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MasterIndex of Travel Survey shows Singapore, Thailand and China as Top Destinations in Asia/Pacific

Travel News Asia 29 July 2004

MasterCard International today announced the results of its MasterIndex(TM) of Travel survey. Conducted between May to June 2004, the latest MasterIndex of Travel revealed Singapore and Thailand (both with 16% of the respondent base) tied as the top regional destinations for personal travel, followed by China (13%). The most frequently visited countries for business travel were China (23%), Singapore (16%) and Hong Kong (13%).

The MasterIndex of Travel, conducted twice a year in 13 markets across Asia/Pacific, was designed to monitor business and personal travel trends among the urban middle class across the region. The survey polled 6,000 consumers from 13 markets including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Approximately 400 respondents per market were interviewed, except for China where 600 interviews were conducted (200 each in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou).

Other highlights include:

33% of respondents have traveled by air on personal international trips in the past 12 months; 82% of these considered personal travel as important to their lifestyle.

53% of travelers identified Rest & Relaxation as their foremost reason for personal travel, followed closely by wanting to see new places at 41.5%.

18% of respondents have made a business trip to an international destination by air in the past 12 months, 22% of whom were men and 12% women.

Singapore Airlines (15%) remained the most preferred airline for business travel in Asia/Pacific, followed by Cathay Pacific Airways (9%), Malaysian Airlines (8%) and Thai Airways (7%).

Stuart McDonald, senior vice president, Regional Business Development, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard, said: As travelers continue to embark on both personal and business trips, the latest MasterIndex of Travel indicates that most of these trips are increasingly made within the Asia/Pacific region with Singapore, Thailand and China emerging as the top destinations for Asians traveling for personal and business trips. The implication for the travel and hospitality industry is that they will need to focus on accommodating the needs of this fast growing group of Asian travelers.

According to Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Economic Advisor to MasterCard International in Asia/Pacific, The importance of personal travel to the survey respondents' lifestyle is consistent with our research findings on the emerging lifestyle trends of the rapidly expanding urban middle class of Asia/Pacific. This further reinforces our view that personal travel will continue to enjoy high growth in the years to come, benefiting the airlines, the hospitality industry and a wide range of small and medium sized businesses in the region. On the side of business travel, it is interesting to see that business activities continue to make business travel more, not less, necessary. IT connectivity and face-to-face communications seem to grow together, not act as substitutes.

Market Specific Highlights

AUSTRALIA

Personal Travel

91% of Australian respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (49%), followed by To spend time with family/relatives (35%) and For change of scenery/weather (33%).

Business Travel

56% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 25% made more trips outside the region; and 15% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

New Zealand (25%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by both China and Hong Kong (19%).

Qantas (38%) was the most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by Singapore Airlines and China Airlines (both 13%).

CHINA

Personal Travel

86% of Chinese respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important part of their lifestyles. 

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (64%), followed by To see new places (62%) and To see different people/cultures(41%).

Business Travel

59% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within Asia/Pacific than outside the region; 29% made more trips outside the region; and 12% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

Hong Kong (38%) was the most frequently visited destination, followed by Thailand (27%).

China Airlines (54%) was the most preferred carrier for business travel. Cathay Pacific (7%) ranked third behind Other Airlines (11%).

HONG KONG

Personal Travel

83% of respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (62%), followed by To see new places (35%) and To see different peoples/cultures (33%).

Business Travel

82% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within Asia/Pacific than outside the region; 4% made more trips outside the region; 15% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period. 

China (80%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by Thailand (19%)

Cathay Pacific (48%) was the most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by both Singapore Airlines and Other Airlines (tied at 11%)

INDONESIA

Personal Travel

91% of respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (56%), followed by To see new places (45%) and For change of scenery/weather (40%).

Business Travel

78 % of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 11% made more trips outside the region; and 11% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

Singapore (60%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by Malaysia (19%).

Garuda (44%) was the most preferred carrier for business travel followed by Singapore Airlines (23%), with Cathay Pacific and Other Airlines tied at 6%.

JAPAN

Personal Travel

86% of Japanese respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were To see different peoples/cultures (40%), followed by For change of scenery/weather (37%) and To see new places (35%).

Business Travel

76% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 8% made more trips outside the region; and 16% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period. 

China (51%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by South Korea (14%). 

Japan Airlines (71%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by ANA (16%) and Thai Airways (4%).

KOREA

Personal Travel

78% of Korean respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles. 

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were To see different peoples/ cultures (38%), followed by Rest & Relaxation (33%), To see new places (21%), For studies/courses (21%) and To spend time with family/relatives (21%).

Business Travel

62% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 24% made more trips outside the region; and 14% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

Japan (36%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by China (32%).

Korean Air (38%) was the most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by Asiana (36%).

MALAYSIA

Personal Travel

87% of Malaysian respondents who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were To see new places (70%), followed by To spend time with family/relatives (56%) and To see different people/cultures (44%).

Business Travel

62% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 24% made more trips outside the region; and 14% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

Singapore (64%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by Hong Kong (26%).

Malaysian Airways (86%) was the most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by Singapore Airlines (6%) and Cathay Pacific (4%).

NEW ZEALAND

Personal Travel

94% of respondents from New Zealand who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were To spend time with family/friends (42%), followed by Rest & Relaxation (37%) and For change of scenery/weather (14%).

Business Travel

75% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 19% made more trips outside the regionand 5% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

Australia (74%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by Indonesia (9%).

Air New Zealand (54%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by both Qantas (21%) and Other Airlines (9%).

THE PHILIPPINES

Personal Travel

93% of respondents from the Philippines who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were To spend time with family/ relatives (51%) and Rest & Relaxation (46%), followed by To see new places (44%).

Business Travel

75% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 19% made more trips outside the region; and 5% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

China and Singapore (26%) were the most frequently visited countries, followed by Japan (23%).

Philippines Airlines (26%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by both Singapore Airlines and Other Airlines (tied at 13%).

SINGAPORE

Personal Travel

76% of respondents from Singapore who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (79%), To spend time with family/relatives (36%) and To see new places (36%).

Business Travel

59% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 9% made more trips outside the region; and 32% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

China and Malaysia (both at 41%) were the most frequently visited countries, followed by Taiwan (32%).

Singapore Airlines (70%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by Thai Airways (9%) and China Airlines (5%).

TAIWAN

Personal Travel

78% of respondents from Taiwan who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest and Relaxation (89%), followed by To see different peoples/cultures (61%) and To spend time with family /relatives (60%).

Business Travel

72% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 16% made more trips outside the region; and 12% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

China (50%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by Japan (22%).

EVA Air (32%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by Cathay Pacific (18%), Singapore Airlines (7%) and Other Airlines (7%).

THAILAND

Personal Travel

59% of respondents from Thailand who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (57%) followed by To see new places (50%) and For change of scenery/weather (39%).

Business Travel

67% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 20% made more trips outside the region; and 13% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

Singapore (31%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by China (18%) and Hong Kong (17%).

Thai Airways (61%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by Singapore Airlines (16%).

VIETNAM

Personal Travel

59% of respondents from Vietnam who had made personal trips in the past 12 months considered international personal travel as an important element in their lifestyles.

The main reasons for their personal travels abroad were Rest & Relaxation (61%), followed by To see different peoples/cultures (50%) and To see new places (44%).

Business Travel

89% of respondents that traveled for business said they had made more trips in the past 12 months within the Asia/Pacific region than outside the region; 6% made more trips outside the region; and 6% said that they had made about the same as in the previous period.

China (30%) was the most frequently visited country, followed by Singapore and Thailand (both at 28%).

Vietnam Air (44%) was the single most preferred carrier for business travel, followed by both Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines (tied at 15%).

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