SINGAPORE (Aug 24): Travellers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are increasingly relying on search engine giant Google to discover their next holiday destination, flight accommodation options, and activities to fill their itineraries. 

According to the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary, travel-related searches grew 11% on-year with strong growth from emerging markets such as India and Vietnam, which saw 40% and 26% y-o-y growth in searches, respectively.

Singaporeans are no doubt rank among the most well-travelled in the region – and the world – with close to 9.5 million overseas trips in 2016, as reported by the Department of Statistics Singapore’s Singapore in Figures 2017.

Here’s what the latest data from Google’s updated online data tool, APAC Travel Dashboard, has unearthed about the average Singaporean traveller.

1. Short-haul flights preferred
Nine out of 10 destinations searched for by Singaporeans are located in Asia with Bangkok, Thailand, holding the number-one spot, says Google, followed by Bali, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The only exception is London, which ranks as the sixth most searched-for overseas destination. Other up-and-coming destinations that Singaporeans are searching for include Luang Prabang, Laos; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

2. ‘Staycations’ count as getaways, too
While 61% of the search engine data reflected an interest in overseas travel, a significant 39% of searches are related to local attractions in Singapore. The search query trend in Singapore for “staycations” – a term coined in reference to taking a vacation at home – has far surpassed that of Philippines and Malaysia since 2015.

Based on Google’s observations, staycations have been particularly popular in years with several long weekends. The company adds that decisions to book local hotels appear to be usually made in “a spur of the moment”, as netizens tend to only search for staycation options on the Monday immediately before a long weekend.

3. Tourists in their own backyard
Even Singaporeans are searching for venues in their own country to visit over the weekends. Top attractions based on search statistics include Gardens by the Bay, Universal Studio Singapore (USS), Singapore Zoo. This highlights the “strength of Singapore as one of the top travel destinations in APAC that appeals to both locals and tourists alike”, according to Google, which in turn emphasises the role of local audiences as an important consumer group.

“Travel continues to be a fast-growing sector across Asia-Pacific countries. We’ve seen travellers in Asia turn to Google search at various stages of their holiday planning driving a 26% increase in searches for hotels year-on-year, while searches for the air sector grew 13%,” comments Ryan Ferguson, Travel Lead for Asia-Pacific, Google, in a press release on Thursday.

See: APAC Travel Dashboard

“With the refresh of our Asia-Pacific Travel Dashboard, we hope to work with travel businesses to bring greater value and more relevant content to meet the evolving needs of discerning travellers in the region.”