Financial uncertainty fuels lates market, says Pata

Financial uncertainty is fuelling the lates market, according to a poll of agents by the UK and Ireland chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata).

More than half (59%) of agents polled said clients’ financial uncertainty and wariness of committing to a holiday in advance was the primary reason for booking within 30-60 days before departure.

A quarter (27%) of agents cited hopes of securing a last-minute bargain as a factor influencing their clients’ late booking decisions.

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Only 9% indicated that clients were holding out for better UK summer weather.

The Pata poll found that 39% of the agents polled have noticed a trend of late bookings so far in 2024, with 26% of respondents reporting that the trend is similar to 2023.

When asked how bookings fared in May for travel in summer (July, August, September) almost half of agents (48%) reported an increase in bookings of between 10-20%. A fifth (22%) said booking levels were the same.

Pata noted, however, that “skyrocketing” air fares are deterring travel, with 70% of agents citing the increased as a significant influence.

Europe is the most popular destination for late bookings, cited by 74% of agents, with Asia ranked second (57%).

Thailand was the most popular choice for late bookings made in May, followed by Australia, Japan, India and Indonesia.

More than a third of agents (36%) indicated that sales were higher than the previous year. Just over a quarter (27%) reported sales being the same as 2023.

John Coles, Kew Bridge Travel founder and Pata travel agent spokesperson, said: “I’ve personally seen a surge in bookings to the Asia Pacific region so far in 2024.

“Destinations like Malaysia are particularly popular, driven by value and accessibility and Indonesia continues to be very desirable offering both luxury and budget accommodation options.

“The first half of the year has exceeded expectations, and all indicators suggest this trend will continue for 2024.

“With Pata’s continued calendar of training events, engaging more agents than ever, and the collective efforts of our members, 2024 promises to be even more dynamic.

“Travellers are seeking authentic experiences and sustainable travel options, which align perfectly with what the Asia Pacific region provides. I predict a continued upward growth in bookings this year, solidifying the region as a top choice for travellers in 2024.”

Pictured: Phang Nga, Thailand

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