influence choice of personal travel destination. Respondents from markets that choose travel agents include; China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

- Regionally, Company's Travel Department (43%) continues to play the most important role in making travel arrangements for business travelers. Travel Arrangement Company's (28%) or making their 'Own Arrangement' (27%) took second and third place respectively. Personal and Business Traveler Profile

- Profiles for personal travelers remained the same as the previous surveys, with women (38%) vs. men (35%) travelling more. Travelers over the past 12 months also skewed towards the younger '46 - 55' age group compared to the '56 and above' age group that traveled more over a year ago.

- Males (24%) continue to dominate business travel compared to females (14%). Over the past 12 months the '31 - 45' age group (23%) of business travelers remained to take the lead compared to the '46 - 55' age group (22%), age 30 years and below (16%) and age 56 years and above (13%).

A total of 5,401 consumers from 13 markets participated in the survey. Fieldwork was conducted between 15 May and 1 June 2006, with a sample of 400 or more consumers in each of the markets.

The MasterIndex of Travel report also comprises a six month forecast of outbound travel for 12 markets (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand). The forecast was released on 28 August 2006.

See alsoDetailed MasterIndex of Travel Survey Results for the Second Half of 2006

See other recent news regarding: MasterCard, MasterIndex

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