More Malaysians opt for spontaneous and last-minute holidays amid Covid-19


More Malaysians are opting for last-minute holidays during this uncertain time. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

Malaysian travellers are among the top three in the region to go on spontaneous and last-minute trips during these uncertain pandemic period, according to a digital travel platform.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand – according to search data from Agoda – are the top three Asia Pacific markets to embrace the thrill of the impromptu travel experience searching for same day check-ins.

These markets are followed by travellers from Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, India, the Philippines, South Korea and Singapore.

“There’s a growing group of travellers choosing last-minute adventures – couch dwellers who might make spontaneous decisions to either watch a show or book a staycation for the thrill of it, ” said Agoda regional director Enric Casals.

The search data was collected between the period of Jan 1 to 31 this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic and recurrent travel bans have certainly changed how travellers plan their holidays.

Agoda observed that demand for last minute travel searches for same day and next day overnight hotel stays have increased compared to last year.

Airbnb general manager (India, South-East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan) Amanpreet Bajaj said Malaysians took the various movement control order phases in their stride.

“As the pandemic situation continues to ebb and spike, the reinstatements and extensions of the movement control order are gradually melding into new domestic routines for Malaysians.

“When they can, they are choosing to take quick, short getaways with their families. Safe and clean travel is their utmost priority, ” he said in a statement.

In the first half of last year, Malaysia recorded a negative growth of 68.2% for tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019.

Amanpreet said sustained, long-term recovery will be the collective focus of the country’s tourism industry.

He added that digital transformation should be the main thrust moving forward.

“There is an opportunity for Malaysia to showcase its tourism offerings to the rest of the world. By pivoting and embracing a digital approach, industry players such as tour operators and traditional brick and mortar enterprises can potentially reach a wider audience.

“Our physical borders may be closed, but we can still connect virtually with existing and new consumers and communities worldwide, ” he concluded.

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