Milieu Insight survey finds 55% of Southeast Asians are ready for domestic travel; prioritising safety and budget-friendly destinations

With inflation driving prices high and international travel being costly, domestic leisure travel is expected to remain strong this year

SINGAPORE, 22 April 2024 – As the summer season approaches, Southeast Asia anticipates a surge in domestic travel with the Philippines and Indonesia having the highest interest in travelling domestically. However, for many travellers in the region, safety and costs are key considerations. Milieu Insight, a leading survey software company in Southeast Asia has published its latest report on summer travel plans for Southeast Asians.

The quantitative study conducted by Milieu Insight’s proprietary survey community polls 1,966 individuals from Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. According to the report, over 6 in 10 respondents prioritise safety and cost when choosing domestic travel destinations and 55% are willing to travel domestically this year.

“Our report highlights the summer travel plans of many Southeast Asians. As people seek to explore their own countries, affordability and safety are key factors driving their choice,” said Gerald Ang, Founder and CEO Milieu Insight. "At the same time, many travellers in Asia are increasingly budget-driven, and they are embracing family-oriented experiences, by finding value in land transportation and road trips.”

Inflation leads to budget-conscious travellers; but safety comes first

With inflation driving prices high and international travel being costly, domestic leisure travel is expected to remain strong among Southeast Asians. Travellers across Southeast Asia are becoming increasingly budget-conscious, prioritising financial considerations in their vacation planning.

While cost remains a top consideration for 62% of travellers in Southeast Asia, safety takes precedence, with 63% prioritising secure destinations and scenic spots. This trend highlights the importance for marketers to promote local destinations known for their safety.

Embracing road trips

Land transport emerges as the preferred choice for domestic vacations, with a significant 74% of travellers opting for this mode of transportation. 88% of Thai and 76% of Indonesian travellers prefer travelling by land when exploring domestic destinations.

Seeking family-focused travel experiences like food trips

79% of travellers in Southeast Asia are planning to embark on their adventures with their families in tow. Families are prioritising quality time together, seeking to create cherished memories while exploring local hidden gems.

Another compelling aspect of travel emerges for families: culinary exploration and immersive touring experiences. More than half surveyed are keen in making their domestic travels about food and immersive touring experiences where they get the opportunity to taste local flavours and visit landmarks.

Preference for hotels, yet Airbnb and pool villas gain traction

Hotels emerge as the preferred choice, capturing 78% of preferences across all surveyed countries. Despite this preference for traditional lodging, unique alternatives are gaining momentum.

In Malaysia, 44% of travellers opt for personalised experiences offered by Airbnb, while in Thailand, 47% are drawn to the luxury and exclusivity of pool villas.

As Southeast Asia gears up for summer travel, there is an increased willingness for most travellers to escape to domestic destinations due to proximity and costs. This shift underscores a pragmatic mindset amidst evolving global circumstances like flight prices and inflation, with safety and cost considerations taking precedence in travel planning.

The study, conducted via Milieu Insight's proprietary survey community, offers a comprehensive understanding of Southeast Asian summer travel plans, highlighting key insights and travel trends. Representative of the online adult population aged 16 and above, the fieldwork was carried out from 7th to 31st March 2024.

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