The world anticipates stronger travel demand in 2024, fuelled by post-COVID-19 revenge travel trend, says Skyscanner CEO

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John Mangelaars

4th December 2023 – (Singapore) Skyscanner’s Chief Executive Officer, John Mangelaars, predicts a robust surge in travel demand worldwide next year, building upon the popular revenge travel trend that has seen an increasing number of people venturing overseas. In an interview with CNA’s Asia First on Tuesday, Mangelaars expressed optimism, particularly for Asia, stating that the region is still in the recovery phase but is expected to witness a growth rate of 10 to 15 per cent in travel for the upcoming year.

According to Skyscanner’s Travel Trends report for 2024, cultural exploration is set to be a top priority for travellers. However, cost of living pressures continue to be a concern. Travellers, including gig trippers seeking live performances by their favourite artists and food enthusiasts in search of the best culinary experiences, are increasingly looking for value-for-money holiday options to enhance their travel experiences. Despite rising ticket prices, travel demand has remained resilient throughout the year, offering hope for travel-related companies heading into 2024.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that the aviation industry successfully sustained strong demand for air travel in the third quarter, with passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs), experiencing an almost 30 per cent year-on-year rise. The Airports Council International (ACI), an association representing airports worldwide, also highlighted significant passenger growth, indicating a positive trajectory towards global passenger traffic recovery in 2024. Current data projects that passenger traffic will reach 9.4 billion this year, already surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels, and is expected to further increase in the coming year.

In the third quarter, Asia-Pacific carriers led the surge in traffic expansion, recording a remarkable increase of over 75 per cent compared to the previous year. However, the ACI cautions that the region’s travel recovery is likely to decelerate towards the end of this year due to challenges in overseas tourism and economic uncertainties.

Skyscanner’s report reveals that 87 per cent of Singaporean travellers plan to maintain or increase the number of trips abroad in 2024 compared to 2023. Additionally, 48 per cent of Singaporean travellers consider flight ticket cost as a significant factor in choosing their destinations.

To enhance travel experiences, Mangelaars emphasizes the importance of leveraging technology. Skyscanner employs artificial intelligence (AI) to understand travellers’ preferences and assist them in planning their holidays more effectively. By combining their own data with AI tools, Skyscanner aims to provide unique and tailored travel solutions. Mangelaars emphasises the conversational aspect of the technology, enabling travellers to ask specific questions and engage in more interactive interactions.

The primary focus, according to Mangelaars, is ensuring traveller satisfaction. With approximately 100 million visitors accessing their site each month, Skyscanner strives to ensure that travellers find the best deals and precisely what they are seeking. He notes that the best deal doesn’t necessarily equate to the lowest price but rather finding the options that work best for each individual.