55 pc rise in travel searches for 2023, says Expedia Group

APAC region drives sustained growth in global tourism revival
/ New Delhi
55 pc rise in travel searches for 2023, says Expedia Group

Expedia says that research and data continue to point to traveller resilience in the first quarter of 2023

A report by Expedia Group says that the traveller confidence and demand for travel have continued to rise through 2022 and are set to continue in 2023, driven by APAC region, which was amongst the last to fully reopen its borders.
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Online travel agency Expedia Group says it continues to see reassuring signs of enduring enthusiasm for travel amidst growing economic headwinds. Releasing its Q1 2023 Traveller Insights Report, Expedia says that research and data continue to point to traveller resilience in the first quarter of 2023.

It says that search volume globally increase by 10 pc year-over-year (YoY), driven by strong performance in Asia Pacific (APAC). “APAC is an area we will be watching, as the long-awaited easing of travel restrictions, especially in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan, resulted in early search volumes increases in Q4, 2022,” says Expedia’s report.

It adds that travellers’ confidence in general is also increasing, as people began planning earlier for 2023. During the last quarter of 2022, 35 pc of overall searches were for travel in 2023, a 55 pc increase YoY.

Travel search volume increased 10 pc YoY on Expedia’s websites in Q4 2022, with APAC search volumes up more than 50 pc YoY, signaling positive responses to travel restrictions easing in various countries, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, says the report.

It adds that globally, the week of October 3 saw strong week-over-week (WoW) search volume increases across both domestic and international searches, corresponding with easing travel restrictions in Canada, South Korea, and Thailand, among other destinations. As is often seen at the end of the year, during the week of December 26, WoW search volume globally was up by 30 pc, led by Latin America (LATAM) and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), signaling a return to seasonality, says Expedia.

Beach and city destinations continue to shine

Easing travel restrictions in APAC, holiday travel, and the appeal of warm weather destinations all influenced the global top 10 list of booked destinations during Q4. Expedia says that across the super regions, New York, Las Vegas, and London held on to the top spots, Orlando and Cancun moved up in the rankings, and Miami overtook Boston for the 10th spot. Tokyo was a newcomer to the list at seven.

The shift to warm weather destinations was also a trend in the previous year,  as travellers likely started planning their warm weather escapes during peak winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, says the report. Destinations like Boston and Denver dropped from the global top 10 list and were replaced by Miami and Dubai and similarly, Cancun and Honolulu moved up the rankings, it adds.

As flexible work options remain for many companies around the world, “blended” or “flexcation” travel – a longer stay that mixes remote work and play – is on the rise, and the opportunity for those in the travel industry is huge. Insights from the Traveller Value Index 2023 study back up this theme, showing that 28 pc of consumers are looking to take a flexcation trip in the next 12 months.

Demand for travel is expected to remain strong due to increasing plans for flexcations and the return of business travel, consumer savings, and the ongoing prioritization of travel. That said, while overall intentions to travel are high, traveler spending behaviors are expected to evolve, pointing to the growing importance of price and value, says Expedia.

Activities and experiences were some of the top priorities and decision drivers for travellers pre-pandemic, and their importance is on the rise again. This year, people are branching out to unexpected trends in what can be considered the “no normal.” From culinaryfirst travel to wellness retreats and off-the-beaten-path adventures, experiences are influencing trip decisions. But for many travellers, especially those experiencing post-holiday burnout, this can also mean experiencing nothing, or a “nothing-cation,” where warm weather, relaxing, and recharging are the main attractions.

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