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Expedia’s latest annual Vacation Deprivation study has surprisingly revealed that Hong Kong is one of the least vacation deprived amongst 16 markets surveyed globally, coming third only to Taiwan and Thailand. The decrease in vacation deprivation demonstrates Hong Kongers’ resilience despite border and travel restrictions since February 2020.

*Percentage of respondents express feeling “very vacation deprived” or “somewhat vacation deprived”

 

Pandemic Created a ‘Vacation New Normal’

Vacation Deprivation has declined over recent years in Hong Kong since a peak of 2019.  Hong Kong staycations or home-based vacations have understandably become the norm, with 40% of those surveyed saying that the last vacation they took was a hotel staycation in Hong Kong, over half (51%) saying they had some form of Hong Kong based vacation within the last 6 months and one fifth (20%) taking a vacation within a month of the survey.

The acceptance of vacation without outbound travel was emphasised by the fact that only 31% said that they had last taken any kind of vacation since before the pandemic. The majority (60%) have taken time off work in the past year but have not travelled away from home. Some 52% claimed they hadn’t needed to cancel any vacation due to COVID-19, compared to 3 in every 4 last year, while 52% of those taking a vacation in the last year now felt that there was no real change to their habit of taking a vacation or paid time-off from work during the pandemic.

 

The Great ‘Rebalance’

As part of this COVID-19 ‘rebalancing’ of perceptions of vacation without travel, is the impact on the way Hong Kongers work, live and are spending their ‘off-time’, resulting in a new balancing act for working adults. Three in four respondents (75%) expressed feeling just as rested or recharged when they use time off to stay home as they do from a vacation away from home.

Despite this acceptance of the trend however, the study also revealed the stresses involved in flexible working arrangements, with 73% of those questioned saying that flexible working had made it more difficult to be unplugged from work when on paid time-off and vacation, despite the fact almost two-thirds (64%) felt their employers was supportive of employees taking vacation time. A majority of 87% also revealed a wish that their companies would alter their time off policies during and as a result of COVID-19.

Some 13% of those surveyed also admitted to taking a ‘workcation’ in 2021, while 87% said they had used vacation days as workcation days, which was the highest among the regions surveyed in the world. Moreover, the pandemic has clearly also had an adverse effect of overall wellbeing, with 80% of men in the Hong Kong survey saying they felt burnt out in 2021 along with 79% of women surveyed.

 

An Undiminished Desire for Travel

Despite the relatively low perceptions of Vacation Deprivation, the desire for Hong Kongers to travel remains undiminished. An overwhelming 92% of survey respondents said they now valued vacations more than ever with over half (55%) claiming they would be taking at least the same number of vacations as usual and almost a quarter (23%) revealing they have already booked travel in 2022.

The latest lodging search data from Expedia.com.hk shows that overseas destinations such as London, Tokyo, Bangkok, Taipei and Singapore are amongst the most searched destinations for travel in the next few months, indicating a strong passion for outbound travel.

 

2022 Q2 Top Search Overseas Destinations

(excluding Mainland China and Macau)1

1 London
2 Tokyo
3 Bangkok
4 Taipei
5 Singapore
6 Osaka
7 Phuket
8 Paris
9 Vancouver
10 Manchester

1 Top search destination for 2022 Q2 (excluding Mainland China and Macau) based on accommodation search with stay dates between 1 April to 30 June 2022.

 

“Whilst the pandemic has changed, or at the very least slanted, our perceptions of what is a ‘vacation’ in Hong Kong and with the ‘new normal’ of ‘work from anywhere’ blurring the lines between our leisure time and time on the clock, what remain clear is that the desire to ‘travel’ remains unabated,” explained Catherine So, Managing Director, APAC, Expedia Group.

“The people of Hong Kong have shown remarkable resilience and adaptability over the last few years as they look to make the best ‘staycation vacation’ experience they can with the main feeling associated with this form of vacation being simply the relief of taking at least a break from their routine.”

“With expertise from a vast network, Expedia helps travellers get amazing travel experiences and this means, as the social distancing and travel limitations relax gradually, we must fulfil an important role in the coming months, in raising spirits, helping to discover innovative staycation experiences and ensuring great choices, services and savings they can trust when they plan their travel.”

For more information on Vacation Deprivation Study findings from around the world, check out the full 2022 Vacation Deprivation Study here.