Corporate travel in Asia likely to expand
SINGAPORE: Corporate travel is likely to grow by 10-15 per cent in Asia this year as business activities improve from last year's sharp falls, a major air ticketing and reservations firm said.
Singapore-based Abacus International said the recovery will be gradual because most the austerity measures and travel policies implemented during the global economic downturn are likely to remain.
"As businesses resume to the 'new normal', we should also see an upward adjustment in travel budgets as business activities improve in a more thriving economic climate," said Abacus vice-president for marketing Brett Henry.
"We are expecting to see a gradual 10-15 per cent growth in corporate travel in 2010, especially in traditional corporate travel markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong," he said in a statement.
Business travel declined by 15-20 per cent last year and the amount spent during these trips dropped between 25 and 40 percent, Henry said.
Despite the downturn, overall bookings for Abacus shrank a narrower-than-expected one per cent in 2009 from the year before, thanks to a pickup starting from the second half. Emerging markets in Central Asia as well as Nepal, Bangladesh and South Korea are seen as key growth areas.
"There is certainly a strong sense of renewed energy and vibrancy in the market as the new year starts," Abacus president and chief executive Robert Bailey told reporters.
Abacus meanwhile said that the majority of Asian travel companies have yet to catch up with the use of Facebook and other online social media tools in their marketing strategies.
Asian travel agents should also make full use of mobile technology applications to reach customers, Abacus said.