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Living like a local is key to ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd’ for Asian Millennials

Mar 01, 2016

BANGKOK, Thailand - The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released a new unique consumer research report titled ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd: Where the Next Generation of Young Asian Travelers is Heading, and How to Win a Place on Their Travel Itinerary’. The report, supported by global payment technology corporation Visa Inc., is the second in a series of reports that examines the travel trends of young Asian consumers and explains how secondary destinations and attractions can benefit from the rise in outbound travel from Asian source markets.

The research comes at a time when many of the world’s most popular cities are looking to relieve pressure on crowded attractions and spread visitor spending more evenly around the destination. The findings show that young people are motivated to leave the crowds in popular cities to get out and discover the food culture and lifestyles of local people.

With neighborhoods from Bangkok to Barcelona filling up with tourists eager to tick off attractions from their ‘bucket list’ and snap a ‘selfie’ in front of iconic tourist attractions, city and regional governments around the world are keen to find ways to encourage travellers to beat the crowds and visit lesser-known districts or leave the city and discover quiet rural and coastal areas. This is not just a challenge for city authorities. Small island states such as the Republic of Palau and the Maldives have experienced unprecedented surges in international visitor arrivals in recent years and are now struggling to cater for crowds of new visitors, especially from rapidly emerging outbound markets in Asia.

Fortunately, Millennials – the young generation of travellers aged 16-35 - are proving to be tech-savvy and more independent than previous generations and can be a receptive audience for destinations looking to improve their tourist dispersal. A study for this report asked over 1,000 Millennials from 13 outbound markets around Asia about their attitude towards discovering cities when travelling abroad, and what experiences might tempt them out of the city to try something new.

Highlighted results include:

• More than a third of Asian Millennial travellers would be attracted to leave a big city and have the opportunity to see beautiful landscapes, try unique foods, visit cultural sites and experience the lifestyle of local people

• Time is of the essence: 43 percent of respondents had to stay in their city destination because they didn’t have enough time to visit elsewhere. The largest share of those who left took a 2-3 night break away from the city

• Food is fundamental: 85 percent of respondents said they love to visit a food market when in a foreign city, and 72 percent said they liked to visit a supermarket

• When on a city visit, 85 percent of respondents said they like to ‘live like a local’ and discover cool activities that local youth do

• Over 80 percent of young Asian travellers want to discover local traditions, shop in small stores, visit a local food market or attend an event when visiting a foreign city for the first time

“One of the smartest ways in which destinations can respond to the challenges of overcrowding is by encouraging tourists to disperse over a wider area and give them reasons to visit outside of peak season,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “Fortunately, Asia’s highly-connected, globally-aware youth are demonstrating their interest and ability to seek authentic experiences that take them away from the crowds, and we are delighted to present consumer research in this report that reflects this”.

The report was sponsored by global payments technology company Visa Inc., so that its contents could benefit government and business in the Asia Pacific region. “Given that we connect consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories, we take a close interest in the travel trends of Asia’s youngest consumers” explained Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa. “We are proud to have supported this unique research and trust that it will help government and business across the region to develop rewarding travel experiences for young travellers” he said.

‘Stepping Out of the Crowd’ was written by Peter Jordan, a leading specialist in Millennial travel trends and author of PATA’s first youth travel report ‘The Rise of the Young Asian Traveler’.

Explaining what this report could mean for the tourism industry, Peter noted, “Encouraging visitors to explore a destination as widely as possible is the business of every destination marketing and management organisation. Even if there is no specific policy of dispersal in place, the widest range of visitors can be attracted by facilitating access to the widest possible range of experiences the destination has to offer. The detailed recommendations in this report explain how to get started.”

Living like a local is key to ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd’ for Asian Millennials

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