Intelligence Milieu Insight tracks summer travel sentiments in South-east Asia By TTG Asia / Posted on 9 May, 2023 11:54 Results from the Southeast Asia Summer 2023 Domestic Travel Survey, conducted by consumer research firm Milieu Insight, reveals interesting insights on the willingness to travel domestically, concerns for safety, and the number and duration of trips planned for the year. The survey involved 2,500 working individuals aged 20-65 in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia in April 2023. Findings show a positive outlook for the travel industry in the region, with about eight in 10 respondents (76%) keen to travel in their own country; 85% of respondents across the region plan to embark on at least two domestic trips this year. Four in 10 respondents in Thailand 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. Additionally, the duration of travel per trip remains stable across markets, with the majority preferring an average of three to four days per trip. This information is valuable for travel companies when planning their packages and promotions. Interestingly, 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 have done well in boosting local tourism. The survey also revealed that concerns about Covid-19 safety have waned across most of the countries surveyed, with the Philippines showing the highest level of concern, likely due to rising cases in the country as reported by the Department of Health (4,456) in the last week of April 2023. Travel spots and sceneries rank highest in key considerations for domestic travel in Indonesia (69%), Thailand (66%) and Vietnam (58%), while the safety of travel (69%) tops the list of considerations for respondents from the Philippines. Of noteworthy mention is that while costs of the whole vacation do have an impact on travel decisions, especially for domestic travellers in Indonesia (61%), Malaysia (61%) and Thailand (60%), the weather of the destination takes precedence especially for those living in Thailand (62%) and Vietnam (55%). This could likely be due to concerns about extreme weather events that can happen quite frequently in both countries, reflecting the negative impacts of global warming. Preferences of domestic destinations and airlines Beach holidays are popular across the region, with destinations known for their beautiful beaches ranking first in each country: Boracay in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia, Danang in Vietnam, Sabah in Malaysia, and Phi Phi Island in Thailand. Waterfalls across Thailand are hotspots for domestic travellers, with 24% of respondents choosing them as favourite travel destinations. National carriers (full-service airline) are top choice among respondents in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam: Philippine Airlines (76%), Garuda Indonesia (74%), and Vietnam Airlines (72%). In Malaysia (84%) and Thailand (83%), low cost carrier AirAsia is the airline of choice, likely due to higher price sensitivity for travellers in both the countries. When planning holiday activities, South-east Asians prove to be foodies, with about five in 10 planning a food trip experience, while four in 10 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are keen to shop locally. Beach holiday activities are especially popular among Filipinos, with five in 10 respondents choosing swimming and other beach activities like paragliding or parasailing (13%). Among Thai respondents, 65% is keen to join tours, which is also a popular activity for Malaysians (45%), Indonesians (40%) and Filipinos (43%). Museum visits are especially popular among respondents in Vietnam and Malaysia, with at least two in 10 inclined to visit a museum while on vacation. 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. 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.