PETALING JAYA: With international travel not happening anytime soon, many Malaysians are using their overseas travel budget to support local tourism and travel within the country, but they aren’t just simply spending their ringgit away.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having hurt so many industries and tightened the purse strings of millions of Malaysians, many are seeing the importance of saving and investing.

Country manager Senthuran Mohan used to travel abroad frequently both for work and leisure, but this year has taught him to be more careful in spending his resources.

“Personally, I’ve spent more on domestic travel. I never used to travel luxuriously on my overseas trips, but now when I travel locally I stay in luxury destinations. That is perhaps compensation for not travelling abroad, and plus I get to support the local businesses,” he told theSun.

Senthuran has also used his money to invest in stocks and properties, but he is ready to travel abroad once international borders are open again.

For public relations executive Abby Naomi, travel restrictions mean she gets to enjoy what Malaysia has to offer, having hardly travelled within the country before.

“I have always travelled overseas since I was a kid, and after that when I went abroad to study. But now I have started travelling interstate more as I think it’s essential for us to do so as Malaysians. It’s more affordable and we have so many places to experience,” she said.

Like Senthuran, Abby is also ready to travel abroad when it is safe. Until then, she is stashing away her savings for her upcoming nuptials.

For brand manager Allan Netto, not being able to travel abroad meant he got to channel his funds towards his vintage car collection.

“I am a vintage car enthusiast and I feel spending on my Volvo 122 Amazon is an investment. Now that I can’t travel much, this is an ideal way to spend the funds I had intended for overseas travel,” he said.

Having had three holiday plans to Indonesia and Thailand wrecked this year, Netto intends to continue spending on his vintage car collection and perhaps take one local trip for Christmas.

Malaysians are known for their love for travel.

In 2016, an estimated 11.9 million outbound trips were made by Malaysians, a figure projected to increase to 14.2 million in 2021.

While that figure will significantly change due to unforeseen circumstances, Malaysians will continue to travel overseas when they have the chance again.