Malaysia records 100% domestic travel demand growth

The main drivers for the growth are the eased of travel restrictions and the reopening of borders


DOMESTIC travel demand in Malaysia soared in March as it reached 100% growth compared to the same period in 2019.

Indonesia also recorded 100% growth in domestic demand, followed by the Philippines at 90%, Thailand and Vietnam at 84% and 80%, respectively.

Google Asia Pacific travel lead Hermione Joye said the main drivers for the growth in domestic travel within the region are the eased of travel restrictions and the reopening of borders.

“During the pandemic, quality time with family and self-care became important. Recovery has started to take place across the region and the governments are getting much more comfortable with the idea of people travelling,” she said in a virtual briefing yesterday.

For Malaysia, staycations searches surged 409% compared to 2019 followed by Vietnam (270%) and Singapore (262%).

Malaysians have also been increasingly searching for transit bus services which recorded 51% growth year-on-year (YoY), as well as exploring theme parks, heritage towns and other destinations such as Penang, Langkawi and Cameron Highlands.

As for international demand, Malaysia recorded moderate recovery alongside Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Inbound demand from March 27 until April 2, 2022, stood at 83% of pre-pandemic levels while outbound demand from the same period stood at 90%, reflecting the pent-up demand for overseas holidays among Malaysians.

Some of the top travel destinations by demand are big cities, and there is also growing interest in European countries among Malaysians.

“With borders in South-East Asia opening and travel demand picking up, Google Search trends gives us a clearer idea of Malaysians’ travel preferences and what the reviving travel industry is looking like.

“Here in Malaysia, we’re seeing a steady recovery of international travel demand which has already climbed to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, and an explosion of domestic travel demand as Malaysians rediscover the country’s destinations.

“Because of this, we are adapting Google tools to help travellers find the long-awaited travel experience they are looking for,” said Google Malaysia MD Marc Woo in a statement yesterday.

Travel trends and preferences for Malaysians are also showing new patterns where they focus on safety following the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

According to data from Google searches, there had been a 400% increase on searches for travel insurance in March 2022 versus March 2021.

Malaysian travellers also exhibit preference for hassle-free leisure holidays as searches for “all-inclusive resorts” rose 120% YoY.

Other preferences include exclusive private accommodation options as they plan their overseas travel which is reflected in the rise in searches for vacation rentals that rose by 11 times YoY.

Joye added that travellers across the region have become more detailed in their planning as shown by the increase in information gathering for travel requirements in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

They are also taking a longer time to plan for international holidays following the new regulations required by different countries with regards to Covid-19.