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More tourists fleeing to Asia

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Asia more attractive for long-haul travelers
Competitive airfares and concerns over safety after Europe’s recent terror incidents are driving more people to choose Asia as a preferred holiday destination, according to trade feedback at the recent PATA Travel Mart.
Asia appears to be an unexpected beneficiary of Europe’s recent woes, Pacto COO Umberto Cadamuro observed. The Indonesian DMC has seen an 80% year-to-date surge in volume from Europe.
“Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Turkey are a no-go. The short-haul operators in Europe are left with just Spain and Greece, so they have to start selling long-haul to survive,” he reasoned. “There is always opportunity if you know where to look.”
For the president of US-based Travelvision, Jaishree Mehta, who deems Europe and Asia as equals in terms of travel costs for American travellers, what makes Asia more attractive now is its perception as “a safer destination” relative to Europe.
Furthermore, airlines’ aggressive promotions as well as the rise of long-haul budget carriers such as Eurowings have boosted the affordability of a vacation in south-east Asia.
“Eurowings’ flights to Asia are very popular because Germans love a good deal and are willing to make a last-minute booking,” Urs Sandner, managing director of Zarva Travel Management, remarked.
In a recent last-minute promotional deal from Germanwings during the low-season month of July, Urs told TTG Asia that he sold out the LCC’s Cologne-Phuket flights in just two weeks.
Some trade members credit the Gulf airlines as a game-changer in the long-haul landscape by connecting their Middle Eastern bases with cities in European countries.
Outbound travellers from Nice, for example, can now fly to the Middle East instead of transiting in Paris in order to connect to Asia, said Cadamuro. “Besides cutting flight time, it is also cheaper than the European and major Asian airlines.”
This is pressuring legacy airlines to cut prices and make it more affordable to fly from Europe to Asia.
And amid the growing interest in Asia, Sandner wants to see more budget connections to Asia: “It is a good time for AirAsia X to launch direct flights from Malaysia to Germany to fill the gap that Malaysia Airlines left behind.”
TTG Asia

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