Travel TrendsSoutheast Asians are keen to travel domestically, with Thailand leading the region in domestic travel intent.

Home is where the heart is for Southeast Asian travellers

South-east Asian travellers are drawn to activities that offer them opportunities to relax and unwind.
South-east Asian travellers are drawn to activities that offer them opportunities to relax and unwind. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/501room

Travelling domestically within Southeast Asia has emerged as a strong trend in a study undertaken by consumer research firm, Milieu Insight.

The survey of 2,500 working individuals aged 20-65 in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia in April 2023 revealed some concerns about safety although this did not negatively impact intentions to travel this year.

“From sightseeing to relaxing holidays, travel planners should consider that South-east Asian travellers are drawn to activities that offer them opportunities to relax and unwind,” Milieu Insight advised.

About eight in 10 respondents (76%) said they are keen to travel in their own country and 85% of respondents across the region plan to embark on at least two domestic trips this year.

The outlook is especially positive in Thailand where four in 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 and promotions that cater to multiple trips to boost the frequency of travel,” Milieu Insight noted.

The duration of travel per trip remains stable across markets, with the majority preferring an average of 3-4 days per trip. “This information is valuable for travel companies when planning their packages and promotions,” the research firm advised.

Other points from the report:

The promotion of the destination is less impactful than a recommendation from family/friends in most countries, except Malaysia and Thailand, “which means the tourism offices (in those countries) have done well in boosting local tourism”, the research revealed.

Concerns about Covid19 safety have waned across most of the countries surveyed, with the Philippines showing the highest level of concern.

Beaches, waterfalls and food in demand

Beach holidays are popular across the region with destinations known for their beaches ranked first in each country: Boracay in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia, Da Nang in Vietnam, Sabah in Malaysia, and Phi Phi Island in Thailand

Waterfalls across Thailand were hotspots for domestic travellers.

National carriers (full-service airline) ranked first for the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam: Philippine Airlines (76%), Garuda Indonesia (74%), and Vietnam Airlines (72%), whereas in Malaysia (84%) and Thailand (83%), low cost carrier, AirAsia was the airline of choice likely due to higher price sensitivity for travellers in both countries.

When planning holiday activities, about five in 10 are planning a food trip experience, while four in 10 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were keen to shop locally.

“With the diverse food culture in different states, the opportunity to eat like a local and discover hidden food gems will definitely be a draw,” Milieu Insight said.

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