International passenger departures in Asia next year are tipped to reach 97% of their equivalent level in 2019, predicts m1nd-set.
All regions aside Asia and the Pacific are on course to outperform their 2019 passenger traffic levels in 2024, according to the latest Air Traffic 2024 Forecast Data courtesy of m1nd-set’s Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S) and shared exclusively with TRBusiness (see slide below).
The projection is based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 20-Year Passenger Forecast*, prepared by IATA in collaboration with Oxford Economics.
Asia is the frontrunner for year-on-year growth versus 2023 (+46%), followed by the Pacific (+21%), the Middle East (+9%), North America (+8%), Africa (+6%), and Europe and South America (both +5%).
Caution on Chinese spending
At 1,025 million projected international departures in 2024, Europe stands out in volume terms and this is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
While China eased its travel restrictions at the beginning of this year and has permitted the resumption of group tours in recent months to around 138 countries in total, the big jumpstart in Chinese international travel and spending abroad has yet to materialise as the DF&TR industry might have expected.
Despite the forecast clawback in international passengers in Asia next year to 97% of 2019 and strong year-on-year growth boosting the trade, Switzerland headquartered travel research firm m1nd-set cautions on the Chinese spending rebound.
“We at m1nd-set do not expect the same spending patterns of the Chinese in travel retail as before the pandemic, since the attitudes of the Chinese have changed, and also the possibilities of purchasing within China have seen a significant shift,” commented Peter Mohn, Owner and CEO, m1nd-set.
Versus 2019, the data reveals Europe (+11%) and the Middle East (+15%) as the clear winners in 2024 international departures.
Mohn continued: “The Middle East has seen the strongest growth overall since the pandemic and we at m1nd-set expect this region to grow further to become an even more important region for travel retail stakeholders.
“We at m1nd-set also think North America is a region to watch. It will surpass 2023 international air traffic by another 8% in 2024 and will see steady growth in the future, with travel retail becoming more relevant for travellers. We see huge potential for travel retail stakeholders in this region.”
* IATA provides m1nd-set with monthly air traffic updates as part of an exclusive partnership. The updates are uploaded into m1nd-set’s B1S, an interactive and user-friendly online platform available around the clock to subscribers, providing detailed information covering 1,500 airports and nationalities around the globe. B1S also offers DF&TR shopper insights with a sample size of over 200,000 passengers since 2017.