Travel demand for Malaysia picks up, returns to pre-pandemic norm


It’s a good day for local tourism. According to Google, Malaysia’s inbound tourism demand is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 83% of 2019 levels. In fact, up to 75% of tourism in Southeast Asia comes from Singapore and Malaysia.

Overall, tourism within Southeast Asia is picking up, especially with the growth we’ve seen since the fourth quarter of last year. Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore are already making more welcome policies for international tourists, heralding a return to health for the tourism economy. In fact, Malaysia has started to further attract international tourists, starting with India.

Image source: Unsplash

Even domestic tourism in Malaysia has returned to standard levels, with Google data showing that interest in the sector has reached 100% of what it used to be. Hermione Joye, Google’s Asia Pacific head of vertical search and travel, cited the easing of “international border restrictions” amid a recent surge in domestic and international demand as the reason.

“March [2022] Across Southeast Asia, we’ve seen massive reopening restrictions. Governments are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of ​​people traveling and the need to travel, and demand is picking up,” she said.

Although Malaysia lags slightly in terms of inbound tourism demand compared to the Philippines and Indonesia (118% and 105% of inbound tourism demand respectively), the country’s domestic tourism performance is much better compared to the two countries, Singapore reached the 100% level.

How travel is different after the pandemic

While it’s looking up, we’re seeing a slight shift in travel behavior. “The reality is that travel is simply taking longer, 20% longer than pre-Covid bookings,” Hermione added.

There was a 4x increase in searches for travel insurance within Malaysia, which is a requirement in some locations; and 500% of searches for travel needs. Both of these can help extend travel planning time. For Hermione, the solution to this problem is for businesses to focus on providing travelers with a seamless experience that builds customer loyalty.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash; Hero Image Credit: Mohd RASFAN/AFP


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