(MENAFNEditorial) Wego, the leading travel metasearch site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, today shared the hottest travel hotspots in flight search throughout their core regions and predictions of travel trends throughout for 2014.
"We've seen a lot of shifting trends in all our markets this year," said Ross Veitch, Wego CEO and Co-founder. "People are travelling more frequently and seeking new destinations from traditionally popular routes."
"Accessibility is leaping forward dramatically in all our regions and the comfort and security of using Wego's metasearch is clearly reflected in the increasing number of users enjoying our site across all our localised country sites, along with our rapidly growing inventory of airline, hotel and OTA partners, helping them to explore their options to travel anywhere in the world."
Wego has 50 country sites in more than 30 languages and this year appointed six new Market Development Managers covering Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, and Thailand with established regional offices in Bangalore, Dubai, Jakarta, and moved into new Singapore headquarters in March.
"The Wego team has worked enormously hard this year developing a targeted and very localised user experience with more accessible and advanced technology, tailored to the needs of travellers everywhere which we're all very excited about. Watch this space," Veitch concluded.
Core Market Observations
"Australia's top ten reflects its proximity to Asian capitals such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, while Bali, Manila and Phuket remain jumping off points for popular holiday resort locations," said Matthew Varley, COO of Wego.
"With the drop in the Australian dollar towards the end of this year, you might expect that Australian's may lean towards more domestic travel. However, popular short haul destinations such as Phuket, Bali, Fiji and New Zealand still resonate with Australians and may develop even further, appreciated as good value for money international choices. The Qantas and Emirates alliance continues to provide connectivity to Dubai, and onwards to Europe, a route that we expect will remain strong in 2014," Varley stated.
"Bangkok has long been a top destination for Singaporeans because of its close proximity/short travelling time, plenty of promotions on flights and accommodation for budget conscious travellers, as well as the fact that it is a food/shopping haven and the Singapore dollar has been consistently strong against the Thai Baht," observed Dave Lai, Wego's Market Development Manager for Singapore and Malaysia.
"It's interesting that Taipei and Seoul have been increasing in popularity recently (past three years), and I believe will continue to do so as Singaporeans consider exploring other North Asia destinations aside from Hong Kong."
"There's been an increase in Singaporean holidays to Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi also due to its close proximity but also due to active LCC promotions. In recent years, Jetstar added a daily route to Ho Chi Minh and flies to Hanoi four times weekly," Lai added. "Business travel to Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi has also increased and Singapore's direct investment in Vietnam has seen the Lion City become the largest foreign investor in Ho Chi Minh in 2013."
"It's interesting that Bangkok has overtaken Kuala Lumpur this year," commented Graham Hills, Managing Director, Wego Indonesia. "Europe is clearly hitting the travel radar for Indonesians with three cities in the top ten compared to only two in 2012. Most notably Amsterdam has moved into the top five and London into the top ten in 2013."
"Even though the Rupiah has fallen more than 20 percent against the US dollar in the last six months, Wego Indonesia saw an increase of 58 percent in international searches during 2013, (38 percent overall in 2013 compared to 24 percent in 2012)," added Hills.
"In 2014 more Indonesians will be accessing travel websites from mobile devices than desktops before the year end," predicts Hills. "China will overtake Malaysia and become the number two international destination on Wego for Indonesian users, and I believe that Indonesians travelling to Europe will outpace travel to Asia in terms of growth."
"Given the decline in the Rupiah value during 2013 we expect growth to international destinations to slow down in 2014 with more Indonesians holidaying at home. Indonesia will remain a very affordable international destination for regional travellers so we expect to see growth in inbound travel from markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Australia," concluded Hills.
Middle East & North Africa
"Travel between the Middle East and Asia continues to grow with more flight options between both regions," said Mohamad Ibrahim Masri, Managing Director, Wego Middle East and North Africa. "Intra-regional traffic tops the volume in 2013 due to big expatriate communities working in the Arabian Gulf."
"Key tourism destinations such as Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok continue to lead the search results from the MENA region."
"In 2014 as the EU works to further relax visa requirements for Gulf Nationals, more travellers will select Europe for their summer holiday destinations. The UK's removal of visa requirements for UAE nationals will change the rankings of top destinations for Emiratis, and help to increase the number of holiday and business trips."
"An increased surge in the number of online travel agencies over the past few months may place additional pressure on offline businesses, and in 2014 we will see a further increase in competition for the online travel space," added Masri.
"We will see more advanced bookings for summer holidays driven by special offers and promotions that will be rolled out earlier in the market, and we can expect new Asian destinations to be added to the travel menu, with lots of new tourism products from legacy destinations," he concluded.
"Given the falling rupee, 2013 saw many Indians preferring domestic travel destinations and weekend getaways over international options overall," said Jackson Fernandez, Managing Director, Wego India. "However, the flash sales offered by airline companies fuelled a rise in preference for SEA destinations for international travel."
"In 2014 we'll see the emergence of the niche traveller, once referred to as backpackers, although in today's parlance could be termed 'well-informed individual travellers'," predicted Jackson Fernandez, Managing Director for Wego India.
"This is where social media and Wego's convenient metasearch come into play even stronger, empowering these travellers the freedom to make and live by their own travel plans with little or no assistance from other sources. As a result there'll be a growth in the travel gadgets industry providing many new opportunities."
"Value for money will be top of mind for travellers and expectations will be higher than ever before. Given the rupee depreciation Indian travellers chose India for the majority of 2013 which has given rise to newer locales to sprout and scale standards to match other holiday destinations."
"The mobile travel market will boom in 2014 and the B2C channel of communication is key to reaching larger audiences through apps, mobile site versions and games. Social networking will continue to become integral marketing channels for travel companies as the most effective method in growing brand awareness and engagement with customers," he continued. "Wego's social platform connects with more than 1.5 million fans globally and continues to grow, and will remain a priority in our communication network."
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