Outbound travel recovery bodes well for future travel insurance sales

Pre-Covid, the Malaysian outbound travel market was enjoying significant growth, with outbound departures exceeding 13 million, and expenditure of those travellers also increasing. The average number of nights spent on holiday was 9.9, and the average spend per person on a trip (to Europe) was US$1,500. According to research from ETC Corporate, the top European destinations Malaysians were most likely to visit were, in order, Switzerland, the UK, France, Italy and Austria – none of them cheap for healthcare, and all require minimum amounts of health cover from visitors outside the Schengen Area.

Most important for insurers, though, is the information about how these travellers were researching and booking their holidays online. partnering with these outlets can give insurers new opportunities to engage with potential customers during the buying process. The top-five online information sources used were:

64% social media

53% travel review sites

39% search engines

35% travel booking and comparison websites

26% travel agent/tour operator websites.

A researcher for Statista, commented in the report that, Covid notwithstanding, economic challenges are not a barrier to travelling for Malaysians: “Malaysians might be complaining about the increasing prices of everyday goods; however, they were loath to sacrifice their holidays.

While the economic situation was not preventing Malaysians from travelling, it was affecting the types of trips that were made, with regional destinations preferred over long-haul trips. Neighboring Indonesia had always been a well-loved destination for Malaysians, with Malaysian tourists contributing an average of US$720 per visit in 2016, which is considerably higher than what their Singaporean counterparts spent.”

She continued: “In recent years, North Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea have increasingly gained popularity amongst Malaysian travellers. With South Korean culture, particularly K-Pop, enjoying huge success in Malaysia, an increasing number of Malaysians have made South Korea their holiday destination of choice. South Korea’s recognition of the booming halal tourism market had also made it easier for Malaysians, a significant majority of whom are Muslims, to travel there.”

As Asia opens back up to travel again, awareness of travel insurance and its benefits is going to continue its upward trajectory, and there will be opportunities for affinity deals and distribution partnerships in more countries. With the Malaysian population keen to travel again, industry players are confident that there is plenty of scope for growth in the future.