Driving inbound business to Southeast Asia

Bangkok-based tour operator seeks new inspiration, ideas and contacts at ITB Asia

Domenico Liantonio is CEO, Asia Travel and Estate Co, based in Bangkok. We started by asking him about this company and how business was in 2017.

Domenico Liantonio is CEO, Asia Travel and Estate Co, based in Bangkok. We started by asking him about this company and how business was in 2017. Asia Travel and Estate Co is a destination management company offering inbound tour packages from Europe to Southeast Asia. The majority of my business comes from Italy and business in 2017 was great.

What are your key destinations?
The most important destination for Italians is Thailand, followed by Vietnam and Myanmar. Vietnam is increasing, which I attribute to stable prices in the destination and it’s not just a country aimed at leisure, but also for groups, incentives and MICE. Groups are focused on visiting Cambodia and Vietnam together, for culture and history.

What effect are rising prices having on your customer’s choice of destinations?
As prices rise around the world, Southeast Asia remains an interesting destination for my clients. Prices are more stable here. One of the destinations that I don’t get a good response from is the Philippines, as the prices are rising too much. I’m purchasing in US Dollars, which means that the price is quite high for Europeans. The demand from the USA and Australia has resulted in price rises in the Philippines, and Europeans find it too expensive, so they prefer Vietnam and Myanmar.

I BELIEVE MYANMAR WILL BE ONE OF THE MAIN DESTINATIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

The UNWTO data for Myanmar in 2017 were very encouraging – up 18.4%. What are your thoughts on Myanmar as a destination?
Myanmar is starting to develop its tourism business – a few years ago there was no tourist industry – hotels are starting to be built and I believe Myanmar will be one of the main destinations in Southeast Asia. It has good cost lines, but it will depend on the investment by hotel chains.

What new destinations are you interested in?
I want to find out about Japan as a destination as I want to open this country to my clients. I will go to Japan next month as I want to start compiling packages. Japan is a very interesting country for Italians, but I want to find something that can be very competitive to keep the price a little lower than it is now, to generate more business. If I can find something that is good, and not too expensive, I think it will be interesting for my clients. A few years ago, Australia was a dream destination for Italians, but now they like Japan, they like the Japanese way of life and it’s a new style – and there’s a long history between Italy and Japan. There’s also the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which are starting to stir interest in Italy.


Photo : Domenico Liantonio, CEO, Asia Travel and Estate Co