The Asian travel industry could be heading for a “massive” fourth quarter with industry-leading B2B wholesaler GTA reporting surging hotel room sales across its network.
“In Asia we’re doing really well – way ahead of expectations,” said Daryl Lee, GTA’s Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
He said bookings are up 15% to 16% over last year with momentum building into the traditional holiday period.
“Q4 is a big season for Asia,” Mr Lee said.
“It’s massively up because most of the countries have had a good run economy-wise (and) we continue to see a lot of people who want to travel.”
He says China and India remain by far the fastest-growing booking source markets, up 91% and 63% respectively over last year.
Meanwhile, Japan, where outbound bookings have been hit by a repressed economy, is the hottest destination thanks to a devalued Yen unlocking pent-up demand.
“Japan is the most successful destination in the whole of Asia-Pacific,” said Andrew Hughes, GTA’s Vice President Hotel Sourcing APMEA.
“It’s near impossible to get a room anywhere within a 30 day window.
“Hotel rates have more than doubled but people are still going.”
Thailand is the other major travel success story.
“Thailand without question remains really strong,” Mr Lee said.
“We’ll absolutely smash last year. We’re up by 50% on last year and last year was strong.”
Visitor growth to Thai holiday destinations such as Phuket is behind the booking boost.
But Bangkok has also quickly rebounded from the Erawan Shrine bombing on August 17.
After taking an initial hit, Mr Lee said GTA’s Bangkok bookings for September were actually better than last year.
He said the Tourism Authority of Thailand responded quickly and that consumers jumped on a range of special packages rushed to market.
The Australian market remains strong with the best outbound growth to medium-haul Asian destinations.
“We’re up 16% out of Australia into Asia,” Mr Lee said.
GTA operates a business to business model and is one of the world’s biggest accommodation companies with 14 million room nights booked last year.
Most of its inventory is sold through traditional travel agents, while Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa is it biggest division, accounting for 50% of total sales.