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Wanderlust over wallets: Travel confidence holds up for over half of APAC travellers despite economic headwinds

Booking.com’s APAC Travel Confidence Index 2023 returns to decipher travellers’ mindsets, unveiling the how, why, and impact of travel amidst economic uncertainty.

SINGAPORE – Booking.com has released the 2023 edition of its APAC Travel Confidence Index (TCI). In light of prevailing macroeconomic realities, the report provides an in-depth analysis of travel mindsets across Asia-Pacific (APAC). It reveals a striking paradox: despite financial concerns ranking highest among their worries (42%), an astounding 73% of APAC travellers maintain unwavering optimism for their future travel plans over the next 12 months.

Over half (53%) of travellers surveyed have no intention of postponing any of their travel plans, despite the complex and interconnected crises pressuring the global economy, including inflation, climate change and supply chain disruptions. Even more impressive, 59% of these travellers not only remain steadfast in their original travel plans, but also intend to increase both the number of trips they take and their travel budgets for the year.

The TCI 2023 research, commissioned by Booking.com and conducted independently by Milieu Insight, involved a survey of over 8,000 travellers from 11 countries and territories across APAC, including Singapore, conducted between April and May 2023.

It presents an in-depth analysis of travel confidence and sustainability interest across various destinations in APAC. The report includes rankings that assess the confidence level of travellers in each market, with Singapore ranking fourth (4th).

Additionally, the report unveils four distinctive traveller personas for the first time, providing valuable insights into their prime motivations, priorities and travel behaviours:

  • Conscious Explorers (Hong Kong, India, China, Taiwan) actively pursue eco-friendly and sustainable travel. They are passionate about exploring while minimising environmental impact. They engage in ecotourism, stay at sustainable accommodations, and support local communities to align with their values.
  • Comfort Seekers (Singapore, Australia) prioritise comfort and convenience. They seek indulgent experiences and accommodations with maximum relaxation. They value personalised services, high-quality amenities, and prioritise comfort over sustainability in their travel decisions.
  • Mindful Voyagers (Vietnam) have a deliberate and thoughtful travel approach, driven by their sense of responsibility to the environment and desire to help local communities. However, they often experience anxieties in unfamiliar environments and actively seek resources to overcome travel concerns and gain confidence.
  • Homebound Pragmatists (New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Thailand) prefer practical travel and staying close to home. They prioritise convenience, efficiency, and optimising time and resources. They seek seamless travel experiences that are well-organised and efficient, making the most of their limited time and resources.
Key Singapore findings

In the vibrant city-state of Singapore, travel serves as a much-needed escape for 60% of its residents, providing a respite from the stresses of daily life. Meanwhile, 43% of Singaporean travellers seek to immerse themselves in local culture, yearning for authentic experiences that bring them closer to the heart and soul of a destination.

When it comes to spending, Singaporean travellers have their priorities straight. A striking 32% of them prefer to allocate their hard-earned money towards travel experiences rather than other fleeting pleasures in life. Additionally, 27% of Singaporean travellers demonstrate an adventurous spirit, gravitating towards lesser-known and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Beyond the escapism and cultural immersion, Singaporean travellers are driven by their passions. A whopping 79% of them prioritise food and dining experiences, savouring the flavours of different cuisines around the world. They also appreciate captivating scenery, with 70% seeking breathtaking landscapes that inspire awe. Exploring famous attractions and landmarks ranks high on their travel wish list, with 64% eager to uncover the iconic wonders of the world. And let’s not forget about shopping – 60% of Singaporean travellers enjoy indulging in retail therapy during their adventures.

However, their commitment to sustainable travel decisions appears to be less prominent. Surprisingly, only 32% of them consider sustainability to be of importance, revealing a reduced emphasis on environmental considerations. In a world where eco-consciousness is on the rise, Singaporean travellers stand out as the least likely (18%) to invest in sustainable accommodation choices, suggesting a strong inclination towards prioritising personal comfort and indulgence during their journeys.

However, they are not oblivious to the importance of managing their travel expenses effectively, and exhibit resourcefulness in planning their trips. When it comes to cost-cutting strategies, 57% opt for budget-friendly accommodation options, 52% plan their travels during off-peak periods to take advantage of lower prices, and 48% choose less expensive means of transportation.

“Despite some macroeconomic headwinds, one thing remains clear for all APAC travellers: their spirit of adventure and the desire to create lasting memories via travel remains steadfast and strong,” said Laura Houldsworth, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, at Booking.com. “Despite the profound impact of the pandemic, insights from this year’s Travel Confidence Index reassuringly proves that Asia-Pacific is well on its way to reclaim its position as the world’s fastest growing travel region1. As travellers around the world continue to navigate uncertainties and the rising cost of living, Booking.com remains committed to making it easier for travellers across Asia-Pacific to search, book and enjoy their perfect vacation and better experience the world.”

1 Phocuswright Research, Asia-Pacific Travel Market Report 2021-2025, February 2023

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