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PATA: Some Asian Destinations May Not Fully Recover to Pre-Covid Tourism Levels Until 2026

A number of Asia-Pacific tourist destinations may not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2026, according to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

According to PATA destinations such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Macau are suffering due to Chinese outbound tourism still being small in the post-Covid era.

Chinese tourists are opting, in the main, to stay at home rather than travel overseas on holiday. PATA said tourism in could be enhanced by air capacity improvements, better land-based regional connectivity, improved training to attract and retain skilled personnel, and an easing of visa restrictions.

It added that Asian destinations like India, Thailand and Singapore have recovered or exceeded pre-Covid tourism highs by managing to attract tourists from Europe, the US and Australia – compensating for less adventurous tourists in Japan and China.

China’s inbound tourist volumes are still only around 80% of pre-Covid 2019 levels and may not approach 100% until late 2026. China’s outbound tourist numbers are also lagging.

Caroline Bremner, Senior Head of Travel Research at Euromonitor International, told a PATA webinar that destinations that deliver safety, relaxation, value, good quality food and drink and access to natural attractions would continue to do well. She noted that younger (Gen Z) travellers, much preferred personalised, authentic local experiences, with price not so much of a consideration, relative to much older baby boomers who seek value.
Free cancellations, easy digital payments, reliable user reviews, free upgrades and personalised recommendations (especially from family or friends), turn lookers to bookers, said Ms Bremner.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

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