S’pore is the Most ‘Vacation-Deprived’ Country in the World; 71% of Us Are Wanderlusters

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Do you remember once upon a time, when the twelfth month came round the corner and we filled our suitcases with long overcoats and jumpers in preparation to trek the chilly streets of Japan? Packed large shopping bags to smuggle over unlawful amounts of clothing from Bangkok, albums from Korea, or perhaps designer goods from the retail heaven of Champs-Élysées? 

If you can’t seem to remember this feeling anymore, and your passport has been collecting dust in some godforsaken corner of your drawer, you’re certainly not alone. 

A recent global study conducted by Expedia has revealed that Singaporeans are the ones who feel the gaping loss of being unable to travel most strongly.

Seeing as Singaporeans rushed enthusiastically to splurge their SingapoRediscovers vouchers on staycations and hotels to simulate a customary year-end vacation, this doesn’t really come as a surprise.

Let’s take a closer look at the findings. 

S’pore is the Most ‘Vacation-Deprived’ Country in the World; 71% of Us Are Wanderlusters

The survey was conducted among 9,200 people in sixteen markets internationally, with 300 respondents in Singapore. 

This is the first time that Singapore, alongside Italy, has emerged first for Expedia’s vacation deprivation rankings. Not only do we consistently top PISA rankings, are ranked the most livable city in the world for East Asian expatriates, now we’re also the most desperate to leave the country, at least for a little bit. 

71% of those who had been surveyed in both Singapore and Italy stated that they felt “very” or “somewhat” deprived of vacation. South Korea and France came in a close second at 70%, and Malaysia came in third at 68%. 

Out of the range of age groups surveyed, it was found that millennials and Gen Z (those aged 18-34) were the most hungry for travel, with 85% of them relating to vacation deprivation.

Additionally, location seems to play a part too. Those living in the east of Singapore were found to be more vacation deprived (77%) than those living in the west (69%). Hmm, seems like living near Changi Airport really does fuel one’s sense of wanderlust. 

According to Lavinia Rajaram, APAC Head of Communications for the Expedia Brand, “Singaporeans are some of the most avid travellers in the region, and when we consider the lack of options for inter-city travel within the country, it is of little surprise that they are the most vacation deprived people globally this year. But they have adapted well while embracing the nationalistic spirit of rediscovering Singapore while supporting local tourism through staycations and local activities.” 

Of course, it comes as no surprise that Singaporeans took fewer vacation days in the year of 2020. The study found that Singaporeans used five fewer vacation days in 2020 as compared to what they would typically take in other years. 

Naturally, because of this, Singaporeans are now extremely eager to get out their passports again. 90% of respondents have said that they now treasure vacations more than ever, while 62% are prepared to drop more money on their bucket list vacation than originally intended. 

Expedia has also found that onsite searches for global travel destinations have increased, with Singaporeans looking to travel to well-loved destinations such as Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo, among others. 

Singaporeans Among The Most Cautious Travellers In The World 

In spite of our intense desire to travel, Singaporeans are one of the most cautious travellers in the world. A mere 18% of Singaporeans have booked overseas travel for the year 2021, which falls below the global average of 21%. 

44% of Singaporean respondents have said that travel plans for the future will be contingent on the success of COVID-19 vaccines, while 39% stated that they are awaiting the second half of 2021 to travel. 


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This is in stark contrast to respondents in France, Germany, Japan and Thailand, in which less than a quarter of respondents expressed that they would wait to be vaccinated before travel. 

Singaporeans Wanting To Explore Lesser-Known Places For Travel

In the same year the virus struck, making 2019 the last year for carefree, indulgent year-end vacations, Singaporeans had expressed interest in switching from the typical capital cities favour of exploring lesser-known areas. 

According to this article by CNA, 45% of Singaporeans said that they would like to go for new activities while on holiday. 82% of respondents had planned to travel to an entirely new destination for the first time in 2019, giving examples such as Ethiopia, Yemen and Iran. 

Unfortunately for these adventurous Singaporeans, the pandemic may have shoved their plans straight into the backseat. We can only hope that COVID-19 will soon tire of its vacation, allowing us to finally have our own. 

In the meantime, the passport will remain a relic of the halcyon past for all of us. Did you know that more Singaporeans are letting their passports expire?

Featured Image: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

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