Wanderlust is alive and well, despite cost and inflation pressures: Study

The findings revealed that, despite the economic slowdown, geopolitical tensions and uncertainties, people continue to yearn for travel because it was now a part of their lives.

Nongluck Ajanapanya

Nongluck Ajanapanya

The Nation


Findings revealed that people continue to yearn for travel because it was now a part of their lives. PHOTO: THE NATION

November 13, 2023

BANGKOK – The results of the study were made public on Thursday during a forum titled “Cost of Living VS Cutting Edge Travel: How Travel will Transport People Out of Autopilot”, which aimed to summarise the overall outlook for travel in 2023 and present some upcoming trends in 2024.

The findings revealed that, despite the economic slowdown, high inflation, high costs, geopolitical tensions and uncertainties, people continue to yearn for travel because it was now a part of their lives.

Michelle Gao, regional manager for Booking.com’s Mekong region, said that travel used to be a way to escape life, but now it is a way to live, with 78% of global travellers reporting that they feel more alive than ever when they are on vacation.

She added that Thais have a higher rate, at 89%, and 88% of them believe they are their best selves while on vacation.

According to the Travel Confidence Index 2023, 71% of Thai respondents plan to travel in the next 12 months, but 57% are concerned about financial and health risks while travelling.

Gao explained that the findings showed Thai travellers were more prudent and creative with their spending. For example, instead of paying for a one-night stay in a five-star luxury hotel, Thais may consider purchasing a day pass for spa or relaxing activities at that hotel, which is less expensive but still provides the luxury they require.

Cost concerns are making Thai travellers more practical and flexible.

They prefer to stay close to home while prioritising convenience, efficiency, and conserving time and resources, the study said.

Besides, more Thais, particularly the younger generation, are seeking assistance from technologies and innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) to plan well-organised trips for memorable experiences.

The forum predicted potential travel trends for next year.

According to Booking.com’s “Travel Predictions 2024”, seven traveller groups shape and define their destinations, activities, and spending.
They are:

  1. Culinary excavators: On vacation, the food archaeologists of 2024 will delve deep into the roots of food in order to unearth new culinary treasures.
  2. Cool-cationers: Sweltering conditions and heat wave around the world are fuelling an increase in travellers seeking cooler climes to rejuvenate and refresh themselves.
  3. Surrender seekers: On vacation, travellers increasingly want to surrender to the element of surprise, explore the unknown, and venture into uncharted territory.
  4. Mindful aesthetes: The concept of sustainable and stylish travel combines design and mindfulness to reshape the way people explore, allowing conscious choices to become a way of life rather than just a brief escape.
  5. Reboot retreaters: Dishevelled travellers are booking one-track trips rooted in self-improvement to get back to the life they truly desire when things at home are falling apart due to global instability and an ever-changing world.
  6. (Alter) ego enthusiasts: Creating epic alter egos on vacation will make travellers feel more alive as well as being able to shed inhibitions and embrace new aspects of their personalities.
  7. A La Carte “affluencers”: Fuelled by the cost of living crisis as well as the mainstream stealth wealth trends of 2023, travellers in 2024 will use money-saving hacks to cut costs while levelling up vacations with “à la carte” luxuries, getting a rush from travelling like the rich.

Gao pointed out that Booking.com had commissioned research among travellers worldwide, which it combined with its own insights to discover what travellers were thinking and prioritising for next year’s travel.

In addition, she insisted that as one of the world’s leading travel platforms, Booking.com’s job is to make it easier for everyone to find their unique travel bliss in a more personalised and connected way.

“We are committed to empowering extraordinary experiences that resonate with the heartbeats of travellers around the world in 2024 and beyond,” she said, promising platform users rapid customised services powered by innovative technologies such as generative AI.

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