KUALA LUMPUR: According to the findings of a survey conducted in March and April among 15,000 individuals across 15 countries, 80% of Malaysians reported feeling excited and happy to travel in 2023.
The Holiday Barometer 2023, by travel insurance firm Europ Assistance and research firm Ipsos, included 1,000 Malaysians who answered various questions about their travel plans.
Released earlier this month, the findings reveal that 72% of local respondents would travel this year in the “summer months”, i.e. between June and September, second only to Europeans (75%).
Asked about destinations, 69% of Malaysians said they would head abroad, while 41% planned to go holidaymaking domestically.
Notably, Malaysians seem to favour Asean markets such as Thailand (25%), Indonesia (19%) and Singapore (18%).
When it comes to holiday types, 54% of Malaysians said they prefer the seaside, versus cities (53%), countrysides (42%), and mountainous regions (28%); while 47% said they would join a tour.
And in choosing their preferred destinations, 37% of local travellers would consider whether the location is safe (37%), while 32% make their decision based on whether it is a good deal.
A quarter of respondents said they would return to a place they have visited before.
Local travellers planned to spend an average of RM6,500, all inclusive, per trip, with an average duration of 10 days for their vacation. The survey points out that both budget and duration are comparatively lower compared with other regions.
Some 82% of Malaysians pinpointed inflation as the main factor limiting their travel, while Covid-19 came in second (76%). Inflation also plays a part in dampening travel plans in developed countries such as Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States.
When it comes to the impact of Covid-19 on travel, 28% of Malaysians said the pandemic encouraged them to plan more trips to green spaces such as the countryside, and 35% said they would apply for travel insurance and health assistance in the future.
Notably, Malaysians prioritise health and safety when they travel. Issues such as robbery (84%), falling sick (80%), and financial security (80%) topped their list of concerns when it came to planning their next trip.
In light of this, more respondents from the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia applied for travel insurance for their last trip compared with other regions.
Overall, more than half (54%) of Malaysian respondents said the risk of coronavirus infection was an “essential” factor when it comes to choosing a destination, as were health risks other than Covid (54%), the risk of natural disaster (54%), and the risk of a terrorist or personal attack (58% and 56%, respectively).
Interestingly, the quality of internet connection was important to 47% of Malaysian travellers.
When it comes to travel companions, domestic partners are the company of choice for 43% of respondents, followed by children (37%) and parents (24%). Friends were only cited by 21% of Malaysians.
Comfort is crucial, it seems, to local travellers: 61% said they would prefer staying at a hotel, versus renting a property (30%) or staying with friends or family (25%). Only 11% of Malaysians said they would go on a cruise.
Finally, 56% of Malaysians said they would use their vacation to spend quality time with family or friends, while at least half (51%) would use this opportunity to rest and have peace of mind.
One out of every 10 respondents said they would be on the lookout for romantic encounters, while only 8% said they would engage in activities such as hiking and climbing.