October 5, 2022

Bookings made through Travelport’s platforms are showing strengthening demand for South-east Asia, with Manila, Singapore, and Bangkok leading as the most in-demand destinations.

According to Travelport’s booking data, the other regional destinations in the top 10 list are: Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Jakarta (Indonesia), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hanoi (Vietnam), Phuket (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia) and Angeles/Mabalacat (Philippines).

Travelport bookings for the Philippines in 1Q2022 rose 42 per cent over 1Q2019; Manila pictured

In 1Q2022, international flight bookings to the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei have increased and showed upward trajectory, with the Philippines taking the lead by achieving 42 per cent of its international bookings in 1Q2019 prior the pandemic.

The Philippines and Thailand were among the earliest countries in South-east Asia to reopen their borders, and travellers are clamouring to visit. In 1Q2022, these two countries alone represent over half (51 per cent) of all international flight bookings to the region.

Within a week of the Philippines announcing plans on January 28 to fully reopen to vaccinated travellers on February 10, international flight bookings to the country rose by 114 per cent. One month after the announcement, the country saw a 294 per cent increase in daily flight bookings.

Thailand first allowed foreigners to enter the country on February 1 with the introduction of its Test & Go programme, which required tourists to have a negative PCR test for entry, and a subsequent antigen test on the fifth day of travel. In the 24 hours following that announcement, international flight bookings to Thailand grew by 37 per cent.

On March 7, the Thai government further revised the measures, dropping the testing requirements on the fifth day. With that change, international flight bookings grew 128 per cent compared to bookings following the first announcement.

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The top five countries traveling to South-east Asia are the US, the UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

Solo travellers made up 44 per cent of international flight bookings for the first quarter of 2022 to date, by far the largest traveller segment, which may be comprised of returning business travellers, flexible tourists whose bags are packed the moment borders reopen, and South-east Asian expats who are eager to return home without enduring a once mandatory quarantine.