21 Defining Travel Statistics of 2021 So Far

Departures Board at KLIA2

Travel statistics have come to define the way we view aviation, hospitality and tourism. 

Over the past decade, the travel industry has become increasingly commoditised. Destination marketing now centres almost exclusively on how many people might visit, how long they will stay and – crucially – how much they may spend in any given week, month or year.

Since COVID-19 struck, data analysis has taken a different approach. With little base travel data to utilise, forecasting has relied upon legacy statistics, a raft of economic variables, COVID-19 risk assessments and travel sentiment surveys.

So, here is a special DashBoard selection of 21 defining travel statistics from 2021 so far.

Taken together, these figures provide a snapshot of the current state of travel and tourism.

From 300 billion down to 2 in Asia Pacific

JPY300 billion: Japan Airlines expects to post a spectacular net loss for its full 2020-21 financial year, ending on 31 March 2021. The forecast, featured in the airline’s Q3 results statement, has deteriorated from a previous loss forecast of JPY240-270 billion, which was made in October 2020. The elevated annual loss comes despite JAL slashing expenses by “over JPY120 billion for the fiscal year.” [Company statement]

VND70 billion: Vietjet Aviation, the parent company of VietJet – Vietnam’s largest and most ambitious low-cost carrier – reported an impressive 2020 post-tax profit. In 2020, Vietjet operated 78,462 flights and carried more than 15 million passengers. Ancillary services accounted for 50% of total revenue last year. [Company statement]

369,846,852: Total private placement for a first tranche of new shares issued by Malaysia-based low-cost carrier AirAsia Berhad. Each share will be priced at RM0.675. (Official filing with Bursa Malaysia]

152.15 million: Best case scenario (officially named ‘Mild’) for total international visitor arrivals into Asia Pacific in 2021, set out by the Pacific Asia Travel Association [PATA]. The Medium scenario is 82.04 million, and the Severe case would be 42.07 million. This week, Dr Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA, told Asia Gaming Brief that he expects the region to achieve “somewhere between Mild and Medium” in 2021. [PATA]

33.5 million: Ho Chi Minh City has set a target to attract 33.5 million domestic travellers in 2021. [Vietnam Plus]

AirAsia Aircraft in Langkawi
AirAsia is issuing a private placement of 369,846,852 new shares.

30.18 million: Total number of passengers on domestic and international flight routes in China during January 2021. This marked a 40.4% decline from 50.6 million in the same 2020 period. [Civil Aviation Administration of China]

10 million: Forecast annual capacity at Macau International Airport once its South Terminal extension is completed in the 4th quarter of this year. Further planned expansions will raise annual passenger capacity to 15 million, which the Macau authorities expect to hit by around 2033. Previously, the airport could handle around 7.8 million passengers per year. Macau Government Tourism Office said this week that it expects to receive between 6 and 10 million visitors in 2021. [Macau Business]

1.5 million: Maldives has raised its visitor arrivals target for 2021, from an initial projection of 1 million. The island archipelago reopened its borders on 15 July. It is also working to promote vaccine tourism, under an initiative called “The 3 Vs: Visit, Vaccine and Vacation tourism.” [Sun Media]

250,000: Phuket wants to purchase vaccines from private sources in order to inoculate 250,000 of its approx. 400,000 residents before the nationwide rollout commences in mid-year. Phuket authorities believe an expedited vaccine progamme would enable it to recommence inbound tourism from 1 October (which coincides with China’s Golden Week public holiday, a popular time for travel to Thailand). It has submitted an appeal to the Thailand government regarding its prohibition on the private purchase and distribution of officially approved COVID-19 vaccines. [The Phuket Times]

71,000: Total passengers passing through Hong Kong International Airport in January 2021. This represented a 98.8% decrease from the 5.718 million recorded in January 2020. From February 2020 to January 2021, HKIA handled 3.188 million passengers – significantly below the one-month total in January 2020. [Official statement]

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10,000: The number of patrons now permitted into the casino area at any one time at The Star Sydney resort following an easing of restrictions by the New South Wales government. [Company statement]

3,700: China intends to add another 3,700km of operating lines to its national railway network in 2021. It currently counts 37,900km of high-speed railway, the longest network in the world. In December this year, the Chinese rail network is scheduled to connect with the new China-Laos high-speed railway, which will run between Kunming in Yunnan Province and the Laotian capital, Vientiane. [Xinhua]

123: Number of aircraft currently parked by Singapore Airlines. The airline group says “More aircraft will be re-introduced into our operating fleet as the network gradually expands to match opportunities for re-opening.” By the end of April, SIA forecasts total passenger capacity to be “around 25% of pre-Covid levels.” [Company statement]

112: Melbourne commenced its 112th day of lockdown since the pandemic struck on 13 February. The snap 5-day lockdown resulted from a small outbreak believed to have emanated at a quarantine hotel. It occurred halfway through the 2-week Australian Open tennis tournament taking place in the city. No spectators will be permitted into the stadium for the duration of the lockdown. [ABC News]

91: Royal Caribbean has extended its ‘Cruise to Nowhere’ sailing season in Singapore by 3 months. Commenced on 30 December 2020, cruises aboard Quantum of the Seas were due to be completed on 22 March 2021. Instead, Singaporean residents will still be able to book and board for 2-, 3- and 4-night ‘Ocean Getaways’ until 21 June. [Company statement]

China High-Speed Railway Train
China plans to add 3,700km of new railway track in 2021

80.5%: The combined annual fall in international visitor arrivals across the 10 countries of ASEAN in 2020 compared to 2019. (ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ meeting]

38%: “’COVID variant’ scenarios demonstrate how the downside risk to the forecast could limit [an international air travel] recovery to 38% of 2019 levels” in 2021, says Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of IATA. The optimistic forecast from IATA is for a 50% recovery compared to 2019. This comes after 2020 represented “the biggest fall in demand ever.” [IATA] 

30%: Of all the travel statistics featured above and below, this may be the most eye-catching. This week, in an interview with CAPALive, Tim Clark, President of Emirates, said the Dubai-based carrier plans to increase its capacity by almost one-third over the next few years. [CAPA: Centre for Aviation]

5: The number of years forecast for Japan to return to its 2019 GDP level. By comparison, Thailand and Philippines are forecast to take 2 years, with 1 year each for India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, China has already recovered its lost output. [Fitch Solutions / Bloomberg]

3: Number of countries in Asia Pacific (China 16th, Indonesia 22nd, India 23rd) that rank in the Top 24 nations worldwide for vaccine doses administered per 100 people. The top 5 on the list are UAE, Israel, Chile, UK and the US. [Our World Data, University of Oxford, 10 February 2021]

2: Number of air routes counting at least one airport in Asia Pacific on the Top 10 International Air Routes list, which is measured by seat capacity. Delhi-Dubai ranked 2nd, and Seoul Incheon-Tokyo Narita 9th. [OAG]

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