Domestic travellers revisit travel agencies

SINGAPORE, 19 May: More travellers are likely to revisit travel agencies for their domestic travel plans across five Southeast Asian nations, according to findings in a Milieu Insight study released on Wednesday

Milieu Insight, a Southeast Asian consumer research and analytics firm, released findings* of domestic travel plans for summer vacation across the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Respondents from the Philippines and Indonesia show the highest willingness to embark on domestic travel as restrictions across Asia are being lifted. But the study suggests that 80% of domestic travellers in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam indicated they would likely use travel agencies to expedite their domestic travel and vacation plans. If so, that bucks a long-term trend that has seen travellers deserting travel agency services to manage their own travel plans, particularly in the domestic travel market.

On the other hand, 40% of respondents from the Philippines remain highly concerned for their safety even towards domestic travel, fearing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases could shut down resorts and prevent them from returning to their homes and work. Domestic travel within the Philippines is still only limited to select destinations and with restrictions (as of 11 May 2022).

Travellers from Indonesia (89%), Vietnam (83%) and Thailand (79%) have expressed the least concern for themselves when it comes to domestic travel. This willingness to travel is also reflected in the domestic travel policies of these countries, as there are minimal restrictions involved in their inter-state/inter-provincial travel protocols. In February 2022, Vietnam recorded 9.6 million domestic travellers.

When planning for their upcoming summer vacation, most travellers across all five countries are looking to unwind and reconnect with their families after two years of pandemic isolation (Philippines 83%, Indonesia 82%, Vietnam 78%, Malaysia 81%, Thailand 79%).

Hotels remain the top choice for accommodation across all five countries, with half of the travellers in Vietnam also showing a preference for resorts, and more than half of the respondents from Thailand said they preferred pool villas (54%).

Travel agencies make a comeback

Despite only travelling within their home countries, most Southeast Asian travellers are prepared to engage with a travel agency to plan their domestic travel. Especially those from Indonesia (85%), the Philippines (82%), and Vietnam (83%). Engaging with a travel agent may ensure a less stressful trip, creating more time and leisure for travellers to enjoy their first post-pandemic vacation with their loved ones.

Other key findings

The highest demand for domestic travel is evident in the Philippines and Indonesia (89%), and Vietnam (83%). Thailand (79%) was the least concerned about domestic travel.

Travellers from the Philippines (76%) are most concerned about safety when travelling to and staying at tourist destinations.

Land transport is the preferred mode of transport (76%) when travelling domestically.

*Findings are based on Milieu Insight surveys with N=1000 respondents each from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, conducted in April 2022.

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