According to a recent study published by IPK International, one of the world’s leading tourism consultancies and tourism research agencies, in 2022 the travel industry experienced a significant recovery.
Worldwide, outbound trips increased substantially year on year, but without regaining 2019 levels.
IPK’s World Travel Monitor stated that worldwide, outbound travel in 2022 rose by 90 percent year on year, equivalent to a global volume of almost 700 million trips in 2022.
Compared to outbound travel before the pandemic in 2019, this is 66 percent of pre-crisis levels.
Variations were evident with regard to individual continents, destinations, and travel markets.
So, we caught up with Mark Siegel the CEO of leading golf tour operator Golfasian https://www.golfasian.com/ to find out how the Asian golf travel industry is getting along.
During the Covid pandemic did you have to shut your offices, or did you stay open?
Mark: We had to shut down some offices as people were unable to travel, however, we kept our HQ office in Bangkok open to handle all inquiries and develop new business.
When did you start to see international golfers start returning again?
From July 22nd we had arrivals as clients were keen to get back out onto the courses. The return was very quick only took first 3-4 months to recover to pre-Covid levels.
Has there been a shift in where your customers are coming from now?
Pre covid our top country for bookings came from Europe. Now Japan, India, and Malaysia are our top markets.
Do you see this changing soon?
Yes, next winter our focus will be on European golf travellers.
What countries are you currently selling golf tours to?
We sell golf tours to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
Was it hard to re-group and bring back staff up to pre covid levels?
No, as we kept our business development staff and those that had left came back immediately.
With the influx of tourists into countries like Thailand have you found it has been hard to secure good hotel rooms for your clients?
Last month was difficult during the Chinese New Year when some regions were full, however, although hotels are busy, we are able to secure rooms as we bring a large number of golfers all year round.
The Golfasian events department https://www.golfasian.com/events/ seems to be growing. Do you find that more of your customers want to include a tournament in their golf vacations?
Yes, we have seen a growth in international and local golfers keen to compete in our amateur tournaments. Many golfers want to participate in an event or festival.
Finally, do you predict that you will be back to pre-covid inbound bookings in 2023?
Well, we passed pre-covid bookings last November and 2023 will be a bumper year for golf tourism in Asia.
With SE Asia starting to see good results with travellers keen to return and airlines with full planes, seems there is light at the end of the tunnel at long last.