When it comes to travel industry rebound, South-East Asia wins

Based on a survey, KL is one of the most visited cities in South-East Asia last year. — SS KANESAN/The Star

The travel scene in South-East Asia is fast rebounding, and Kuala Lumpur stands strong as one of the most-visited cities in the region last year, according to new data from Airbnb.

Others on the list include Thailand’s Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the home-sharing booking company, Thailand was the most visited country in South-East Asia in 2022.

The survey also found that Malaysians are eager to travel, with 91% of the respondents saying they are confident that this will greatly enhance the country’s economy.

The travel trend has somewhat shifted, too. Group travel is on the upswing (increased threefold in 2022), while solo travel is gathering speed (increased 2.6 times); travellers are also booking longer stays in Airbnb homes (over 28 days).

According to the data, the 60% growth of family travel on the platform contributed to the significant increase in group travel.

Besides that, travelling within the region has also become a trend, with the Singapore-Malaysia route being the most popular among tourists.

The YouGov survey also shows that Malaysians believe that the diversity of accommodation types as well as tourism offerings will boost longer stay bookings.

Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer Nathan Blecharczyk said in a media briefing that travellers are looking to explore off-the-beaten path destinations.

“This is where our role comes into play, making information (on the road less travelled) more available. More than ever now, people want to have meaningful experiences and spend time with their friends and family. This involves taking more trips and the desire to connect with their loved ones,” Blecharczyk said.

Having flexible search tools will empower travellers, especially when searching for and booking accommodation, too, he added.

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