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Travel Trends for Southeast Asia


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While Bali, Phuket, and Bangkok have been the top destinations for the region, a host of new travel spots have been popping onto the scene. Looking at Google Search queries in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia over the last two years, Google has found some pretty interesting seasonal travel patterns.

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Travel Trends for Southeast Asia

  1. 1. Top Travel Trends for Southeast Asia The travel industry is booming in Southeast Asia: By 2016, gross booking is expected to reach $53.7 billion, a 22% increase from 2013.1 What destinations are piquing the interest of travellers? (Hint: It’s not just about Bali, Phuket, and Bangkok, anymore.) We took a look at hotel and airline search queries in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia to figure out the region’s preferred destinations. PhoCusWright, Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition, August 2014. The World Factbook, 2010. Google Internal Data, June 2013–2015. Sources: 1 2 3 Summer is all about Europe—and not just London and Paris. Cities like Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Florence, Prague, Rome, Vienna, and Zurich are gaining in popularity. At year’s end, interest in APAC destinations, particularly Thailand, surges. Bangkok and Phuket are always popular, and interest in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin also rises significantly. When spring has sprung, visitors head to Kyoto to see the cherry blossoms. Searches also rise for other East Asian destinations including China, Korea, and Japan. Too busy celebrating? Travel searches slow down during Chinese New Year. DecJan Singapore DecJan Religious destinations, especially Mecca, are on the minds of travelers as the new year begins. Searches soar for both domestic and overseas destinations during school holidays. During the holy month of Ramadan, there's an 18% to 23% drop in travel searches for domestic cities such as Langkawi, Pangkor, and Malacca. During the Chinese New Year, there is a 19% to 24% drop in travel searches for non-Muslim cities such as Beijing, Taipei, and Shanghai. RAMADANSCHOOL HOLIDAYS In June, the two-week long mid-year school holidays see domestic destinations such as Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Cherating, and Mersing as the most popular searched spots. For December, searches for overseas destinations like London, Paris, and Korea start as early as September. And plans for domestic travel, including Malacca, Penang, and Ipoh, begins in November. Searches rise for non-Muslim international destinations— Jeju-si, Melbourne, Sydney, and Taipei—possibly by Malaysian Chinese (just under a quarter, 22%, of the country’s population2 ). During Ramadan, there’s a steep decline in travel searches for domestic locations, such as Langkawi and Malacca, and international Muslim cities, including Jakarta, Bandung, and Istanbul. Average Search Volume Average Search Volume Seasonality Chart PREPARING FOR THE PILGRIMAGE: Interest in Mecca Soars in Indonesia and Malaysia Searches for Mecca increase in preparation for Hajj (the pilgrimage itself).3 Interest surges by: 56% for Malaysians 58% for Indonesians Neighboring Muslim cities Istanbul and Dubai also rise in popularity, as these major airport hubs become popular stops along the pilgrimage. Search volume peaks from January to March each year. DecJan Given the logistics, high costs, and level of planning required for Hajj, it’s no wonder that searches for Mecca often begin up to nine months in advance. Travel searches taper off at the beginning of the year, as people return from year-end cuti bersama and religious holidays. Following the observance of Hari Raya (Indonesians typically take two weeks off), and in anticipation of cuti bersama, searches for travel closer to home—local destinations and staycations—are popular. Domestic destinations, such as Bali, Lombok, and Yogyakarta, are searched for heavily at the end of the year, in anticipation of cuti bersama. Indonesia Average Search Volume Seasonality Chart Throughout the year, Indonesia’s government issues public, or joint holidays, called cuti bersama, to stimulate tourism within the country. If a public holiday falls on a Thursday, businesses are encouraged to let employees take Friday off, too. CUTI BERSAMA Malaysia Seasonality Chart Indonesia Seasonality Chart Jan 2014 Jan 2015 Jan 2013