Malaysians prefer to travel in small groups with family and friends amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent study.
The Meaningful Travel Trends Survey 2021, an initiative by Airbnb and global data analytics firm YouGov, also revealed that local travellers prefer slower-paced holidays and explore off-the-beaten-path nature destinations.
Travel with immediate family emerged as the primary reason for domestic travel, with 82% of respondents saying they felt more connected with their families during the pandemic.
“Travel will look different than before the pandemic, as Malaysians begin seeking more personal and meaningful vacations to reconnect with their loved ones.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order have meant that Malaysians have spent a significant amount of time apart from family and friends, ” said Airbnb general manager (South-East Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan) Amanpreet Bajaj.
Almost 60% of those surveyed said they plan to connect with immediate family for their first trip, followed by friends.
When it comes to selecting destination and accommodation, affordability (72%) and health and safety protocols (44%) are top considerations.
The report also found that travellers have tight budget this year as over half of respondents expect to spend RM2,000 and less in travel expenditure.
Over half the respondents said they prefer slower-paced holidays in smaller groups, and travel to less crowded and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Penang emerged as respondents’ most popular go-to destination. The other top states include Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu and Johor.
“Once travel reopens, we believe Malaysians’ desire to spend time together with those closest to them in familiar, calming destinations that are close to nature will serve as the driving force for domestic tourism recovery, ” said Amanpreet.
The study polled a total of 1,140 Malaysians between Feb 4 and 8 this year.
In other developments, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said domestic tourism wasn’t the cause for the spike in Covid-19 cases among interstate travellers.
MAH was responding to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recent statement that 3,170 cases as a result of inter-state activities since Jan 1.
“The tourism industry, especially the hotel sector, has complied with standard operating procedures, ” said MAH in a statement.
MAH is calling for a more “targeted and controlled” cross-border travel.
“The tourism industry is among the most affected and desperately needs space for generating revenue to keep the industry afloat and 3.6 million working people in this industry.
“The domestic market is the industry’s only hope of survival until international tourism recovers, which is expected to take a longer time, ” said MAH. – Chester Chin
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