Trip.com Group embraces emerging trends and opportunities in the post-pandemic travel landscape, with CEO Jane Sun imparting her insights at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. During the panel discussion titled “Asia – the World’s Next Growth Anchor?” Sun conveyed her optimism regarding Asia’s sustained growth and shared her perspective on its investment potential.
As prominent figures from government, business, and civil society assembled to deliberate on cultivating trust in a world marked by divisions and uncertainties, the panel gathered influential stakeholders to explore the promising opportunities and emerging challenges in Asia. Joining Sun were Roy Gori, President and CEO of Manulife, Canada’s largest insurance company, and Geoff Lee, Executive Director, Head of Private Markets, and Head of Technology at Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. Ben Hung, CEO of Asia at Standard Chartered Bank, presided over the panel discussions.
With global tourism on the brink of a full recovery, Trip.com Group has observed significant interest in bookings in Asia, with Thailand, Japan, and South Korea ranking among the top travel destinations. The surge in consumer income has also given rise to burgeoning trends in the region, such as high-quality wellness experiences and event tourism, particularly for highly anticipated occasions like concerts and music festivals.
Sustainable tourism is gaining momentum, driven by environmental consciousness that influences over 16 million Trip.com Group customers to opt for low-carbon travel, including stays at eco-friendly hotels. The Group also emphasizes choices like electric vehicle rentals and flights with reduced carbon emissions.
Focusing on the post-pandemic economic path in one of Asia’s central regions, Jane Sun affirmed that China presents more investment prospects than commonly perceived.
Investors should not overlook China’s thriving travel, wellness or entertainment sector. With its vast size, diverse industries, and varying levels of consumer buying power, investment opportunities are abundant. In particular, the travel sector presents numerous untapped growth opportunities, such as the rapid increase in inbound and outbound travel and favourable policy developments.
Sun conveyed a sense of hope regarding the burgeoning growth of the tourism industry, particularly in light of recent favourable developments, such as the expansion of flight capacities and the extension of visa-free arrangements, which have eased international travel to and from China.
These developments encompass the recent implementation of unilateral visa-free policies for several nations, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands, reciprocal visa-free agreements with Malaysia, and impending plans for similar arrangements with Singapore and Thailand.
Earlier this week, China also declared its intention to provide visa-free entry to Swiss and Irish nationals unilaterally. Since July 2023, China has abolished visa requirements for citizens of 11 countries.
As per data from Trip.com Group, notable surges have been observed in inbound search and booking volumes from countries such as Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Destinations with existing visa-free arrangements or potential relaxed visa policies, including Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, rank among the preferred choices for Chinese tourists planning their upcoming Chinese New Year travels.
Furthermore, since its inception in September 2023, Trip.com’s “China Travel Guide” has catered to nearly 100,000 international travellers seeking information on accommodations, transportation, payments, and other travel-related matters for their upcoming visits to China. Concurrently, by mid-January, outbound travel bookings for the forthcoming Chinese New Year holiday period have surged over tenfold compared to the previous year.
Regarding the broader Asian economy, Jane Sun emphasized its continued robust prospects, referencing forecasts anticipating its contribution to approximately 50% of global GDP growth. The rapid evolution of the Asian tourism sector, combined with the formidable purchasing power of Asian consumers, underscores the potential for sustained expansion within the region.