Asia Pacific travel market has emerged stronger and more ready than ever to helm the growth of the travel industry says Abacus International, the leading provider of travel solutions and services.

Since 2010, Asia Pacific has been the second largest travel market after Europe, and by the end of 2012, the travel market is expected to be worth US$290 billion. Asia Pacific airlines collectively carry one quarter of global passenger traffic – this is expected to increase to one third by 2029. The Asia Pacific region is now the world’s single largest aviation market as well as a growing economic powerhouse. By 2016, the Asia-10 economies are projected to be larger than that of the United States.

Abacus experienced growth in both booking volume and revenue for 2011, despite a turbulent environment.

Emerging markets have contributed greatly to this increase, led by increases in bookings in India, Myanmar and countries in Central Asia. In 2011, all these markets produced double or triple digit percentage increases in air booking volume year-on-year and is evident in 2012 year-to-date Abacus booking data.

“Although China and India continue to dominate the emerging market scene, countries like Kazakhstan and Myanmar are taking flight as a travel destination while embracing newer technologies to further increase accessibility to their travel content either online or via mobile,” said Mr Bailey.

Tourism and travel in and out of these markets have been growing steadily.

Arrivals in Myanmar are rising slowly and steadily, with business travellers making up 21 per cent of all tourist arrivals. Forecasts indicate traveller numbers are set to increase about 300 per cent in 2012 against 2011, with up to one million tourists expected to visit. Outbound traffic will also grow sharply till 2016, with an expected 100 per cent increase from 2011.

Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, has also posted strong growth. From 2011 to 2016, an average of 17 per cent growth in outbound travel is projected. Kazakhstan itself climbed more than 20 per cent in 2011 in outbound tourism, as its large population began to travel extensively to destinations including Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.

Many of those who are visiting these emerging markets are business tourists, and the growth in business arrivals has led to a strong demand for hotels, as evidenced by on-going construction projects by international hotel chains like the JW Marriott, Kempinski and Radisson Blu.

Mobile and HTML 5

“Technology has played a key part in the tremendous growth of the travel industry in Asia, and with continued innovation, I expect travel to overcome any obstacles and hurdles that are thrown its way,” said Mr Bailey. “Mobile smartphones and devices are paving the way of the future, and companies will look to strategically leverage these growing areas of technology. Mobile advancements through HTML5 and mobile apps will continue to play a critical role to maximise operations and ultimately, the bottom line for travel companies.”

New mobile tools such as apps are driving the future in every aspect of life, including travel.

Mobile users are utilising their devices an average of 94 minutes per day in apps and 72 minutes browsing the Web compared to 43 and 64 minutes per day respectively, just a year and half ago.

By 2015, 183 billion cumulative downloads are expected, up from 11 billion in 2010, with social and location features contributing to a shift away from paid download revenues to in-app purchases and advertising. Much of the development and innovation to support demand is expected to be derived from Asia.

Rapid advances in HTML5 coupled with the advantages of lower cost and faster development time make it the most-effective platform to reach a wider audience regardless of device. HTML5 can be deployed on a wide range of mobile devices, from iOS and Android to Windows Phone and Blackberry. Sales of mobile devices with full HTML5 support within its web browser are expected to reach one billion next year, compared to 336 million in 2011.

“This is an exciting time to be building new travel solutions. The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablet devices along with the headway made by HTML5 has added new dimensions to the way we can connect with our customers and travellers, and enhance the overall user experience,” said Mr Brett Henry, VP Marketing, VP India, Abacus International.

Companies like Salesforce, Slideshare and Pandora have already signed up to push for the adoption of the HTML5 standard. Even Facebook recently launched its HTML5 resource centre in an attempt to help designers build, test and deploy Web applications.

The demand for access to business information and applications through mobile devices has surged into the travel workforce. Half the equipment on corporate networks will be mobile devices by 2015, 34 per cent of employees will use smartphones to communicate with their companies in 2012 and the importance of data plans are fast outweighing voice plans.

Mobile technology ultimately allows for companies to have an unprecedented level of connectivity among employees, vendors and/or customers. Workers can utilise mobile technology to enable direct communications with these audiences in a variety of ways.