WITH the Covid pandemic showing no sign of abating as we entered a new year, and while waiting the mass rollout of vaccines and travel to resume many people have different priorities in 2021spend more quality time with loved ones and make a difference.  

This is revealed by Agoda in its ‘What Matters 2021’ online global survey with 16,000+ adults. The digital travel platform found that one in three people look forward to spending more quality time with loved ones this year, followed by being able to travel unhindered (24%) and doing things that matter or make a difference (21%).

Respondents aged 55 and above are the keenest to travelling unhindered, while those between ages 25-54 are keen to spend quality time with family and friends, and youths (18-24) are eager about making a difference in 2021.

Findings also showed that globally people want to travel differently in the new year with vacationing with friends and family, taking more spontaneous trips and making more eco-friendly travel choices as the top three priorities.

“2020 was a year of survival and of making the best of it. Despite all that struggle and hardship, our research shows that there’s a global desire for travel, connection, meaning and spending time with friends and family. Travel will resume eventually, because, ultimately, the human desire to travel is unstoppable,” commented Timothy Hughes, vice president of corporate development at Agoda, on the survey.

“At Agoda, we believe in the future of travel. Our research backs this up, confirming that travel is one of the top things people look forward to in 2021. More than that – people are committed to making a difference, travelling with people who matter, open to more unplanned, last-minute trips and considering the environmental impact they make as they travel.”

“Our research shows that there’s a global desire for travel, connection, meaning and spending time with friends and family,” says Timothy Hughes. (Image credit: Agoda)
Here is an overview of the global survey.

Top things people most look forward to in 2021:

  • Spending more quality time with loved ones as expressed by most of the respondents from Thailand  the Philippines, Malaysia, China, tjhe UK and the US
  • Able to travel unhindered is what Singaporeans, South Koreans and Japanese want.
  • Doing things that matter or make a difference is the wish of Indonesians, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese.  
  • Getting closer to nature and the great outdoors is second on the wish list for the Thais and third for the Japanese.
  • Going back to the workplace in 2021 is not among the priorities of most of those surveyed. Only 1.2% of respondents from China said they are done with remote working, followed by Japan (1.5%) and the UK (2%). Those who look forward to return to office include the Filipinos (9%), Vietnamese (7%) and Indonesians (7%).
  • Attending live, sporting or large-scale events is second least popular on the list of respondents, but those from the US (8%), the UK (8%) and Japan (7%) are more likely to look forward to that.

According to the findings, respondents aged 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 want to spend more quality time with loved ones while the 18-24 age group prefers to do things that matter. Those 55 and above look forward to “being able to travel unhindered” with getting closer to nature and the great outdoors as the third most popular thing to do on their list.

Top travel commitments

  • Traveling more with loved ones is the top thing to do in all markets with the exception of Taiwan and the UK where respondents are embracing adventure and taking more spontaneous trips.
  • Discovering the world at a slower pace is what the Japanese, Singaporeans and Malaysians want to do in 2021.
  • The Vietnamese, South Koreans, Filipinos, Thais and Indonesians are more likely to travel sustainably, with making more eco-friendly travel choices comes in second for these markets.
  • Indonesians (16%), Thais (14%) and Japanese (13%) express the wish to consciously support less touristy destinations.

Travelling more with loved ones is the top 2021 commitment across all age groups. Respondents aged 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 will go for more eco-friendly travel choices, which is their second top commitment for the new year. Those aged 55 and above prefer to travel at a slower pace (second choice). Spontaneous trips is the third most popular activity across all age groups (24-34, 35-44, 55+) except for those between ages 18-24 who makes it second among their commitments) and fourth for the 45-54 age group.

Market breakdown: What matters to people in Asia and Asean in 2021

China

  • Like the global trend, more than one in four are looking forward to spending quality time with loved ones (26%) followed by travelling unhindered (24%) and doing things that matter (23%).
  • With the exception of age groups 18-24 and 55+, the Chinese are most looking forward to quality time with loved ones. Those between 18-24 prefer to do things that make a difference, while those 55 and above choose to be close to nature.
  • Chinese respondents are committed to travelling more with family and friends (39%), taking more spontaneous trips (21%) and traveling at a slower pace (18%).

Japan

  • Desire to travel remains strong among the Japanese. Being able to travel unhindered (37%) is what most Japanese are looking forward, followed by spending more quality time with loved ones (33%) and getting closer to nature and the great outdoors (8%).
  • While those 45 and above are more inclined to look forward to traveling unhindered, Japanese aged 18-24, 25-34, 35-44 look forward to spending quality time with loved ones.
  • Traveling at a slower pace is the top travel commitment among Japanese respondents, followed by travelling more with friends/family and taking more spontaneous trips.
  • Travelling more with friends/family tops the list for respondents aged 18-24, but going at a slower pace is top choice across the rest of the age groups.

South Korea

  • Travel remains important for the South Koreans. More are looking forward to being able to travel unhindered (40%), followed by spending more quality time with loved ones (27%), and doing things that matter/make a difference (13%).
  • They plan to travel more with friends and family (39%), make more eco-friendly travel choices (25%), and travel at a slower pace (13%).

Taiwan

  • Taiwanese look forward to doing things that matter or make a difference (29%), being able to travel unhindered (24%), and spending more quality time with loved ones (22%) for 2021.
  • Those in age groups 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 want to make a difference in 2021, while traveling unhindered is top for those aged 45-54 and 55+.
  • Taiwanese respondents also plan to enjoy traveling differently, by taking more spontaneous trips (26%), traveling more with friends/family (25%) and traveling at a slower pace (20%).
  • Taking more spontaneous trips is the top travel commitment for Taiwanese aged 18-34, while slow travel and traveling with their loved ones are the top commitments for those in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups respectively. Respondents 55 and above prefer spontaneous trips and traveling more with friends/family.

Singapore

  • Singaporeans show strong desire to travel, with being able to travel unhindered (41%) what they are looking forward to the most. Spending more quality time with loved ones (25%) and doing things that matter/make a difference (16%) are second and third respectively.
  • Once travel resumes they are likely to explore destinations with friends/family (34%), travel at a slower pace (29%) and make more eco-friendly travel choices (11%).

Malaysia

  • Aligning with global trends Malaysians are looking to spend more quality time with loved ones (26%), doing things that matter/make a difference (25%) and travelling unhindered (23%).
  • Younger Malaysians (18-24) prioritise doing things that make a difference, while the 25-44 prefer to spend time with their loved ones. Those in age groups 45-54 and 55+ are experiencing wanderlust and look forward to travel unhindered.
  • 37% want to travel more with friends/family, which corresponds with the desire to spending time with loved ones, followed holidaying at a slower pace (25%) and making more eco-friendly travel choices (15%).

Thailand

  • 38% of the Thais surveyed are looking forward to spending more quality time with loved ones. They are also keen to be out and about, getting closer to nature and the great outdoors (22%) and doing things that matter or make a difference (17%).
  • 43% want to travel more with friends and family while 22% commit to making more eco-friendly travel choices, and 14% want to consciously support less touristy destinations.

Indonesia

  • Almost one in two Indonesians intend to do things that matter or make a difference (46%). Spending quality time with loved one is the intent of 21% of the respondents, and 13% look forward to travel unhindered.
  • Across all age groups, except for those 55 and above, Indonesians wish to make a difference. The 55+ age group are most likely to spend more quality time with loved ones.
  • The top three travel commitments are travelling more with friends or family (40%), making more eco-friendly travel choices (22%) and consciously supporting less touristy destinations (16%).

The Philippines

  • Align with the global trends the Flipinos list spending more quality time with loved ones as top priority (27%) followed by doing things that matter/make a difference (23%) and being able to travel unhindered (22%).
  • With the exception of those between aged 45-54 Pinoys are prioritising quality time with friends and family, while the 45-54 desire to travel unhindered.
  • Close to half the respondents (42%) are likely to commit to travel more with friends/family. 23% of respondents says they will make more eco-friendly travel choices, with 13% taking more spontaneous trips in 2021.

Vietnam

  • 25% of the Vietnamese respondents says they look forward to making a difference in the things they do, 23% want to be able to travel unhindered while another 23% prefer to spend quality time with loved ones (23%).
  • Those aged 18-24 and 35-44 want to make a difference, while the 25-34 look forward to quality time with their loved ones and those aged 45-54 and 55+ prefer to travel unhindered.
  • About 33% of respondents says they are likely to travel with friends/family, with 27%  making eco-friendly travel choices and 14% taking more spontaneous trips. in
  • Travelling with loved ones is the top commitment for respondents 18-24, 25-34, 35-44 age groups, while making eco-friendly travel choices is the most popular choice for the 44-54 and 55+.

Featured image credit: CandyRetriever/Getty Images