Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan are the top searched destinations for travel until the year-end according to search data revealed by Agoda.com. As the COVID-19 situation improves in many countries and social restrictions are being lifted, the travel itch that has been subdued for months now grows even stronger. Travellers are dreaming again of distance shores, as well as the option to explore their domestic travel scene.
Taiwan tops the travel escape searches list among all different traveller groups from couples to solo travellers, family or groups, beating last year’s champ, Thailand, which is knocked into the second most popular searched destination ahead of Japan, Vietnam, South Korea in the top five.
The United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia complete the top ten. Agoda’s search data shows distinctions between destinations searched by type of traveller, with Japan and Thailand taking second and third spots of solo travellers, while more family travellers are searching for travel deals in Thailand, ahead of Vietnam. For group travellers, Vietnam vies for the second spot ahead of Thailand for those traveling and also group travel has a more diverse range of destinations including the Philippines and Israel, which don’t feature in the top ten for all travellers.
While in 2019, there was a clear mix of international search destinations across the Asia Pacific, now with fewer markets for international travellers open, Taiwan is receiving the bulk of searches by Agoda domestic and international travellers. It 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.
In the most searched cities category, Hualien, Yilan, and Taipei are the most popular destinations searched for stays in the latter part of 2020, with Hualien and Yilan appearing as newcomers in this year’s top 10. Bangkok and Tokyo, the top two most searched destinations during 2019, fell to seventh and ninth spot respectively, while Taipei (#3) holds the same position as last year.
Hualian, with its port city and stretches of coastal beaches and walks, is the most popular destination for all categories of traveller, except for solo travellers who opt for Tokyo. Yilan – known for its great natural landscape, Cold Spring, and local delicacies – holds the second-highest appeal to group and family travellers. Other cities with abundant nature that are being considered by family travellers are the coastal city of Taitung, and Nantou, where travellers can escape to the serenity of the Sun Moon lake. The couples are eyeing Taipei, while solo travellers, who prefer big cities that offer plenty of cultures and a vibrant nightlife, are dreaming of Tokyo and Bangkok.
For couples, this year’s destination wish list is lead by Hualian, Taipei, Bangkok, followed by Yilan, and Jeju Island, a shift in gears from last year’s couple searches which lead with Bangkok, Tokyo, Pattaya, Bali, Taipei. Families too are searching for alternative off the beaten path and less crowded destinations this year compared to 2019’s Tokyo, Bangkok, and Okinawa Island hot spots. Instead, this year’s wish lists are led by Taiwanese destinations Hualien (#1), Taipei (#2), and Yilan (#4) in the top five, with Bangkok (3#) and Jeju Island (#5) also taking a spot.
Group travellers have shifted their searches to countryside destinations of Hualian, Yilan, Nantou, Taitung, and Kenting for travel in the remaining of 2020, a shift from beach destinations like Batangas (Philippines), Pattaya (Thailand), Okinawa Main Island (Japan), that featured as the top three searches in 2019.
Interestingly, for solo travellers, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Taipei firmly hold their spots and emerge as the top searched cities in both 2019 and 2020, with Hualian (#7), Jeju Island (#8), and Okinawa Main island (#9) making a debut this year. Singapore, Bali, and London, which were solo travellers’ most searched destinations in 2019, are missing from this year’s wish lists.
After spending some time with travel restrictions in place, travellers are shifting their travel searches away from well-known tourist destinations to lesser-known places and moving towards nature and beaches instead of city breaks.
“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. 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,” said Tim Hughes, vice president of corporate development, Agoda.