Coronavirus: Outside China, Asia Sees 10.5 Percent Travel Drop

According to travel analytics company ForwardKeys, the travel setback caused by the coronavirus outbreak has now spread beyond China, with other parts of the Asia Pacific region experiencing a 10.5 percent slowdown in outbound travel bookings for March and April, excluding trips to and from China and Hong Kong.

As of February 9, the setback looks likely to be most marked in North East Asia, ForwardKeys said, where outbound bookings for March and April are 17.1 percent behind where they were at the equivalent moment last year. Bookings from South Asia are 11 percent behind; from Southeast Asia 8.1 percent behind and from Oceania 3.0 percent behind.

The Chinese outbound tourism market remains the most severely affected, according to the report. Currently, March and April bookings are set to be just 55.9 percent of what they were at the equivalent point last year. Forward bookings to Asia Pacific are 58.3 percent behind; bookings to Europe are 36.7 percent behind; to Africa and the Middle East 56.1 percent behind; and to the Americas 63.2 percent behind. 

Looking backwards over the three-week period following the imposition of government travel restrictions, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, outbound travel from China has fallen by 57.5 percent. Travel to all parts of the world has been severely down, with the Americas worst affected in relative terms and Asia Pacific in absolute terms. Travel to Asia Pacific, which receives 75 percent of the Chinese outbound market, was down by 58.3 percent; travel to Europe was down by 41.7 percent; travel to Africa & the Middle East was down by 51.6 percent and travel to the Americas was down by 64.1 percent.

“The world’s largest and highest spending outbound travel market, China, is in severe difficulty; cancellations are growing by the day and the trend is now spreading to surrounding countries,” said Olivier Ponti, VP insights at ForwardKeys, in a written statement. “On the brighter side, however, we are not seeing a slowdown in travel outside the Asia Pacific region.”

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