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Bangkok Post - Asia-Pacific bookings stable
Asia-Pacific bookings stable
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Asia-Pacific bookings stable

Despite an easing in travel demand, Asia-Pacific is expected to continue to see growth in bookings as we start to see stability in the global market, according to online travel agent Booking.com.

Laura Houldsworth, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Booking.com, said the company anticipated the growth might not be as fast as it has been because it’s starting to stabilize at a very high level.

Asia-Pacific recorded room night growth of 15-16% for bookings last year, driven by the Chinese market, which recovered at a slower rate than other nations, said the Booking.com.

Europe was up low double digits, while the US market remained flat, according to the Booking Holdings Reports Financial Results for 4th Quarter of 2023.

"It's our hypothesis that people are prioritising travel. It's not considered a luxury, but rather a way of life and something they say they really need," she said.

Ms Houldsworth said there is plenty of room for growth in both China's inbound and outbound markets.

After the implementation of the visa-free scheme between Thailand and China, Thailand was the most searched destination among Chinese travellers on the platform.

She said markets such as Cambodia and Laos are still lacking Chinese visitors.

The recovery pace of China's inbound and outbound tourism will depend on international flight resumption and its economic slowdown, which could hamper outbound tourism, said Ms Houldsworth.

While travellers in the region are confident about travel, cost remains a major obstacle to booking a trip because of economic pressure, she said.

"We don't expect people to stop travelling, but they may look to get more for their money," said Ms Houldsworth.

For instance, more travellers from Thailand and other Asian markets are looking to visit destinations that are cheaper than where they reside, she said.

Website users also have a longer booking window as they look for deals and expect lower lodging and travel prices, said Booking.com.

However, they are not trading down on the types of properties they book to save money, but merely looking for deals, said Ms Houldsworth.

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