Asian tourists expected to hit pre-pandemic international travel levels by 2024

Updated on Sep 20, 2022 02:17 PM IST

Tourists from Asian countries, excluding China, are expected to take about six months after respective Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, to travel confidently and to hit pre-pandemic international travel levels by 2024

Locals and tourists watch a sunset from Phuket Island's Phromthep Cape, Thailand (REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo)
Locals and tourists watch a sunset from Phuket Island's Phromthep Cape, Thailand (REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo)
Reuters | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz, Bangkok

Asian tourists are only expected to resume international travel at pre-pandemic levels gradually, by 2024, the new chief executive of online travel agency Agoda said late on Monday.

The Asia-focused company expects tourists from Asian countries, excluding China, will take about six months after respective Covid-19 restrictions are lifted to travel confidently, said Omri Morgenstern, who took the helm at Agoda in July.

"Korea opened up two months ago … but numbers are 40% of what it was before, so it's not jumping," he said.

Across its Asian markets, Agoda's booking volumes have returned to 2019 levels, but more so in domestic travel, Morgenstern told Reuters in an interview, in contrast to the stronger and quicker tourism recovery in the United States and Europe.

"In the US or Europe, it's almost like everybody decided Covid was over," said Morgenstern, noting that travel resumed quickly there and many stopped wearing masks.

But in many Asian countries - like Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, and Indonesia - people generally have kept masks on even after mandates were dropped.

Agoda is rolling out more products to allow customers to plan their entire travel itinerary on the platform with the promise of more discounts, Morgenstern added.

In 2020, the company, a unit of Booking Holdings Inc, slashed 1,500 jobs to cut spending amid the pandemic. Now, headcount has returned to pre-Covid levels, he said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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