Meaningful vacations with family and friends to define Thai domestic travel in 2021: Airbnb

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Thais want to reconnect with family and friends, enjoy short getaways, and seek affordable and safe travel in places close to nature this 2021, 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 Thais this 2021 amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.*

Travel with immediate family emerged as the #1 reason for domestic travel amongst Thais. The pandemic appears to have strengthened the ties of families, with 68% of all respondents saying they felt more connected with their families while staying at home, and less connected to their friends. This was reflected in their choice of travel companions, with almost half (47%) saying they plan to travel with immediate family for their first trip, followed by couple vacations, solo vacations and then group vacations with friends.

Thais are also seeking affordable and safe travel options that make them feel at home. Respondents ranked affordability as the top consideration that will shape their choice of travel destinations and accommodations this year. Promotions and discounts on accommodation were key, as well as reasonable travel fares. Accommodation that provide personal touches and a sense of feeling at home came in a close second, followed by health and safety considerations (COVID-19 situation on ground, local health and safety protocols etc.). The majority of respondents are willing to spend THB5,000-15,000 on travel this year, with respondents aged 55+ comprising the largest group willing to spend more than THB50,000.

Quick getaways and nature retreats are likely to gain traction this year. When polled about the ideal duration for their next domestic trip, 74% of respondents indicated they were keen to travel between 1-3 nights. They also sought domestic destinations that were close to nature, and with good weather. Sustainable travel is another priority, with 73% saying they often consider the environment and sustainability when choosing destinations and accommodations.

“2021 will see a shift toward more meaningful and purposeful travel as the pandemic continues to limit mass travel. We believe that Thais’ strong desire to connect with their loved ones in affordable, family-friendly destinations will serve as a driving force for domestic tourism recovery, especially with key travel moments like Songkran on the horizon. Travel is resilient and will bounce back, and we are dedicated to supporting Thailand’s domestic and international tourism recovery in the long term,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Airbnb.

Airbnb has long been committed to supporting efforts to drive tourism recovery in Thailand and to being a good partner to local communities and stakeholders, as a platform which offers unique and affordable Stays and Experiences. It also remains focused on supporting the local community, empowering them to earn additional income through hosting on the platform.

As travel began to resume, Airbnb launched Luck, พัก, Joy: Win your Dream Travel Ang Pao with Airbnb to bring some festive joy and keep the travel inspiration going. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Airbnb also launched two new Experiences hosted by leading women chefs in Thailand: Chef Gai (Thananya Kaikaew), founder and owner of popular dessert cafe Brioche from heaven, and Chef Nooror (Nooror Somany Steppe), founder and owner of heritage Thai fine dining restaurant Blue Elephant.

Last year, an Oxford Economics report, titled The Economic Impact of Airbnb in Thailand, found that Airbnb was a valuable pillar of the local economy in 2019, contributing THB43.7 billion to Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) and supporting over 113,300 local jobs in Thailand alone. The report highlighted how Airbnb can play a key role to rejuvenate Thai tourism, support local communities and create tens of thousands of local jobs.

* Airbnb and YouGov surveyed a total of 2037 Thais between 4-8 February 2021.