Trevolution Group, the global travel industry leader operating Asaptickets, Skyluxtravel and other major travel brands, reports selling over 117,000 airline tickets to and from the Philippines in the first three quarters of 2023, thus indicating a stable 16% growth across the market compared to the same period last year. This amounted to nearly 183 million USD in gross bookings, or over 20% of the group’s total gross profit during the nine months.
Since commencing direct ticketing operations in the region in early 2023, the Philippines has become the top-performing market globally for Trevolution Group in both traditional leisure tourism and the emerging visiting-friends-and-relatives (VFR) segment.
Historically, it has ranked among the favored tourism spots for international leisure travelers, and presently, the surging demand for transpacific flights significantly surpasses pre-pandemic levels. Thus, in the first nine months of 2023, Trevolution Group has reported a significant 60% increase in outbound tourism from the Philippines, which indicates this market’s rapid recovery and growth. This year, from January to September, there has also been a 12% increase in inbound tourism compared to the same period last year. According to the Philippines Department of Tourism, a total of over 4 million foreign nationals and overseas Filipinos have arrived in the Philippines in the three quarters of 2023, which is close to the country’s target of welcoming 4.8 million visitors from abroad this year, and Trevolution Group’s businesses are a constant contributor to reaching this goal.
The Philippines is now in the state of full post-pandemic tourism recovery, and next to Manila, Cebu also plays a crucial role in regional development. Over the past years, Cebu has evolved into a thriving economic center and tourism hub, and it is one of the fastest developing cities in the Philippines. That is also reflected in Trevolution Group’s latest business results where during the past nine months Cebu contributed to 10.5% of the total flight tickets sold to and from the Philippines airports showing a 12.5% gross booking revenue increase compared to the three quarters of 2022. The Philippines Department of Tourism sees Cebu as one of the strongest driving forces for the economic development of the region in the upcoming years, and the emerging VFR segment is predicted to constitute a significant part of the travel business, especially across inbound tourism.
Class of Travel
The growing demand for international travel to and from the Philippines is also reflected in the substantial increase in sales across all cabin classes during the three quarters of this year. That resulted in a 59% growth in flights booked from the major airports across the Philippines in Economy and a high 79% growth in Business class compared to last year’s data for the same travel period. Meanwhile, the demand for inbound Economy tickets has increased by 11% and by 29% in Business class, which again indicates the notable return of the business travel. International businesses are growing, and the Philippines are becoming a major player in today’s global economy.
Based on Trevolution Group’s sales results, another cabin class that keeps showing a positive tendency among Filipino travelers is Premium Economy, thus indicating a growing demand for more affordable yet upgraded comfort. Additionally, majority or 90.5% of all tickets purchased to the Philippines were round-trip tickets compared to almost the same proportion or 91% in 2022. That is another indicator of the emerging VFR travel segment that is especially popular among 4.4 million Filipino Americans who have strong ties to the homeland and who are booking most round-trip tickets from the US to the Philippines.
Likewise, the share of one-way tickets has also stayed at nearly the same level and amounted to 9.5%, compared to 9% during the nine months last year. The proportion of outbound return tickets, however, is at only 42.5% in 2023 vs. 38.8% in 2022 indicating a minor growth which clearly highlights the ongoing return of global leisure travel with different destination airports.
Booking Window and Terms
Almost half or 48% of all global travelers flying to the Philippines in the first three quarters of 2023, purchased their tickets over three months prior to the departure date. This number has increased slightly since the last year when 43% of Trevolution Group’s passengers would book their flights over 90 days ahead. Such a pattern indicates that the travel industry has now finally recovered to a pre-pandemic state, and people feel more confident again in making their travel plans further in advance, especially when it comes to VFR travel. Thus, only 10% of all inbound flight tickets are purchased up to 10 days before the trip in 2023, compared to 9.5% in 2022.
Meanwhile, according to the Group’s ticket sales from the Philippines, air passengers tend to make more last-minute decisions and, therefore, only less than one quarter or 23.5% of all travelers secure their tickets over 90 days in advance, while 14.5% choose to do it up to 10 days in advance. Last year, however, the sales data showed a slightly different pattern, with more passengers (17.5%) making last-minute bookings and only 20% of them purchasing tickets over three months in advance.
In addition to that, the number of short-term bookings for up to 10 days from the Philippines has decreased in both 2023 and 2022, and the average length of stay abroad is now 61.9 days vs. 62.3 days in the same period last year. This indicates that travelers still tend to make up for the two pandemic years and thus feel more confident about spending more time abroad now that the industry has recovered, especially when visiting their friends and family or working remotely. Meanwhile, for travelers coming to the Philippines, this period is twice as low, with 33.6 days or an average of one calendar month in the first nine months period of 2023 compared to 37.7 days within the same 9-month timeframe last year, which is an average length of stay abroad for leisure travel.
Following the last year’s pattern, the vast majority of visitors coming to the Philippines in the three quarters of 2023 originated from the United States, Canada and Japan, also adding Australia to this list and choosing Manila (76%) and Cebu (10%) as the main arrival airports. Similarly, the top five departure cities to the Philippines remained Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Toronto, followed by Chicago, and most inbound passengers flew with Philippine Airlines, EVA Air and China Airlines following the global pattern where the most popular airlines listed are also the top carriers to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, majority of air travelers starting their journey from the Philippines in the three quarters of 2023 chose such popular global destinations as the United States, Canada, Japan and Singapore, as well as flew domestically within the country. Thus, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco, New York and Vancouver remained the top destination cities, similarly to the corresponding period of 2022, with an average of 50% more tickets booked from January to September in 2023 and Philippine Airlines, EVA Air and United Airlines as the top three air carriers of choice. As the proportion of the America-based Filipino community is continuously growing, this pattern is heavily influenced by VFR tourism being one of the main reasons for these passengers frequently flying to the Philippines and back to North American cities, as well as vice versa instead of other global destinations.
“For many years, tourism has been an important sector of the Philippines economy, and we are proud to have Trevolution Group among the top global businesses contributing to the regional growth and supplying the demand for international travel. During the first three quarters of the year since launching direct ticketing operations in the Philippines, we have established a strong presence across the region highlighting the Philippines as our largest travel market across Asia and globally,” Alex Weinstein, the Founder of Dyninno Group commented.
Trevolution Group incorporates the travel businesses of the Dyninno Group of companies, which provides products and services in the finance, travel, and entertainment sectors. Trevolution Group has established itself as the market leader in the travel business, specializing in the visiting friends and relatives’ segment. Over 730,000 airline tickets and vacation packages were sold by Trevolution Group in 2022, which makes it the fifth-largest travel consolidator in the US.
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