Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 - MasterCard Worldwide
Rebound in Spending on Travel Seen among Middle East Consumers

One in four consumers in Asia/Pacific is looking to pack his or her bags and head off for a vacation in the next six months, based on the latest findings from a MasterCard survey. Japan, Australia and China remain the most popular destinations for travelers in Asia/Pacific.

A rebound in spending on travel is also expected in the Middle East, with more than a third of consumers planning to spend on international personal travel in the next six months (similar to a year ago). In the last survey, only 24% of consumers were looking at planning a trip.

The latest survey was conducted from 15 March to 12 April 2010 and involved 10,503 consumers from 24 markets1. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

Intraregional travel continues to be popular among consumers who plan to spend on travel in the next six months in Asia/Pacific (86%) and the Middle East (57%), with the majority of them planning trips within their respective regions in the next six months. Consumers in Africa who plan to spend on travel in the next six months however prefer to travel to Europe (65%), rather than within Africa itself (19%).

Of the 24 markets surveyed, respondents in Kuwait (71%) topped the list of consumers planning trips abroad, followed by Hong Kong (56%), UAE (52%), Singapore (48%) and New Zealand (40%).

“Personal travel is an integral part of life for many consumers in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa and from our previous surveys we have seen the appetite for travel hold through the recession. It is encouraging to see that spending on travel is set to rebound among more consumers in Middle East in the next six months. While fewer consumers in the Middle East had planned to spend on travel in the last survey, we now see more consumers intending to take holidays abroad this time round. Interestingly, there is a tremendous appetite for travel among consumers in Kuwait, and we are seeing a huge jump in the percentage of respondents looking to spend on international travel - growing from 29% in the last survey to an astonishing 71% this time round,” said Dr. Yuwa Hedrick Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide.

Other key findings from the survey include:

Asia/Pacific
- Many in Hong Kong (50% of consumers surveyed), New Zealand (45%) and the Philippines (43%) are saving to take a holiday abroad.
- Among the Asia/Pacific markets, Hong Kong (56%), Singapore (48%) and New Zealand (40%) boast the highest number of respondents looking to spend on traveling abroad in the next six months.
- Top five destinations for Asia/Pacific travelers: Japan (as indicated by 24% of respondents who plan to spend on travel in the next six months), Australia (20%), China (20%), Hong Kong (17%) and the United States (17%).
- International personal air travel is deemed as very important or important to 58% of the respondents in Asia/Pacific who plan to spend on travel in the next six months.

Middle East
- The majority of consumers in Kuwait (58% of consumers surveyed) are saving for a holiday abroad. This is higher than the other markets, where consumers are saving for items such as the purchase of a car/motorcycle, buying or renovating their homes, and for investing.
- Among the Middle Eastern markets, Kuwait (71%), UAE (52%) and Qatar (34%) boast the highest number of respondents looking to spend on traveling abroad in the next six months.
- Top five destinations for travelers in the Middle East: Egypt (as indicated by 28% of respondents who plan to spend on travel in the next six months), UAE (21%), Saudi Arabia (16%), Syria (14%) and Lebanon (13%).
- International personal air travel is deemed as very important or important to 90% of the respondents in the Middle East who plan to spend on travel in the next six months.

Africa
- Among the African markets, Morocco (24% of consumers surveyed) has the highest number of consumers saving for a holiday abroad.
- Morocco (24%), Egypt (20%) and Nigeria (18%) boast the highest number of respondents looking to spend on traveling abroad in the next six months.
- Top five destinations for travelers in Africa: the United States (as indicated by 27% of respondents who plan to spend on travel in the next six months), France (26%), Saudi Arabia (22%), Canada (17%) and Turkey (14%).
- International personal air travel is deemed as very important or important to 81%

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
MasterCard puts out a series of ongoing consumer surveys and research Indices in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. These include the MasterCard Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence and MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement.
Besides these, MasterCard also regularly releases its Insights reports; the series is part its ongoing research and analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 70 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by its Asia/Pacific economist, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong and published by John Wiley & Sons.
The MasterCard Indexes and Insights reports are available at www.masterintelligence.com

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Eugenia Koh
P: +(65) 6825- 8029
W: www.mastercard.com

Vani Viswanathan

P: 65 6825 8053

Keywords

Travel Asia/Pacific MasterCard Survey

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