97% of Asia Pacific travellers opt to go cashless when travelling

Photo by Sam Lion

Asia Pacific travellers prefer using credit, debit and prepaid cards as payment method when travelling, according to the latest findings from Visa’s latest Global Travel Intentions (GTI) study, underlining consumers’ growing reliance on digital payment methods.

The number of travellers bringing cash on their trips has also fallen by 60 percent post-pandemic, with only 31 percent of respondents bringing cash in 2023, as compared to 79 percent in 2020. Respondents cite reasons such as wide acceptance by merchants, travel security and good foreign exchange rates as drivers for overseas card usage.

“We are witnessing a significant shift in travellers’ behaviours and payment preferences post-pandemic, with many opting for safe, digital, and touch-free payment methods, ” said Danielle Jin, Head of Marketing, Asia Pacific, Visa.

“Our Global Travel Intentions study reaffirms the growing importance of digital payments in enhancing the overall travel experience, and how the travel ecosystem needs to help local businesses provide secure and contactless payment solutions that align with the preferences of today’s travellers.”

Understanding evolving travel trends and consumer preferences

According to this year’s study, which surveyed more than 15,000 travellers across Asia Pacific, travellers are displaying several notable trends and behaviours:

  1. Top destinations of choice: Japan secured the top spot among destinations that respondents travelled to the most, with 25 percent of respondents having visited the country this year, followed closely by Australia (18%) and Singapore (12%). Australia (16%), Japan (16%), and Mainland China (9%) topped the list for international business leisure, or ‘bleisure’, trips, where consumers combine leisure with business activities during their span of travel.
  2. Rising trip expenses:  Travellers are also spending more in 2023, with an average of $2,525 per trip – a significant jump from $1,708 in 2020.
  3. Motivations for travel: In addition, the survey highlighted that the main motivations for travel are relaxation (39%), followed by the desire to explore and learn something new (14%) and visiting family and friends (13%). Other motivators include shopping (8%) and going on an adventure (8%).
  4. Sustainability takes centerstage: 63 percent of respondents indicated an interest in sustainable travel, citing choosing sustainable accommodation, utilising energy efficient modes of transport and avoiding use of single-use plastics during their trips as ways to travel sustainably.
  5. Inspiration for future trips: When planning future trips, travellers draw inspiration from various sources, with advertising (49%) and word of mouth (48%) leading the way. Promotions (41%), social media (39%), and travel content (37%) are also significant triggers when picking a destination and choosing activities.