KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysians are yearning to travel in small groups with family and friends, enjoy slower-paced holidays and explore off-the-beaten-path nature destinations, according to Airbnb’s Meaningful Travel Trends Survey 2021 with global data analytics firm YouGov. The survey aims to explore the travel preferences and behaviors of Malaysians this 2021 amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Travel with immediate family emerged as the #1 reason for domestic travel amongst Malaysians. The pandemic appears to have strengthened the ties of families amidst the ongoing Movement Control Order, with 82% of all respondents saying they felt more connected with their families during the pandemic. Almost 60% say they plan to connect with immediate family for their first trip, followed by friends.
Affordability (72%) and health and safety protocols (44%) emerged as top considerations for respondents when selecting travel destinations and accommodation, followed closely by adequate space to accommodate a group of friends or family (33%). The report also found that travellers are pulling their purse strings tight this year as over half of respondents expect to spend RM2,000 and less on travel expenditure.
Nature getaways are likely to gain traction this year with respondents indicating that being close to nature was their #1 criteria for deciding where to go. When asked if they anticipated any significant change in travel preferences post-pandemic, over half of all respondents said they desired slower-paced holidays in smaller groups and travel to less crowded and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
Notably, familiar, family-friendly destinations continue to top Malaysians’ bucket list for 2021 travel, with Penang emerging as respondents’ most popular go-to destination. The other top states that emerged include Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu and Johor.
Responsible travel is also important to Malaysians, with over 60% of respondents saying they often consider the environment and sustainability when choosing travel accommodations and destinations.
In April 2020, Airbnb launched Online Experiences, enabling guests to travel virtually and enjoy activities around the world and allowing hosts to continue to earn income while sharing in their passions. The very first Malaysia-based Online Experience was introduced in June 2020, with more Malaysians coming on board the platform in the following months.
Most recently, Airbnb collaborated with four Malaysian creative entrepreneurs including Melinda Looi and Sherson Lian to launch a special edition Online Experiences for Chinese New Year, helping Malaysian families share meaningful moments during the MCO.
Last year, an Oxford Economics report, titled The Economic Impact of Airbnb in Malaysia, found that Airbnb was a valuable pillar of the local economy in 2019, contributing RM3.98 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and supporting over 52,100 local jobs in Malaysia alone. The report highlighted how Airbnb can play a key role to rejuvenate Malaysian tourism, support local communities and create tens of thousands of local jobs.