IF you packed your bags and went anywhere this year, whether it was a domestic roadtrip or flying to another country, chances are you reflected on just how surreal travelling in 2022 truly is. The speed at which the travel industry has bounced back can be chalked-up to a couple of things, namely the human desire to explore and overall consumer behaviour.
In our latest Year-in Review, we asked our friends in the industry to describe 2022 in one word. Kei Shibata (CEO, Venture Republic / Trip101) simply said “Resilience”. Kerry Healy (Chief Commercial Officer, Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, Accor) echoed Kei and a number of others in previous articles who picked the same word.
It’s an apt description for an industry in full recovery mode. Not only is travel and hospitality showing robust signs of growth, more people are venturing out further and for longer periods than they ever did before.
Now, a recent study by Klook suggests that resilience will be a driving factor in traveller behaviour in 2023, as over 80% of travellers in Asia intending to travel next year also plan to spend the same if not more on travel compared to 2022, despite the looming global recession. The company is dubbing these collective decisions as “Travelsilience”.
The Travelsilience survey was conducted in November 2022 with a total of 902 respondents across 9 markets including Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, and Korea.
The study makes for an interesting conversation – we as travellers are fully aware of the potential risks, yet after two years of being cooped up, we’re probably unwilling to take travel for granted anytime soon, or ever again:
- In Asia, 79% of travellers plan to go on at least one international holiday in 2023, and almost 4 in 10 are looking at 2 to 4 holidays
- In Singapore, even though 80% are worried about economic uncertainties, an overwhelming 92% are still willing to travel
- 63% (mainly in Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan) are worried about increasing price tags associated with travel.
- 1 in 3 Singaporeans have already booked a holiday in 2023, the highest across Asia
Wait, what happened to Covid-19?
With so much talk of the economy, it’s as if most Asian travellers have put Covid-19 worries on the backburner. Less than half (39%) are concerned about catching the virus while on holiday. However, that number grows to 49% when zoomed in on Singapore alone.
It’s hard to say if this is mainly a health concern or a financial one, since extending a stay due to quarantine rules could prove costly.
The study also highlights how some travellers are planning ahead to allay any concerns about travelling during uncertain times:
- 35% will opt for a nearer destination or travel during off-peak seasons
- 34% are willing to cut back on other expenses to save more on travel
- Almost 50% aim to plan their itinerary ahead of time to maximise experiences during the trip
- 43% will purchase health insurance to curb medical expenses overseas, if any
- 35% will explore less crowded places and destinations to minimise exposure to Covid-19
A recent study by Tripadvisor suggested that many travellers were frequenting big cities like Bangkok, London, and New York. Meanwhile, Klook’s more Asia-centric study finds that less-metropolitan, family-friendly experiences are surging in popularity. Museums, theme parks, zoos, and animal parks lead the way for top attractions in Asia, alongside outdoor experiences like walking tours and trekking.
Length of stay also evolved in 2022 and is expected to continue on this trend in 2023. For Asian travellers, the most popular travel length for a break is 3 – 5 days (44%), followed by 6 – 9 days (39%), and then 10 days or more (29%). It’s a peculiar find, especially since there’s been so much talk of longer holidays this year, as more people discover an increased flexibility with their work conditions.
All in all, these are the two major concerns when it comes to travelling for Asian consumers – money and Covid-19. But, those are not the only concerns for some travellers.
- 35% are anxious about language barriers
- 33% are concerned about having the proper travel documentation
In Singapore, there’s some anxiety about flight delays and lost baggage (37%), transportation (37%) and availability of flights (35%)