Due to an abundance of low-cost connectivity and an increased preference for travel closer to home, intra-regional tourism will play a key role in revitalizing the ASEAN countries’ tourism economies.
According to GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Tourism Destination Market Insight- ASEAN (2021)’, revealed that in 2019, 44.3 million tourists travelled between the ASEAN countries. The intra-ASEAN travel is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% from 2019 to 2024 and reach 56.6 million by 2024. Given the high level of growth, intra-regional travel could be the key to the region’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19. The virus caused a 36.9% year-over-year decrease in intra-regional travel in 2020 to a low of 27.9 million arrivals.
Gus Gardner, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said: “In 2019, intra-regional travel accounted for a total of 32.3% of all travelers showing the importance of regional links. With depleted budgets and COVID-19 fatigue setting in, travelers will be keen to travel and are more likely to select destinations closer to home. With the provision of relaxed visa policies between the member states, the barriers to travel are low and will help increase the intra-regional flows post-COVID-19.”
The ratification of the ASEAN single aviation market agreement has increased the level of competition and accessibility of intra-regional flights, much to the delight of travellers.
Gardner concludes: “The market has become saturated with low-cost airline connectivity due to the market liberalization that has occurred. The low fares and high route frequency offered by these carriers has created a vast connected network across the region, reduced fares, and made travel more affordable. With personal financial concerns growing due to COVID-19, the availability and affordability of flights will be vital to stimulating tourism flows in the near future.
“Even after accounting for the impact of COVID-19, intra-regional travel is forecast to achieve a healthy growth rate. Given the cultural similarities and strict measures to tackle the virus, destinations within the region are likely to increase in popularity. This type of travel will provide the much-needed revenues for travel firms and could play an important role in revitalizing the tourism economy before the travelers begin traveling further abroad again.”