The Jakarta Post
Indonesian leisure travelers love to bury their toes in the sand and their noses in their smartphones while away on vacation, a recent study reveals.
The Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 found that 92 percent of the Indonesians surveyed said that they stayed connected online during vacation, surpassing the global average of 71 percent.
The study ' involving 12,631 travelers from 25 countries across Asia-Pacific, Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East ' found that smartphones had become the 'top travel gadget of choice' for Indonesian travelers.
Up to 76 percent of Indonesians said they took smartphones with them on vacation, 72 percent brought cameras and 65 percent brought laptops.
The major reason for lugging all this gadgetry was for sharing photos, as 48 percent of these travelers said they shared photos online. The global average for sharing vacation photos sat at 35 percent.
Besides photo sharing, 40 percent of Indonesians ' more than twice the global average of 18 percent ' said they updated their status on social media while on vacation.
Another 31 percent of Indonesians said they found themselves engrossed in online instant messaging, far above the 18 percent global average.
PT Visa Worldwide Indonesia president director Ellyana Fuad said the study reflected the extent to which technology had seeped into people's lives.
'Technology has impacted every aspect of our lives, and the way that we plan and enjoy holidays is no different,' she said.
She added that although word-of-mouth reviews as well as guidebooks remained relevant sources of travel information, online resources had risen in prominence among travelers.
The study found that during trips, 79 percent of Indonesians used online sources of travel information, with 68 percent of them still turning to traditional ones.
'Online resources that offer reviews from frequent travelers as well as a host of other information such as currency converters, pictures, booking and discounts are becoming the first source of information for most global travelers,' Ellyana noted.
Considering the need to share updates and find information, the top three websites visited by Indonesian travelers reflected a mix of these. Facebook was the top site, with 44 percent of surveyed Indonesian travelers logging in.
Another 40 percent checked out agoda.com, an online hotel reservation site that allows users to rate
The third most popular website was Google+, with 32 percent visiting the site.
The study also found that 34 percent of Indonesians visited official tourism websites, while another 32 percent clicked onto service-provider sites to plan vacations.
However, 62 percent of Indonesians said they still preferred booking package trips through travel agents, compared to 34 percent who booked everything online.
One reason behind this was that the smartphones Indonesians use to go online have limited Internet capability.
'There is a big opportunity for local Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and tourism businesses to leverage this dominant trend and cater to the needs of travelers for reliable broadband Internet connections at tourist destinations across Indonesia,' Ellyana said.
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