As the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns relax across the ASEAN region, Thais are showing the highest propensity to get back on the road, starting with domestic travel, according to a Mastercard-CrescentRating Travel Readiness Report published this week.
The Report is issued annually by the credit card company and CrescentRating, a Singapore-based research firm specializing in Muslim travel trends. The contents of this year’s report were refocused to analyze the impact of the pandemic on ASEAN travel.
“At a time like this, every player in the travel space is faced with the question of how they can act now and plan, as governments start easing restrictions,” said Safdar Khan, division president, Southeast Asia emerging markets for Mastercard. “As we all prepare for a new normal, there is a need for reliable data insights that can help sectors plan and future proof their businesses.”
“While we have laid out the travel economy numbers and indicators to understand the impact of the disruption, the focus of this report is to provide all stakeholders with frameworks and models to help them build strategic plans to chart their own paths to growth,” added Fazal Bahardeen, founder and CEO of CrescentRating.
The report shows that Thailand was the first ASEAN country to report a case of Covid-19, followed by Vietnam and Singapore. It showed that all the ASEAN countries have now begun easing travel restrictions, which means that the worst is deemed to be over.
The data also includes a wealth of statistics about how the lockdowns impacted on travel, household finances and shopping trends. It then takes a look ahead and analyzes “future trip-planning sentiment”, with a focus on domestic and intra-ASEAN travel.
Asked about their likelihood to plan a domestic trip, 49 percent of Thai respondents said they would “definitely” take one, and another 13 percent said they would “probably” do so. Furthermore, 7 percent of Thais said they would “definitely” take a foreign trip, and 25 percent said they would “probably” do so.
“Intra-ASEAN tourism was estimated at US$54 billion in 2019. This was projected to grow to $57 billion by 2022. Intra-ASEAN represents around 36 percent of the total ASEAN outbound market,” the report stated.
“The top 3 intra-ASEAN travelers are from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. They account for around 74 percent of the intra-ASEAN trips. This suggests a possibility for ASEAN destinations to also tap into travelers who had planned to travel outside of ASEAN, who now may be attracted to travel within ASEAN as intra-regional travel starts to open up.”