Lagging in travel recovery, Asia to return to prepandemic levels in 2024 | Inquirer Business
Klook poised to meet tourism demand spike

Lagging in travel recovery, Asia to return to prepandemic levels in 2024

By: - Business Features Editor / @philbizwatcher
/ 02:26 AM September 08, 2023

Klook CEO Ethan Lin

Klook CEO and cofounder Ethan Lin

BANGKOK, Thailand—While still lagging behind the rebound seen in the United States and Europe, the recovery of flight capacity in the Asia-Pacific is in full swing and likely to regain prepandemic vibrancy by 2024, making travel more affordable.

This is according to Ethan Lin, CEO and cofounder of Hong Kong-based Klook, Asia’s leading travel platform, which has seen a threefold increase in business this year from the 2019 level, even if flight capacity in the region has yet to fully recover.


Klook is hitting the $3-billion milestone in annualized gross booking value this year, marking its strongest performance since debuting in the travel industry nine years ago.


In US and Europe, air travel volume has now exceeded the 2019 level, based on data from the International Air Transport Association. In Asia-Pacific, even during this year’s peak season in summer, the region recovered only 75 percent of prepandemic volume.

Air travel volume picking up

“But it’s picking up and we do expect growth in 2024,” Lin said in a press briefing on Thursday during a media event organized to mark Klook’s ninth anniversary. “Tourists are slowly but cautiously returning to their favorite destinations.”

While the region was still in the early stages of travel recovery amid persisting constraints in flight capacity, Lin said Klook had achieved “astounding growth”, thanks to a 30-percent increase in spending by travelers booking on its platform this year. He attributed the growth to the diversification of products and services, ranging from rail and car rentals to staycations and “unique experiences.”

“We anticipate that by 2024, as flight capacity fully recovers and travel becomes more affordable, it will unlock even greater demand, further solidifying our position as the region’s leading experience-first platform,” Lin said.

Klook app, which is popular among millennials and Gen Z travelers, has been downloaded 30 million times and has 63 million monthly visitors.

In its recent study surveying Asia-Pacific travelers across 12 origins, experiences emerged as the top priority for the next generation of travelers, with 85 percent of millennials and Gen Zs willing to spend and invest in unique experiences.


Klook Kreators

Klook COO Eric Gnock

Klook COO Eric Gnock

As travelers prioritize experiences and seek to discover and share them on social media, the platform launched Klook Kreators, an industry-first influencer affiliate program.

“We’re witnessing a profound shift in how the next generation of travelers find inspiration for their holidays. This transformation is no longer a trend, it’s the new normal, especially among Gen Z travelers in Asia Pacific who heavily rely on social media. To meet this demand for authenticity and immersive experiences, we’re significantly increasing our investment in digital content creators,” said Eric Gnock Fah, chief operating officer and cofounder of Klook.

“Our focus isn’t just on any content; it’s about diving deep into user-generated content that’s mobile-friendly, snackable, authentic and highly shareable—everything that ignites wanderlust and enhances travel experiences. As authenticity now shapes the way we travel, our aspiration is to build the world’s largest social travel community, facilitating exploration and discovery of destinations and experiences.”

To celebrate its 9th anniversary, Klook is offering more than $9 million worth of travel deals and prizes across 14 destinations around the world from Sept. 8 to 22. Offers include buy-one-get-one tickets to Everland Korea, Universal Studios Japan and exclusive packages for the new World of Frozen in Hong Kong Disneyland.

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It also launched The Great Travel Quizventure, a travel trivia game that pits avid explorers around the world against each other. Players are guaranteed to win prizes if they play for a minimum of three days. The top nine scorers will win all-expense paid trips anywhere in Asia.

TAGS: Asia, Travel

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