Modern Travelers in the Asia-Pacific

Trends / Wellness
Mayur Kakade
Yuri Endo
Dec 15, 2023
In the dynamic world of travel, the United Nations World Tourism Organization highlights the critical role of travel in addressing contemporary challenges. From climate action to job creation, travel is at the forefront of global initiatives.This article explores the preferences, interests, and values of contemporary travelers, examining how the travel industry can effectively capture and cater to their diverse experiences.

Modern traveler dynamics
In this new era, safety has become a paramount concern for travelers, prompting a notable shift towards domestic destinations over international travel due to heightened worries about crime and global conflicts as indicated by Getty Images VisualGPS research. The cost of travel, encompassing flights and accommodations, plays a crucial role in shaping choices during this period. Additionally, there is a growing appreciation for local experiences across Asia, revealing intriguing regional variations in travel preferences.2
Rise of wellness travel
Post‑pandemic, wellness travel has surged, with fitness getaways and wellness retreats contributing to both physical and mental well‑being. According to Getty Images VisualGPS research, an impressive 71% express openness to exploring new wellness practices, particularly prevalent among younger generations actively engaging in various wellness pursuits. This underscores the significant role that travel plays in this holistic journey.3

Priority on sustainable travel
Sustainability takes center stage, with 75% of Asia‑Pacific (APAC) individuals prioritizing personal actions for a positive environmental impact. A notable 82% emphasize the importance of travel companies adopting sustainable practices, including contributions to the well‑being of local communities.4 High‑end travelers are willing to pay extra for eco‑friendly options, showcasing a commitment to responsible tourism.5
Tech‑enhanced travel transformation
Technology reshapes the travel experience, with 81% anticipating self‑service options and online advice from travel companies, as revealed by Getty Images VisualGPS research. Millennials and Gen Z prioritize online bookings and digital tools, relying on platforms like Google, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and ChatGPT for travel decision‑making.6

Cultural immersion
Asian travelers place a premium on unique local experiences, exploring local cuisine, immersing themselves in the destination's history and heritage, and establishing connections with the local community. Travelers from China, India, Japan, and Singapore allocate a significant portion of their budget to culinary experiences, diverging from the global trend where others prioritize adventure in their travel choices.7 The global rise of 'workcations,' blending work with leisure, is notable,alongside a surge in solo travel fueled by platforms like TikTok. Across generations, solo travelers seek unique social interactions, with older travelers opting for security and convenience through guided tours and established hotels, while younger generations favor adventurous experiences in remote destinations and hostels, embracing spontaneity without rigid itineraries.9
Real emotion in travel moments
In the Asia‑Pacific region, genuine, relatable travel images are paramount, with many preferring visuals featuring relatable individuals enjoying destinations. Residents take precedence over tourists, emphasizing a strong desire for authentic local culture representation. Additionally, many individuals in the APAC region favor videos showcasing travel destinations, activities, or experiences over photos. This shift towards video content highlights the increasing desire for immersive and dynamic travel experiences.11

Celebrating diversity beyond concept
For 77% of APAC travelers, celebrating diversity is crucial. This goes beyond showcasing different faces; it extends to weaving a tapestry of experiences that transcend cultural differences. The travel industry has an opportunity to create content that authentically represents the rich diversity of people, backgrounds, and cultures—a core value for 89% of travelers emphasizing accessible products and services for everyone.10
Visualizing travel opportunities
An analysis of visuals from APAC travel customers highlights distinct patterns, emphasizing sunny and serene landscapes without people or individual exploration. Millennials are prominently featured in people‑centric content, focusing on solitary and summer settings. However, Getty Images VisualGPS research reveals a notable gap in representation for certain demographics, including baby boomers, LGBTQ+ communities, and people with disabilities. Depictions of local experiences, sustainability efforts, and the role of technology in the travel journey from booking to being on holiday, are also lacking.

Crafting tailored scenarios
To address these gaps, enhancing diversity and personalization in travel involves diversifying visuals and incorporating videos for a more inclusive perspective. Scenarios such as celebrating local culture, year‑round exploration, encompassing wellness, sustainability, local cultural immersions, and the innovative use of technology in the travel journey. Cater to diverse demographics by highlighting both group adventures and individual explorations, especially for those aged 60 and above. For Gen Z and Millennials, emphasize scenarios blending exploration, work, leisure, well‑being, and social media‑friendly moments. Prioritize inclusivity, showcasing accessible accommodations for travelers with disabilities, and featuring LGBTQ+ travelers participating in cultural activities. As the travel industry navigates the complexities of the modern APAC traveler, it's about crafting a detailed, immersive narrative resonating with diverse values and preferences.
[1] Travel trends for 2023, as predicted by industry insiders (Roadbook)
[2] Asian Consumers Plan International Trips Studies from MMGY, Hilton Show Intent To Travel (CoStar)
[3] Getty Images VisualGPS
[4] Getty Images VisualGPS
[5] Sustainable Travel Consumer Report 2022 ( Group)
[6] Getty Images VisualGPS
[7] Hilton Travel Trend Report 2024 ‑ ‘GenerAsian’ traveler (Hilton)
[8] 2023 Travel Trends: Summer and Beyond (Medium)
[9] Getty Images VisualGPS
[10] Getty Images VisualGPS

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