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One third of leisure travelers say plans not affected by economy

One third of leisure travelers say plans not affected by economy ( Despite economic turbulence worldwide, the Asia Pacific tourism industry has received a welcome boost from data contained in the Visa and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey “Determining Travel Preferences in 2009 and Beyond."

The survey found that of the 5,554 people surveyed, 36 percent said they did not expect to make any changes to their travel plans in the near future, while 64 percent of respondents were reviewing their plans in the light of economic uncertainty.

Among those respondents reviewing their plans, 57 percent said they would still travel but would look for cheaper alternatives, while 38 percent said they would travel within their own country instead. Only 36 percent said they would postpone their travel as a result of economic uncertainty.

Meranda Chan, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei, and PATA board director, said, “While the global economic situation will impact tourism, it is unlikely to bring travel to a standstill. What our survey has shown is that travelers will be more creative in their selection of destinations."

Greg Duffell, president and CEO - PATA said, “The travel and tourism industry is a major employer in nearly every destination in Asia Pacific. Indeed, the top two global markets for travel and tourism employment are China (74.5 million jobs) and India (30.5 million jobs), with Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand also in the top 10. We must never understate the importance of working with the travel industry to shape promotions and offerings that suit travelers' desires for new and economically-sensitive travel options - and it's vitally important that the industry delivers innovative and creative solutions to keep these people traveling."

Still traveling

Australians, British, Singaporeans, Indians, French, and Americans were less likely than the average respondent to let economic concerns keep them from traveling. Those in Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and China were more likely than the average to have their plans affected.

Commissioned by Visa and PATA, the Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey “Determining Travel Preferences in 2009 and Beyond" was an online survey conducted by Synovate from August 7-28, 2008. The survey asked 5,554 respondents from 11 key Asia Pacific travel source markets (Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States) about past and future travel plans. For each market, respondents were internet users, aged 18 years or above, had traveled for holidays in the past three years or have the intention to do so in 2009 or 2010. It included those defined as traveling on an average more than three times a year, and those defined as spending above the average survey response for their country or territory.

Travelers aged 45 and over were far more likely to keep their travel plans intact compared with those in younger age groups. More than half of the frequent travelers and high-spend travelers surveyed said their plans would not be affected by the economic downturn.

Revising plans

Of those travelers who said their plans would be affected, less expensive destinations or itineraries were more popular than average for those from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and China. Downsizing travel plans was also a popular option for frequent travelers surveyed, with 70 percent saying that they would seek less-expensive alternatives such as a change in destination or itinerary.

Domestic travel was an option being considered by 38 percent of respondents, with more travelers from Japan, India, Chinese Taipei, the United States, and China opting for local holidays. Women were more likely than men to select the domestic option; infrequent travelers were more likely to take the domestic travel route.

Postponing travel

Travelers surveyed who said they were planning to postpone travel in the near future, were more likely than average to be from China, Chinese Taipei, the United States, Korea, India, Australia, and Hong Kong. Men were also more likely than women to hold off on travel plans altogether based on economic uncertainties.

Chan said: “Considering the timing of this survey - when fuel prices were high and the global economy was already showing signs of a slowdown - the fact that travelers from Asia Pacific's key source marketplaces were looking to adapt by choosing less-expensive holidays or traveling in their own country should be a comfort to the regional tourism industry.

“While things may have slowed down, this is the perfect time for travel professionals to target neighboring marketplaces and key demographic groups with attractive deals. The regional tourism industry can also use this opportunity to drive domestic travel, spurring local economies and helping to minimize the effects of the downturn in their domestic economies."

Susan Williams Visa Worldwide Pte. Limited Phone: 65 6437 5659 Email: Dale Lawrence PATA HQ Bangkok Phone: 66 2 658 2000 Email: Christine Hogseth-Gill Ruder Finn Asia Phone: 65 6336 0729 Email:

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