Asia-Pacific travel shows steady growth

The Asia-Pacific travel industry maintained steady growth in the first half of this year, according to new figures released by Singapore-based Abacus International.Total bookings on the Abacus system were up over last year for every month, with the exception of January and April, maintaining positive growth, with accumulative free and independent traveller (FIT) bookings for the first semester rising 4 per cent on-year.

“The first half of 2006 has been a real test for the travel market and the continuing growth shows we have come through with flying colours,” said Don Birch, President and CEO of Abacus International, in a statement.

“The year has already shown that demand seems to be positively inelastic with sustained strong travel demand despite increasing fuel charges. Given maintained economic growth projections and the increases in aircraft and airline seat capacity, I am optimistic that travel will remain robust this year, with sustained growth across the region of 4-6 per cent for the year,” he added.

January total booking figures dropped slightly to 3.5 million, since the Chinese New Year holiday period this year was earlier than in 2005. FIT bookings in February surged 25 per cent over bookings made in February 2005.

In April, bookings slipped compared with the previous year, due to the return to the school term, the completion of financial years, and since many travellers had already gone on their holiday for the first quarter earlier in the Chinese New Year period.