Breaking Travel News chats with Chris Crampton, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in the UK & Ireland, to find out how news of a Covid-19 vaccine is fuelling a new enthusiasm for travel to the region
The past few weeks have brought much needed positivity, with good news such as more Asia Pacific countries being added to the English travel corridor list, including Bahrain, Cambodia, Laos, UAE and Qatar.
At the same time, Sri Lankan Airlines has launched a new direct flight to the Maldives this month.
Nobody needs to be told how difficult 2020 has been for our industry; the job losses and business closures attest to what has seemed an unending nightmare for so many.
But the positive news about vaccine development, and its roll out this week, does allow for some optimism that 2021 will be a better year.
We have seen airlines begin the process of reinstating routes, tour operators starting to plan for the return of travel to the Asia Pacific region and the public make enquiries about travelling next year.
Qantas has announced it will make vaccination mandatory for passengers to travel and no doubt other airlines will follow suit, and destinations; Australia has already suggested they will reopen when a vaccine is available so news of the British public being vaccinated, within the next six months, is very encouraging and a ‘game changer’ for the recovery of the travel industry.
Speaking to some of our tour operator members this week, the consensus is that news of a vaccine has had a positive impact on their business.
Ethos Travel has reported huge amounts of excitement from clients that now have the confidence to rebook their 2020 travel plans for 2021.
Chic Locations bookings in November were really strong, their best month since April, largely dominated by the Maldives for departures in the coming months for some winter sun.
Dubai bookings are also increasing week on week.
Experience Travel Group also echoes the popularity of the Maldives and United Arab Emirates.
Mid-haul destinations such as Oman and Dubai are proving favourable as the flight time is manageable and they offer relaxing beach holidays with culture and adventure.
There is pent up demand for Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bali, all excellent value for money holidays, and a growing interest in villa holidays as travellers look for more socially distanced friendly accommodation options.
There are still huge challenges ahead, but recent developments have injected some much-needed hope.
Without doubt the road ahead is still a difficult one, but there are grounds for optimism at last.
Find out more about the Pacific Asia Travel Association on the official website.