Are we meeting the needs of ‘Gen C’ Asian travellers? Post 1: The power of a budget airline bargain

Welcome to the first of a series of posts where I challenge what we’ve always assumed about Gen C travellers from Asia.

After three months studying the travel habits of young consumers across Northeast and Southeast Asia, I’m now back in Amsterdam. My report on The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller for is now in its completion phase and is due to be published within the next few weeks by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Find out more below.

Aside from the report’s own conclusions, I’d like to share a few of my own personal observations about life in a booming Asian city, youth travel in Asia, its impact on the tourism industry in Asia and here in Europe. In my following blog posts, I’ll be sharing these reflections one at a time; I look forward to your comments.

Tiger Air homepage 'Getting there is as affordable as getting around'
Tiger Air homepage ‘Getting there is as affordable as getting around’

The first of these reflections is a question that could cause discomfort for those beyond Asia as I ask:

Will young Asian travellers continue to holiday closer to home?

Europe and the US are dream destinations. The status-boosting  universities of the US and UK, and the allure of a kiss under the Eiffel Tower both embody true travel aspiration for young Asians in their late teens and early twenties.

At the same time, does the goal of reaching these places moves further away as destinations closer to home become ever easier and cheaper to reach with low-cost carriers (LCCs)? After all, Tokyo and Seoul are regarded by Thais, Vietnamese and Malaysians (to name just a few) as great places to shop (top priority), party (Gangnam Style) and soak up some of the coolness associated with some of the region’s most popular music, soap operas and films.

The resorts of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia once the preserve of Europeans, Aussies and Kiwis are now within easy reach (both in terms of distance and price) of increasing numbers of Chinese, Thais, Malaysians and so many others.

While LCCs are still a long way from reaching the market penetration in northeast Asia currently being achieved in southeast Asia, the scenario is changing rapidly. As I describe in the PATA report, a whole generation is now growing up using LCCs as not only a first-stop for long-distance transport decisions but also as a lifestyle brand like any food or fashion label.

For both these reasons destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US can’t rest on their laurels and assume that visitors will simply continue to arrive no matter what. They are all competing in a global race and will have to fight to stay front of mind for when a long haul trip finally becomes attainable.


The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller promises to bring some fresh insight into how the world’s brands and destinations can and are approaching this valuable demographic.Inside you’ll find the results of a wide-ranging online consumer study, input from national tourism boards across the region and specially selected case studies on the top brands that are making the most of the rise in Asian youth travel. The report will be available to PATA members and on general sale through the PATA online store. You can contact me for more information or contact PATA: or email


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