Jakarta. For most Indonesians, mudik, or the annual homecoming at the end of the fasting month, is perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited events on the calendar.
A major exodus from big cities to small towns and villages generally takes place during the final days of Ramadan, which results in airplanes, buses and trains usually filled to capacity with passengers. It seems that everyone insists on being with their loved ones during these important holidays.
Traveloka, a leading travel and lifestyle booking platform, recently conducted a survey on their customers to understand their behavior during this major homecoming season.
"Traveloka recognizes the importance of this yearly occasion and commits to provide our customers with easy access to various travel and lifestyle products," Traveloka public relations director Sufintri Rahayu said at a press conference in Jakarta on May 30.
"And with regards to the holy month of Ramadan and the Idul Fitri holidays, we've conducted a survey involving 1,311 respondents to understand our customers' behavior during this time," she added.
The respondents are Indonesian men and women between 20 and 45 years of age and living in the country's major cities.
"Seven out of every 10 people that we surveyed said they would go home for Idul Fitri this year," Traveloka public relations manager Busyra Oryza said.
Surabaya in East Java, Medan in North Sumatra and Makassar in South Sulawesi are among the top mudik destinations this year.
Around 60 percent of respondents said they would travel by air, while approximately 26 percent indicated that they would use their own cars or motorcycles. Twelve percent said they would travel to their hometowns by train, while only 2 percent would travel by bus.
More than half of respondents said they would be traveling with immediate family, while 24 percent would travel alone. About 8 percent said they would travel with their spouses and only 4 percent would go with friends.
"Only 2 percent of respondents said that they would go home with members of their extended family, so that their groups would consist of around 10 people," Busyra said.
Most respondents, or 86 percent, said they go to their hometowns mainly to see old friends and spend time with family members.
In addition, 45 percent said that they would visit tourist attractions in their hometowns, with 24 percent planning to stay in hotels while there and 19 percent indicating that they would visit local malls.
And what about those who do not plan to travel to their hometowns this year?
Slightly more than half of the respondents said they plan to visit friends and relatives living in the city, while slightly less than half said they planned to visit tourist attractions in the city. Around 32 percent said they would visit malls, while 22 percent indicated that they planned staycations in one of the hotels in the city.
"For staycations, most respondents prefer three-, or four-star boutique hotels," the public relations manager said.
The company also introduced new features on its smartphone application during the press conference, with one of them known as "Connecting Trains."
"This new feature is especially useful for those who want to travel by train, but have not been able to make a reservation," Busyra said.
The new feature allows customers to still travel to their destinations by train, as long as they are willing to take a longer route.
Those who want to travel from Jakarta to Yogyakarta for example, can first travel to Cirebon, West Java, before continuing their journey to Yogyakarta.
Another important new feature in the app is "Car Rental," which is now available in 10 of the country's biggest cities. This feature allows customers to rent cars for a minimum of 12 hours.
"Currently, we have about 500 car rental companies on our list," said Sufintri, the public relations director.
The highest number of car rental bookings on the app are from Jakarta, Bandung in West Java and Bali.
Another new feature introduced at the press conference is "Eats," a directory of cafés and restaurants.
"So far, our app lists more than 8,000 cafés and restaurants in seven big cities in Indonesia," Sufintri said.
"The directory will also be useful to people who want to dine out in their hometowns," Busyra added.
The new feature also allows customers to find interesting offers and discount vouchers for various cafés and restaurants.
Most Traveloka customers have so far opted for restaurants offering Indonesian cuisine since the launch of this feature earlier this month.