Travellers in South-East Asia still prefer to holiday within their own country

The island of Boracay in the Philippines is always popular with local and international tourists. — Pixabay

Where do travellers from the region prefer to “summer” this year? According to a survey, most people still prefer to travel domestically.

Milieu Insight, a consumer research firm in South-East Asia, conducted a survey among 2,500 working individuals aged between 20 and 65 in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines last month to find out their summer travel plans for this year.

The survey revealed some interesting insights, particularly on the willingness to travel domestically, and on safety concerns. Overall, however, the collated data shows that the travel industry in the region is improving, and will continue to rise over the next few months.

According to the survey, eight out of 10 respondents (or 76%) are keen to holiday within their own country during the summer travel season, while 85% of the respondents plan to embark on at least two domestic trips this year.

In Thailand, four out of 10 respondents intend to take four or more trips this year, the highest across the region for domestic travel intent. This suggests that travel companies should consider offering packages that cater to multiple trips to boost the frequency of travel. Additionally, the duration of travel per trip remains stable across markets, with the majority preferring an average of three to four days per trip.

Data also revealed that concerns over Covid-19 safety have waned across most of the countries surveyed; the Philippines showed the highest level of concern, likely due to rising cases in the country.

Meanwhile, “travel spots and sceneries” rank highest in key considerations for domestic travel in Indonesia (69%), Thailand (66%) and Vietnam (58%).

Beach holidays are also popular across the region with cities/states known for their beautiful beaches ranked first in each country: Boracay in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia, Da Nang in Vietnam, Sabah in Malaysia (followed by Penang and Kuala Lumpur), and Phi Phi Island in Thailand. As for beach activities, five out of 10 respondents in the Philippines chose swimming as their favourite, followed by paragliding and parasailing.

As for other holiday activities, 65% of Thai respondents showed enthusiasm for touring, which was also a popular activity in Malaysia (45%), Indonesia (40%) and the Philippines (43%). Museum visits are especially popular in Vietnam and Malaysia with at least two in 10 inclined to visit a museum while on vacation.

Finally, the survey also showed what we have known all along: South-East Asians are real foodies and shoppers! About five in 10 respondents in the region are planning a “food-trip experience”, while four in 10 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are keen to shop locally.

What else is new?

Luxury travel is picking up pace in South-East Asia with the launch of numerous new resorts and hotels across the region, as well as upgrades in services.

Some luxury resorts in South-East Asia offer unique travel experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. — Anantara Angkor ResortSome luxury resorts in South-East Asia offer unique travel experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. — Anantara Angkor Resort

In Cambodia, Anantara Angkor Resort in Siem Reap introduces a new “ultra luxury” package, catering to affluent travellers looking for truly hassle-free travel. The package will also include a list of experiences beyond the Unesco World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, like countryside rides by bicycle, quad, Vespa or vintage jeep; kayaking in Tonle Sap; and healing Khmer massage therapies.

In Vietnam, Small Luxury Hotels of the World makes its presence felt with the recent opening of The Anam Mui Ne. Located in the coastal town of Mui Ne in the southeast of Vietnam, the luxury beach resort mainly features architecture inspired by the grand French villas in Hanoi. As many as 250 oil paintings by local artists Bui Van Quang and Vu Trong Anh depicting scenes of Vietnamese life can be found in the rooms, as well as in the lobby, restaurants and hallways.

In June, a new expressway is set to open, which will then connect Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh City by road with a two-hour drive.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, a new contemporary property opened up in March that caters to digital nomads and travellers who don’t mind mixing work with a little bit of pleasure.

INNSiDE by Melia Kuala Lumpur Cheras has a playful design that offers spaces for both business and leisure. To enhance co-working and stimulate creativity, the hotel features two multifunctional areas: The Big Ideas Space and The Recording Studio.

Guests who wish to use either space to conduct meetings and work events can make use of the facilities provided, which includes a projector, a large meeting table, a big screen TV, cosy furniture and books.

The hotel is located near the beautiful Perdana Botanical Gardens and the Malaysia Cartoon and Comic House, a popular gallery that showcases the history of cartoons and comics in the country.

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