Vaccinated people are booking vacations already, when can Malaysians do so too?

People waiting to receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur. - GLENN GUAN/The Star

Global vaccine rollouts are driving increasing demand for vacations, with vaccinated travellers more likely to stay longer and spend more on their trips than unvaccinated travellers.

A new travel study by TripAdvisor also revealed that vaccinated travellers are more likely to be booking vacations already.

“If ever we needed proof that vaccines are the key to long-term recovery in the tourism sector, our latest trend data provides it, ” said TripAdvisor chief executive officer Stephen Kaufer.

The A Shot In The Arm For Travel? Examining The Vaccine’s Impact On Leisure Travel Demand report revealed that there is “clear behavioural differences in how vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are thinking about travel”.

In countries like the United States and Britain, where the vaccination rollout has reached a large number of the adult population, eager travellers are pushing the tourism recovery forward.

Meanwhile, countries where the vaccine rollout is at a less advanced stage and new variants of Covid-19 have impacted local populations – particularly across the Asia-Pacific region – are experiencing a slower recovery in leisure travel demand.

“Now the focus must be on governments and international organisations to ensure vaccines reach every part of the world as quickly as possible and make it as easy as possible for vaccinated tourists to travel globally once again, ” said Kaufer.

TripAdvisor market research head Christopher Hsi said many travel operators are hopeful the vaccine will inject a much-needed boost to the tourism industry.

“What offers even greater hope for a long-term recovery is the impact the vaccine is having not just on people’s confidence to travel, but also their willingness to turn planning into bookings.

“As more and more countries make progress on the rollout of the vaccine, and the positive impact that should have on the re-opening of international borders, there is every reason to expect further growth in traveller demand will come, ” he said.

Closer to home, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said Malaysia aims to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by December this year.

Local health experts, however, warned that the goal could be dampened if Malaysians become picky in choosing what vaccines they want.

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