Southeast Asia Summer 2023 Domestic Travel Survey

Key considerations and top destinations for domestic travellers

Key Highlights:

  • 3 in 10 respondents from the Philippines still have high levels of concerns about COVID-19 safety, highest across the region
  • Beach holidays are popular across Southeast Asia
  • While costs of the whole vacation do have an impact on travel decisions, particularly for Indonesia (61%), Malaysia (61%) and Thailand (60%), the weather of the destination takes precedence in Thailand (62%), and Vietnam (55%)

Milieu Insight, Southeast Asia’s leading consumer research firm, conducted a survey among 2,500 working individuals aged 20-65 in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia in April 2023 to find out their summer travel plans for this year.

The survey reveals interesting insights on the willingness to travel domestically, concerns for safety, and the number and duration of trips planned for the year. The findings show a positive outlook for the travel industry in the region, with about 8 in 10 respondents (76%) keen to travel in their own country. 85% of respondents across the region plan to embark on at least 2 domestic trips this year.

4 in 10 respondents in Thailand intend to take 4 or more trips this year, the highest across the region for domestic travel intent. This suggests that travel companies should consider offering packages and promotions that cater to multiple trips to boost the frequency of travel. Additionally, the duration of travel per trip remains stable across markets, with the majority preferring an average of 3-4 days per trip. This information is valuable for travel companies when planning their packages and promotions.

Malaysia and Thailand Tourism Offices have done well in the promotion of domestic travel

Interestingly, the promotion of the destination is less impactful than a recommendation from family/friends in most countries, except Malaysia and Thailand, which means the tourism offices have done well in boosting local tourism.

The survey also revealed that concerns about COVID-19 safety have waned across most of the countries surveyed, with the Philippines showing the highest level of concern, likely due to rising cases in the country as reported by the Department of Health. (4,456) in the last week of April 2023.

Travel spots and sceneries rank highest in key considerations for domestic travel in Indonesia (69%), Thailand (66%) and Vietnam (58%), while the safety of travel (69%) tops the list of considerations for respondents from the Philippines.

Of noteworthy mention is that while costs of the whole vacation do have an impact on travel decisions especially for domestic travellers in Indonesia (61%), Malaysia (61%) and Thailand (60%), the weather of the destination takes precedence especially for those living in Thailand (62%), and Vietnam (55%). This could likely be due to concerns about extreme weather events that can happen quite frequently in both countries, reflecting the negative impacts of global warming.

Preferences of domestic destinations and airlines

Beach holidays are popular across the region with destinations known for their beautiful beaches ranked first in each country: Boracay in the Philippines, Bali in Indonesia, Da Nang in Vietnam, Sabah in Malaysia, and Phi Phi Island in Thailand

Waterfalls across Thailand were hotspots for domestic travellers, with 24% of respondents choosing them as favourite travel destinations.

National carriers (full-service airline) ranked first for the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam: Philippine Airlines (76%), Garuda Indonesia (74%), and Vietnam Airlines (72%), whereas in Malaysia (84%) and Thailand (83%), low cost carrier, AirAsia was the airline of choice likely due to higher price sensitivity for travellers in both the countries, similarly reflected when it came to travel considerations in the above chart.


When planning holiday activities, Southeast Asians proved to be foodies with about 5 in 10 planning a foodtrip experience, while 4 in 10 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were keen to shop locally. Beach holiday activities were especially popular for the Philippines, with 5 in 10 respondents choosing swimming alongside, supported too by other beach activities like paragliding or parasailing (13%). 65% of Thai respondents showed enthusiasm for touring, which was also a popular activity in Malaysia (45%), Indonesia (40%) and the Philippines (43%). Museum visits are especially popular in Vietnam and Malaysia with at least 2 in 10 inclined to visit a museum while on vacation.

From sightseeing to relaxing holidays, travel planners should consider that Southeast Asian travellers are drawn to activities that offer them opportunities to relax and unwind. With the diverse food culture in different states, the opportunity to eat like a local and discover hidden food gems will definitely be a draw!

Methodology: Based on Milieu Insight surveys with N=500 respondents who are working individuals aged 20-65 each from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, conducted in April 2023.




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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

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