Kuala Lumpur has been deemed as one of the top 50 destinations for 2020, joining the likes of popular tourist cities such as Tokyo, Bangkok, Paris, and Los Angeles as destinations with the most guest arrivals booked for the year on Airbnb.
Nearly two months into the new decade, more travel trends are emerging as well. From the rise of immersive trekking adventures to vegan-friendly food Experiences, travellers are seeking more unique, transformative and unforgettable experiences that they are willing to pay for.
Coming of age generations are already expanding their purchasing power. In both Malaysia as well as the Asia Pacific region, Generation Z guests (aged 24 and below) comprise the fastest-growing guest segment for Airbnb Experiences, with guest bookings in the region growing more than 3x year-over-year1.
But no matter how deep the pockets or wide the age gap, here are four travel trends that have risen to the top and look set to stay this year.
Nature Calls: 2020 is the year of adventure travel, with trekking-based experiences trending 1,795% in bookings
The yearning to get out of comfort zones and into the wilderness is bringing out the nature lover in travellers this year, with more travellers planning to take adventurous, outdoorsy trips.
Bookings for Nature Experiences are up 103% YoY and is the top trending category globally among Gen Z (190%) and baby boomers (177%). Animal Experiences and Hiking Experiences are seeing significant growth as well, with 141% and 128% increase in bookings respectively.
More guests are booking unique listings that give them the opportunity to reconnect with Mother Nature, making Balian Treehouse in Bali, Indonesia, and Saabay Home Thai in The City in Chiang Rai, Thailand among the most wish-listed listings.
In the Asia Pacific, adventure travel with Airbnb is on the rise:
Embark on a 1.5-hour nature walking from the Penang National Park office to Kerachut Beach, where you can spend time away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Guests are also flocking to Indonesia, which offers the most natural and adventure-related Experiences. Ubud is home to the most nature, volcano and hiking Airbnb Experiences worldwide, where guests can explore rice paddies with local farmer Guru and camp overnight in the jungle with travel journalist Nalom. Denpasar’s soft sandy beaches and gentle waves make it a perfect spot for the most surfing Experiences worldwide.
Time travel is “En Vogue”
As travellers explore new places in 2020, stepping into the shoes of locals from long ago is a favourite way to get to know a destination – and hosts are noticing. History Experiences have increased 271% in supply in the last year3; and bookings are up 116 percent globally in 2020, with especially strong interest among Gen Z (up 176%) and millennials (up 118%).4
Guests’ curiosity is not just piqued by learning about the past, but living in it, too. Homes on Airbnb featuring historic keywords in their titles (i.e. historic, era, WWI, etc.) have already been booked over 50,000 times this year!5
Malaysia is a country that filled with an abundance of historical pasts which makes it become a top priority on everyone’s next globetrotting adventure. From Chinatown to the Central Market to Little India and the Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur infofun walking tour provides a firsthand look at temples and historical buildings.
Getting Off the Grid: Disconnect to reconnect
Rekindling connections with oneself is big in 2020 with many travellers slowing down and centering their minds and spirits while travelling. In fact, a considerable amount like to do it solo — single guest bookings are up 79% this year on Airbnb6.
Hiking has become increasingly popular as a weekend or holiday activity, especially amongst travellers keen to seek reprieve from hectic city life and keep one’s fitness goals on track, all while spending quality time with friends and loved ones. In fact, Sports Experiences now rank as one of Airbnb’s top five Experience categories booked by travellers around the world, as bookings jumped 380% from last year.
Here are the top Experiences around Malaysia that will help you unwind and recenter for the year ahead:
Penang, Malaysia: Hike in the jungle around Kerachut Beach
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Hidden Gems of Kuala Lumpur
Air Itam, Malaysia: Scenic City View Night Hike
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Native Life and Waterfall Adventure
Conscious Dining: Vegan experiences Up 579%, baking up 155%
As the world becomes more conscious about its dietary habits, food Experiences are becoming more plant-based, with Experiences offering vegan options up 579 percent in 2019 compared to 2018.3
With the launch of Cooking Experiences last year, guests are also gravitating towards learning to make their own carb delicacies, with Experience including baking (up 155%), dumpling making (up 124%) and pasta (up 88%) surging in bookings this year.
Overall, it’s no doubt food remains one of the biggest motivations in travel and connecting people to new places — Food and Drink Experiences remain the most booked category by foreign travellers to a new country.