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Suites and Souvenirs: Asia Pacific Leading Worldwide Increase in Travel Spending

November 6, 2015 Statistics & Trends No Comments Print Print Email Email

Travellers from Asia Pacific are leading the world in intended future travel spend, reporting the sharpest rise in anticipated travel budgets for their next international leisure holiday (71 percent), followed by the Americas (66 percent) and Europe (56 percent), according to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 20151 (“Study”)

Intended spend for next leisure travel versus previous trip (US$)


Within the Asia Pacific region, respondents from Malaysia (118 percent) report the highest increase in intended spending for their next trip, followed by Hong Kong and South Korea (both 94 percent).



When asked about their travel budget behavior, half of all respondents (54 percent) in the Study said they start planning for their international trips with a fixed travel budget in mind, but seven in ten (71 percent) say they do not mind paying extra during a trip if they come across interesting or unique activities.

Vivian Pan, senior director of cross-border and channel marketing, Visa Asia Pacific, said, “Asia Pacific travellers are driving the global travel spend and we expect this trend to continue. Asia Pacific is an extremely well-connected region, and it will benefit from much of the increased spend from within the region. The intention to increase spend certainly shows a desire to have new experiences and unique activities while abroad.”

Leftover cash Based on their last international leisure trip, global travellers surveyed took an average of US$1,000 with them in cash while on holiday. Asia Pacific travellers carried an average of US$1,081, putting them behind travellers from Africa & Middle East who carried US$2,000. Travellers from the Americas carried US$936 while those from Europe took just US$566. Globally, men (US$1,129) tend to carry more cash than women (US$893) on international leisure trips.

However, the tendency to carry cash while traveling abroad for leisure, along with the willingness to spend extra for unplanned shopping or activities, means that travellers are often carrying unnecessary ‘contingency’ cash for unexpected purchases, which can be difficult to track. Visa research shows travellers have on average, US$130 in leftover cash after their trip, which represents 13 percent of the total amount of cash they took with 3 them. According to the Study, Asia Pacific travellers bring back the most leftover cash – US$153 – which represents 14 percent of the cash they took with them.

Souvenirs and travel mementos

Purchasing souvenirs for friends and colleagues completes the travel experience for most global leisure travellers. According to the Study, in addition to the travel ‘big ticket’ items such as air fare, local transport and accommodation, local apparel (37 percent), local nibbles (37 percent) and local handicrafts (34 percent) are the most common purchases for global travellers.

Travellers from Asia Pacific tend to load their luggage with local food specialties (46 percent), while those from the Americas and Africa & the Middle East (45 percent each) are most likely to bring home local apparel. Travellers from Europe, however, have a penchant for purchasing refrigerator magnet keepsakes (31 percent) as souvenirs.

Top 3 souvenirs purchased


While women tended to buy slightly more souvenirs, there was no difference between men and women in the top three souvenirs they bought, namely local food specialties, local apparel and local arts and crafts.

While many travellers budget for their intended international leisure holidays in advance, unexpected or unplanned travel expenses, such as souvenir shopping, is often left out of the budget equation. For travellers looking to avoid the loss of cash and the increased cost of having to convert their foreign-held cash to the local currency, travellers can use debit cards while traveling abroad to minimise hidden fees and better track expenses. In this way, an itemised list of transactions is available to reference, either during their stay electronically, or through monthly printed bank statements.

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