October travel bookings down in Asia


Thu, Dec 09, 2004 - Page 10

Travel bookings in Asia fell 12 percent year-on-year in October during the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a major ticketing service provider said yesterday.

The drop in bookings was consistent with previous trends as Malaysia and Indonesia register significantly fewer ticketing reservations, Abacus said.

"Leisure and business travel bookings are traditionally lower during Ramadan, which was between October 13 and November 13," it said.

Last year during Ramadan, total bookings fell 17 percent, Abacus said. Strong bookings registered elsewhere in Asia, particulary in India with reservations up 40 percent in October, provided an important buffer, it said.

Other markets that saw October bookings rise included Taiwan (7 percent), Sri Lanka (29 percent), Vietnam (10 percent) and Bangladesh (33 percent).

In Malaysia, bookings dropped 21 percent while in Indonesia, reservations were 30 percent lower from last year. Pakistan registered the biggest drop of 36 percent, Abacus said.

However, a rebound is expected soon due to the year-end holiday season and Lunar New Year festival in February, Abacus president and chief executive Don Birch said.

"As in previous years, travel bookings are expected to rebound strongly through December and January in the build-up to the Chinese New Year holiday period in February," Birch said.