Beyond Borders: Accessing the Asia-Pacific Travel Boom from Main Street USA

Asia calls!  At last, following 2023 trends, travel in the Asia-Pacific region is experiencing significant resurgence. This growth presents exciting opportunities not just for travelers, but also for financial institutions in North America, particularly banks and credit unions.

Demand For Travel is Growing, from All Directions

Initial momentum may have its source in China, where there is plenty of pent-up demand for leisure trips and many business executives eager for face-to-face meetings. However, the good news extends beyond this expected surge. Two examples indicate the depth of this re-growth. Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), show air traffic volumes within the region are increasing, and will soon be close to 2019 levels. Travel demand in December 2023 was about 83% of 2019 levels, a significant jump from just 57% in January 2023.

Second, there is more flight capacity and not just for regional airlines. On February 26, the U.S. Transportation Department announced Chinese passenger airlines can increase their weekly round-trip U.S. flights from 35 to 50 starting on March 31. This is some way off pre-pandemic levels, but it’s indicative of likely further growth.

Meeting the Foreign Currency Challenge

Increased air traffic within the region and more flights between the United States and China create a ripple effect, making travel to and from this vast area more appealing than ever for Americans. This translates to a potential surge in demand for travel services, including foreign currency exchange. Here’s where banks and credit unions can step up and seize a golden opportunity. But traditionally, obtaining foreign currency at banks and credit unions has been cumbersome. Long wait times and limited currency availability often frustrate customers and staff alike. A new approach is essential.

A Streamlined Solution for Modern Travelers

To capitalize on the Asia-Pacific travel boom, financial institutions need to offer a seamless foreign currency experience. Imagine a system that allows customers to order their travel money conveniently online or via a mobile app, with the option for in-branch pickup. This click-and-collect approach streamlines the process, saving both customers and staff time.

The ideal solution would automate back-office tasks like foreign currency ordering. This ensures branch staff have the necessary supply on hand, eliminating out-of-stock delays and further enhancing customer satisfaction.

Money 4 Travel: Empowering Your FX  Services

There is a solution that meets all these needs: Money 4 Travel by Essiell. This unique service enables banks and credit unions to regain control of their retail foreign currency sales. It’s easy to implement, requiring no system upgrades, and is user-friendly for both staff and customers. And as a white label offering, it increases brand building opportunities to subscribing businesses.

Money 4 Travel does more. By simplifying foreign currency exchange, it frees up valuable staff time. This allows front-office personnel to focus on what they do best: building relationships and offering additional financial services to customers.

A Win-Win for Everyone

This surge in travel creates a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Travelers get to explore the vibrant cultures of the Asia-Pacific region with ease, while banks and credit unions thrive by offering a best-in-class foreign currency service. As the world embraces travel once again, financial institutions  – embracing innovative solutions like Money 4 Travel – have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in making it a seamless and rewarding experience.

By Declan Morton, staff writer at Money 4 Travel and Essiell Ltd.


For reference:

Chinese tourists are driving Asia-Pacific’s travel boom — flight bookings to hit pre-pandemic levels, CNBC Travel, February 21, 2024.

Chinese airlines can boost US flights to 50 per week, US says,  yahoo! finance, February 27, 2024

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