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Tuesday, 01 March, 2016, 19 : 00 PM [IST]

Millennials are inclined towards experiential travel: PATA Report

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 Travellers 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.

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.

Results highlighted that 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% 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% of respondents said they love to visit a food market when in a foreign city, and 72% said they liked to visit a supermarket. When on a city visit, 85% of respondents said they like to ‘live like a local’ and discover cool activities that local youth do. Over 80% 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.

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 neighbourhoods 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.

“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 Mario Hardy, CEO PATA. “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.”
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