- Easing travel restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region boosted international tourist travel despite residual travel anxiety, new research shows
- Lounge access is considered a desirable benefit for travelers as it provides a sense of security
- Collinson’s Priority Pass Access India further enhances domestic travel for Indian travellers, backed by seamless access to over 1,300 lounges and experiences around the world as international travel returns.
International demand for air travel has increased significantly as restrictions in various countries have eased. Travelers who made an average of 6 return trips before the pandemic (2019) are starting to return to the skies, with an average of 3 self-predicted return trips planned for 2022, according to new research commissioned by Collinson, a world leader in the field of tourist experiences.
The study, which seeks to understand the latest trends and travel habits driving customers in the Asia-Pacific region, surveyed nearly 5,400 frequent travelers across seven major markets – Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. India saw the largest number of respondents to the study of all the markets included, with 1,063 participants (20%).
International travel is making a comeback at full speed
With summer in the Northern Hemisphere entering what is generally considered the ‘peak tourist season’, travel to the region can be expected to increase as people start planning their much-anticipated holiday. While the majority of these trips are expected to be domestic leisure trips, 55% of respondents expressed an interest in traveling outside their home market on at least one trip.
Looking specifically at India, the market seems to be ahead of the curve, with Indian airports seeing a sharp increase in international passenger traffic. Travel reached 72% of pre-Covid levels this May and is expected to reach 80-85% of pre-Covid levels by April 2023. The main destinations driving this demand are Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This is important because it shows how travelers are undaunted by the scale of their travel and are still looking to make up for the time and experiences lost over the past two years due to the pandemic.
Travel worries continue to linger
Despite traveling in 2022, health problems related to COVID-19 remain; at the same time, almost half (42%) of the respondents note that they are afraid of catching infections at the airport. Others fear that airport crowds could lead to a new outbreak, while others want to avoid the logistical challenges of traveling under the new normal — including mask-wearing, travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, and more. However, just over 10% of people still feel unsafe travel, which is a promising trend when it comes to travel recovery.
Airport lounges that help with travel
Airport lounges are seen as key to curbing travel anxiety – Collinson’s research found that 49% of Indian travelers “feel safer at the airport” if they can access a lounge. On average, travelers consider lounge access the number one most desired airport travel benefit, leading to 87% of Indian travelers expecting airport lounge access as a premium card benefit. 55% of Indian respondents said they felt “rewarded”, while another 52% of Indian respondents said lounge access made them “feel valued as a customer”.
Todd Handcock, president of Collinson Asia Pacific, said: “After two long years of waiting for the pandemic to recede and borders to open, people across India are eagerly embracing the return of the travel. This is an encouraging trend, given that concerns about the safety of travel continue to exist. Recognizing the value travelers place on the lounge, we are thrilled to support Indian travelers back in the skies with the launch of Priority PassTM Access to India.
Designed to provide our customers with a touch of luxury in a safe and comfortable environment, Priority PassTM Access India allows access to more than 50 premium lounges and airports located across major cities in India with a simple tap or swipe of your credit or debit card at check-in. This is seamlessly complemented by access to unrivaled 1,300 airport lounges and Priority Pass experiences worldwide – providing at least one experience covering 95% of all international flights from the top 100 airports.”
Rewards in today’s new era of travel
As COVID-19 continues to lead to additional checks and balances at airports, travelers will inevitably demand fresh experiences in the airport lounge. The increased focus on security and the celebration of the return to travel is expected to lead travelers to place greater value on travel-related amenities. This requires brand identification and innovative ways to maintain loyalty among current customers while attracting new ones using lounge access and flight delay benefits; such as Collinson’s SmartDelaywhich offers lounge services when customers’ flights are delayed or cancelled.