Published On: Wed, May 6th, 2015

Thailand emerges as only Asia Pacific destination in top 10 by global tourists

Welcome-to-ThailandThe most searched destinations during the first quarter of the year were the United States (US), Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Mexico, Turkey, Greece, and Thailand. Compared to last quarter, Russia and India exit the list (the former in spite of its current affordability), while Thailand joins as the only Asia-Pacific destination in the top 10. Greece re-enters the list after a quarter break.

Sojern released its Q1 Global Travel Insights Report based on the rigorous analysis of more than 800 million traveler-intent data points across the globe: Thailand came in among the global top 10 destinations, with Lunar New Year season driving travel in Asia-Pacific, and Europe emerging as a top summer travel destination.

The report reveals that Thailand emerged as the only Asian country to be featured in the top 10 global destinations in the world, and in February, the Lunar New Year drove travel volumes for the region.

A summer 2015 travel forecast, included in the report, predicts that Europe will emerge as the most-searched summer travel destination globally and finds that single-party traveler searches in Asia Pacific is highest than any other region for the summer.

“Sojern’s first quarter report analyses new patterns in travel around the globe, including seasonal events like Lunar New Year and the Cherry Blossom season in the Asia Pacific region,” said Stewart Hunter, Director – Sales and Partnerships, Asia Pacific at Sojern. “But it also serves as a crystal ball into summer 2015, as we distil millions of traveler intent data points into actionable insights for travel brands that want to reach consumers as they research summer holidays.”

Below are some of the main travel trends in Asia Pacific for the quarter.

Thailand Emerges amongst Top 10 Global Destinations in Q1 2015, the Only in Asia Pacific

The most searched destinations during the first quarter of the year were the United States (US), Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Mexico, Turkey, Greece and Thailand. Compared to last quarter, Russia and India exit the list (the former in spite of its current affordability), while Thailand joins as the only Asia-Pacific destination in the top 10. Greece re-enters the list after a quarter break.

Lunar New Year Drives Massive Travel Volumes Within the Region and Outbound

The Lunar New Year is a catalyst for unparalleled travel volumes in Asia, including Chunyun in China. The highest amount of time taken-off for the holiday is recorded in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, all of which showed a significant increase in interest the week prior to the holiday.

The searching and booking of travel outside of the region was significantly higher during the weekend before the Lunar New Year, with a higher incidence of travel to destinations outside of Asia – to the US the most, followed by China, Japan, Thailand and then Australia – the weekend before Lunar New Year in comparison to dates closer to the start of the holiday.

Travelers were interested in longer trips of four to ten days. Over time, as New Year’s Day got closer, the share of four to 10-days (and more) searches skyrocketed from 30% to 60% week-on-week, at the expense of searches for shorter trips of three days or less.

Searches increased even further in the two days before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. Travel taking place closer to the actual Lunar New Year holiday itself was directed largely towards Japan, followed by Thailand.

Global Trends

From a currency perspective, the report reveals that the weaker euro is attracting large numbers of global tourists to European countries this summer, while the stronger dollar has yet to have a negative effect on worldwide search and booking to the US. In March, Tunisia and Egypt suffered the ill effects of a recent terror attack and the announcement of tighter visa rules, respectively.

Throughout the quarter, searches to Cuba were on the rise from the US, as well as from other countries around the world.

Summer Travel: Asian Travelers Looking to London, Prefer Smaller Parties, Shorter Trips

Asia-Pacific travelers seem to favor June and July for travel in the summer and look first and foremost towards London and are searching travel options over 60 days in advance of the trip. Other most-popular destinations include Bali, Los Angeles, Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney, Incheon and Tokyo.

The report also finds that single-party traveler searches in Asia Pacific is highest than any other region for the summer at 71%. Asian travelers are also taking the shortest breaks this summer.

At 28%, they are planning breaks of two days or less. In comparison, Middle Eastern travelers take the cake for the longer summer vacations, with over 70% of them planning trips lasting eight days or longer.