FOXTROTS

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

 

2009 January 20

2009. Outbound travel potential from Hong Kong.

Numerically, the mainland will be the largest. Easy (plenty of cities), close, convenient (usually, no visas), connectivity (relatives, friends). But not always the cheapest option.

 

And the coming year may also be unusual for a few reasons:

-prices are changing, usually downwards (air fares and hotels).

-fuel surcharges are (slowly, reluctantly almost) being lifted, so longhaul prices (Australia, Europe, North America) are not so awesome.

 

But:

-The Crisis. So some will avoid longhaul travel, second short holiday, better hotels. And stay shorter, spend less. And some will say, “What the…Australia is 20% cheaper than it was in 2008; let’s go!”

 

Thus:

Mainland; see above.

Macau. Had a bad 2008 with no growth in visitors from Hong Kong. But that may change in 2009 because we think Macau’s V-factor (Venetian) will trump Hong Kong’s D-factor (Disneyland).

Singapore. Slow 2009 because noticeable increase in hotel prices (even if they fall a little, still higher than in past two years). And because in 2010 a few big-time attractions are due to open – including Singapore’s ‘V-factors’ – the Marina Bay Sands, and Resorts World on Singapore’s Sentosa island (including a Universal Studios theme park), and more.

Canada. Because sluggish growth in past four years, so pent-up demand.

US. Still tough because still-unfriendly welcome because of entry formalities.

Thailand. November’s airports-closure chaos will stop some from going, but low prices will attract many, but probably more to somewhere other than Bangkok.

Bali. Growing strongly, and will attract some Thailand-avoiding resort-seekers. But prices may not tumble as much there (because the resort island is still trying to get back to pre-bombing prices).

Penang. Once an important resort in Asia, but which lost its shine many years ago. But may come back a little in 2009 as some travellers avoid: Pattaya and Phuket because of uncertain politics in Thailand; Sri Lanka and Goa in India because of violence fears; and Bali because of higher prices.

Shopping? More to Japan, and also to Korea (which has had fewer Hong Kong visitors over the past two years).

Longhaul? (Australia, Canada, US above). Europe? Still costly, particularly now Oasis has gone. Maybe 2010?

Outsiders. Left behind in recent years, Malaysia and Philippines may see a resurgence in 2009 thanks mainly to lower prices.

 

-Then there’s Obamania – with travel getting a boost as a result of their Obama connections in, no less, Chicago, Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya. And, yes, in Obama, west Japan.

 

 

 

 

The Fox