So why do we travel?

Thailand February 23, 2019 01:00

By The Nation

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A well-known reservation website looks into our motivations for heading off to parts unknown



SEVENTY EIGHT percent of Thai travellers say their motivation to travel is to “go to places my friends have not been” when they were asked about travel motivation, according to new research conducted by Booking.com. 

The survey also reveals how nationality is likely to impact travel style. For most nationalities, the top motivation to travel is straightforward: to get some downtime. Thais are no exception, with 89 per cent of Thai travellers saying that “giving myself time to relax” is one of the reasons why they go on holiday. This makes it the top travel motivation to all nationalities with the exception of the Danish and the French, who cite “being free to act how I feel” as their top motivation to travel.

However, when comparing top travel motivations between nationalities, it is clear that travellers from different corners of the world have different preferences. Thais seem most easily tempted by nostalgia (77 per cent of Thai travellers want to “rediscover past good times”), Chinese and Taiwanese travellers attach relatively high importance to “experiencing a simpler lifestyle (respectively 83 per cent and 76 per cent) and Japanese, German and Hong Kong travellers simply want to “get away from the demands at home”.

Finally, for some travellers, travel is a question of social status: particularly among Indonesians (75 percent), Indians (75 percent), Thais (78 percent), and Filipinos. 

Most global disagreement is on the subject of adventure tourism. Russian travellers say they like to spend their off-time “finding thrills and excitement”, while Dutch and German travellers rate this on average the lowest. 

For Thai travellers, the top five motivations are “give myself time to relax”, “taking time to mentally unwind”, “being free to act how I feel”, “being physically active”, and “experiences I couldn’t have at home”. 

Destinations also vary according to nationality. Most global travellers select destinations based on categories such as “personal safety” and “cleanliness”, but there are plenty of nationalities that prioritise “natural beauty” or “tasty local food”. Top five factors Thai travellers take into considerations when choosing a destination are “personal safety”, “clean”, “tasty local food/cuisine”, “outstanding natural scenery”, and “an exotic atmosphere”.

Travel behaviour is also heavily influenced by what is easy to reach. This may be why Indian travellers make up the majority of Bhutan bookers, Argentinean travellers are the most seen customers in Paraguay and the South Koreans are the biggest fans of Guam. If you look at the countries that Thais travel to relatively often, it is clear that they know how to appreciate their country and the neighbours. The 10 of the most favoured destinations for Thai travellers in 2018 are Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Japan, Macao, Vietnam and Maldives.

The research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 countries from the US, the UK, Spain and France to Australia, India and South Korea. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place between October 16 to November 12, 2018.