The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, Selangor. (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

KUALA LUMPUR (April 26): Malaysia and Indonesia are leading the recovery of domestic travel demand in Southeast Asia, reaching a 100% growth in March compared to the same level in 2019, while countries such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are quickly following the lead.

Google Asia-Pacific travel lead Hermione Joye said staycations and travelling to meet loved ones had driven travel growth in the region, thanks to the dropping of travel restriction orders, reopening of borders, as well as the easing of quarantine and testing restrictions.

“Recovery has started to take place across the region …. Southeast Asian governments are starting to get much more comfortable with the idea of people travelling and the need to travel, and what we are seeing, as a result, is that demand is picking up,” she said during a virtual media roundtable on the revival of travel in the region.

As for international demand, Joye said fast rebounds were recorded for the Philippines and Indonesia, while Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are making a moderate recovery.

She said inbound travel into Malaysia from March 27 until April 2 grew by 83% compared to the same period in 2019, while outbound travel increased substantially by 90% during the same period.

On the broader market, she said Google internal data showed that 40% share of inbound tourism from the US and Canada went to the Philippines and Vietnam, 40% share of inbound from Europe were into Indonesia and Thailand, while 38% share of inbound from the Middle East was to the Philippines.

Malaysia and Singapore accounted for 75% of inbound share from intra-region, she added.

Bali was the fastest-growing market in March 2022, not only attracting tourists from the region but globally, while Bangkok ranked seventh, according to Joye.

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