Travel to Southeast Asia has surpassed the pre-pandemic market conditions, said a report by Direct Ferries, a leading ferry booking site.
Ferry bookings in the region experienced a remarkable increase of 110% Year-To-Date (YTD) compared to the same period in 2019. This booking surge indicates a substantial growth in the demand for ferry travel in and around the region, showcasing a strong recovery and a heightened interest in exploring the area by sea.
The report also revealed that gap year travellers and backpackers have mostly flocked to Southeast Asian destinations such as Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, where the firm operates about 300 ferries.
The data also suggests that couples actively seek ferry sailings with two adults for their travel plans. For example, most searches (93%) are for groups of four or fewer passengers. Couples are the most popular among these searches, accounting for 55% of the total searches.
Direct Ferries CEO Niall Walsh CEO said, "We anticipated a gradual recovery in travel numbers in the region following the pandemic, but the 110% surge in ferry bookings indicates a significantly heightened global interest in exploring and discovering Southeast Asia by sea. We anticipate this positive trend to persist as more travellers, across different age groups, gain confidence and ability to cost-effectively travel to long-haul Southeast Asian destinations from Europe and within the domestic, regional market via ferry."
Additionally, there has also been a 49% year-on-year increase in Google searches related to student gap year travel. Backpackers, individuals in their 'grey' gap year (retirement age), and 'revenge' travellers (those making up for missed opportunities during the pandemic) also take advantage of the newfound freedom to travel and are actively planning their trips.