With gradual drop in infected coronavirus cases and lifting of social restrictions many people are able to travel again, albeit domestically, and dreaming of hitting foreign shores again.
Search data from Agoda.com revealed Taiwan, Thailand and Japan as the top searched destinations for travel until the end of the year.
Taiwan leads the travel escape among all different traveller groups – from couples to solo travellers, family and groups – knocking out last year’s “champion” Thailand to second place as the most popular searched destination. Making up the top 10 (in order) are Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, US, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The search data shows distinctions between destinations searched by type of travellers. Japan and Thailand are in second and third spots for solo travellers, while families are searching for deals in Thailand ahead of Vietnam. However, for group travellers Vietnam is in the second place ahead of Thailand.
According to Agoda, in 2019 there was a clear mix of international search destinations across the Asia Pacific region, but now with fewer markets for international travellers open Taiwan is receiving the bulk of searches – by both domestic and international travellers.
The data shows Taiwan is a key destination in the second half of 2020, dominating the list with seven of the most popular destinations in the top 10 – Hualien#1, Yilan #2, Taipei #3, Kenting #4, Taitung #6, Nantou #8 and Taichung #10.
“This marks a dramatic change from 2019, which featured a more diverse set of travel choices from across Asia,” added Agoda.
On the destination wishlist of couples for this year are Hualien, Taipei, Bangkok (Thailand), Yilan and Jeju Island (South Korea). In 2019 the searches were for Bangkok (Thailand), Tokyo (Japan), Pattaya (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia) and Taipei.
Group travellers have shifted their searches to countryside destinations of Hualien, Yilan, Nantou, Taitung and Kenting for travel in the remaining of 2020. This a noticeable departure from beach destinations like Batangas (Philippines), Pattaya, Okinawa Island (Japan) that featured as the top three searches last year.
For solo travellers Tokyo, Bangkok and Taipei hold their spots as the top searched cities in both 2019 and 2020, with Hualian at #7, Jeju Island #8, and Okinawa island making a debut this year at #9. However, Singapore, Bali and London that were solo travellers’ most searched destinations in 2019 are missing from this year’s wish list.
The search trend shows people, after being house bound after months of lockdown, are moving away from well-known tourist destinations to lesser-known places and opting for nature and beaches instead of cities.
“While Agoda’s search data has seen a shift toward domestic destinations as regulations are being eased for domestic travel, people are still dreaming about international travel adventures,” remarked Timothy Hughes, Agoda’s vice president of corporate development.
“What Agoda’s data is showing us is there is still a hunger to travel, people are enjoying exploring their own countries whether alone, with family or with friends. But most importantly, they still have hope that travel corridors will open later this year to some key markets where Covid has been more contained, and are looking out for great deals for when they do.”