Los millenniales orientales: Un gran reto para los destinos turísticos

Millennials asiáticos
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Millennials asiáticosEn Asia los cambios económicos y sociales han beneficiado sobre todo a la generación joven (los millennials) y les han ofrecido múltiples oportunidades para viajar fuera de sus países. De ahí el interés de destinos y empresas turísticos en todo el mundo en conocer de cerca la mentalidad del joven consumidor asiático, y su actitud hacia los viajes.

A pesar de ser el tercer país más visitado del mundo según la OMT, para los 3,000 jóvenes viajeros asiáticos encuestados para el estudio The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller, publicado en agosto de 2014 por la Pacific Asia Travel Association, España se solo se encuentra en el puesto 11 en el ranking de destinos más deseados para visitar en los próximos años.

Como coordinador y redactor de este informe, tuve la oportunidad de contrastar mis experiencias con este mercado y mis propias conclusiones sobre los resultados del estudio con Hosteltur, la primera red de noticias del sector turístico español. El artículo completo se ha publicado en la edición de marzo 2015 de la revista (tanto en papel como online).

Tanto en la entrevista como en el informe en general, trato de subrayar la importancia de mirar más allá del mercado emisor chino (aunque, sin duda es y seguirá siendo el mercado emisor más importante del mundo), ya que otros países asiáticos adquirirán una gran importancia en la próxima década tanto por motivos demográficos como por la fuerte crecimiento económico que se espera de mercados como Indonesia o Filipinas, por ejemplo.

Puedes leer el informe ejecutivo del informe The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller (en inglés) o adquirir el informe completo  a través de la Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Puedes encontrar información sobre los millennials en inglés y en español en mi blog, o bien echar un vistazo a mi perfil.

Si tienes cualquier pregunta, puedes contactar conmigo a través de genctraveller[aroba]gmail[punto]com

 

 

 

VisitBritain launches innovative campaign in China

Great Names for Great Britain
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Last week VisitBritain embarked on the latest stage of its campaign to attract more Chinese visitors to the UK using images of the country to open potential visitors’ eyes as to what they can find when they arrive in the country.

Many UK places, people, things and attractions still don’t have a Chinese name yet. Some already do, for example Great Names for Great Britain‘The Beatles – Pi Tou Shi 披头士 meaning ‘Gentlemen with long hair’ or Buckingham Palace – ‘Bai Jin Han Gong 白金汉宫 or ‘a white, gold and splendid palace’. Launched via VisitBritain’s social media platforms in China, this ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain‘ campaign asks people across China to invent names for 101 iconic British things, with prizes for the suggestions that prove most popular.

Earlier this year when I compiled the study The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller for the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the UK didn’t even enter the top 10 on the destination wishlist of young Chinese respondents to our survey. This suggests unfamiliarity with what the UK has to offer, something which this campaign is clearly set up to change.

Check out the video which explains how some Chinese participants reacted when they saw some images of the UK for the first time:

 

While Chinese arrivals in Britain grew by 10% between 2012 and 2013 (and spending was up a whopping 64%), the UK still only received 12% of the number of Chinese arrivals that France did in the same year. In Europe, Britain trails behind Austria, Italy and Switzerland in the number of Chinese visitors it receives, largely because of the extra cost and complication of applying for a UK visa as opposed to a Schengen visa which gives access to all countries within the Schengen zone.

While Chinese visitor numbers are clearly not at the levels they could be, in some way the visa situation encourages those Chinese visitors that do make the trip to spend longer in the country and make more visits outside of London than other visitors (especially from Asia) typically do.

The UK government has received sustained criticism from major businesses such as airlines and retailers who are worried that the country is seriously lagging behind neighbouring competitors in terms of visa issuance. Recently the government announced the introduction of a super priority visa that, in exchange for 600 GBP could be issued within 48 hours. The UK government is also reportedly looking for ways for other EU member states to accept UK visa applications at the same time as their own Schengen applications, simplifying the process for potential visitors. The campaign is also being launched in cooperation with the UK immigration authorities who will use the opportunity to explain the revised application procedures to potential visa applicants.

My take on the campaign:

The £1.6m 10-week long campaign is VisitBritain’s largest ever campaign in China. Upon a first glance it seems set to be a promising campaign for the following reasons:

  • It introduces a large numbers of attractions, places, people and British things to a new Chinese audience in one go.
  • It is social-media based, using Chinese social media platforms (you’d be mad not to use these tools when launching a major ad campaign in China today). This increases reach cheaply and effectively.
  • It encourages dispersal outside of the capital. London’s icons are always first to come to mind by visitors who don’t know the UK so well, so that’s why many visitors aren’t brave enough to venture outside of the M25. By showing that visiting Britain consists of much more than seeing Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, Chinese spending is more effectively spread around the country (though this process involves much time and education). It’s also worth noting that many studies show that locations that are outdoors with fresh air and beautiful landscapes are rapidly becoming popular among Chinese outbound travellers eager to escape overcrowding and pollution in their home cities.

 

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Shaping the present for the future in Macao

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This week the third Global Tourism & Economy Forum (GTEF) takes place in Macao, pulling in tourism ministers and influential decision makers from around the world to discuss where the travel industry is heading next. I’m really honoured to have been invited to join a panel discussion in one of the Forum’s main sessions to discuss precisely how and why they should start to catering to the next generation of travellers.

There’s a special focus for this year’s GTEF, and it’s a subject close to the heart of the Chinese leadership in particular: the Maritime Silk Road. Today this 3000 year old trading route is has re-emerged as a focus of attention as a route not for the trading of silk and spices but increasingly for the attraction it has for tourists from around the world. More generally, it is now at the heart of China’s strategy to build economic and cultural links through a rich stream of countries that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean via the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. As the organisers put it:

‘On the back of trade, interest and ideas blossomed. People separated by the seas but connected by the MSR began to develop a fascination for cultures abroad and the first seeds of tourism were sown. In the 21st century, tourism has replaced silk, tea and spices which were the most important commodities traded along the ancient MSR. By fully leveraging their diverse culture and heritage, Maritime Silk Road nations today are actively enhancing cross-cultural connection and making alliances to strengthen their competitiveness in developing tourism economy.’

I’ll be speaking at a special session on the afternoon of Tuesday 28 October where we discuss how destinations along the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) can start building their strategy for tomorrow’s tourism development today. In particular we’ll be asking:

  • What strategic steps are tourism leaders taking to harness the new forces in consumer culture?
  • How are social media and mobile technology transforming the industry?
  • How do all these changes energize the industry and its leaders?
  • What does the history of the Maritime Silk Road teach us?
  • Has tourism replaced trade as the prime mover for travel?
  • How important is air connectivity in the 21st century versus maritime connectivity over 500 years ago?

These are all big questions, and to answer them, I’ll be discussing the research I did earlier this year with the Pacific Asia Travel Association into The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller as well as some of my other insights into the Millennials market. I look forward to sharing some of the lessons learned from the session in my next blog post.

Meanwhile, if you are among the 1,200 people attending this year’s GTEF, you can follow my Twitter feed @Genctraveller and drop me an email at genctraveller@gmail.com and I look forward to meeting you!

Discovering the Silk Road from where it started

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As the emerging outbound markets have, understandably, grabbed the headlines in recent years due to their strong growth, it’s easy to overlook the fact that on the whole Japanese travellers have always been loyal, high-spending and relatively adventurous.

With a ‘travel career’ many years ahead of their Asian neighbours, Japanese travellers are older, more mature and looking to move beyond their more familiar long haul markets. Partly for this reason, and due to greater ease of access, greater numbers of Japanese outbound travellers have started to visit destinations along the Silk Road. Invited by UNWTO, which has a project to encourage partnerships among all in the tourism industry along the Silk Road, I joined a panel event held at JATA Expo Tokyo 2014 which turned up some interesting facts…

Stretching from Japan through to Italy (though there were many more places associated with the trade of Silk and other goods along the route), the Silk Road project spearheaded by UNWTO seeks to unite the destinations along the route around the common causes of boosting their economies through increasing tourism access, improving visa facilitation and gaining greater exposure to the key outbound source markets.

The aim of this seminar was to encourage more Japanese outbound operators to take an interest in Silk Road destinations and for those operators who were based along the route to discuss how government agencies could help them more in their promotion and management efforts.

In debating how to attract and retain Japanese visitors, naturally the discussion turned to the characteristics of the outbound Japanese market, and visitor profiles. Operators running tours on all parts of the Silk Road were able to confirm that the Japanese value the chance to see cultural artefacts (especially UNESCO World Heritage monuments) very highly. As confirmed by Peter Wong, Executive Chairman of the China Chamber of Tourism, they also leap at the chance to stay in hotels and guesthouses that have character themselves, especially if they are also listed monuments.

Current political tensions between Japan and China aren’t helping visitor flows to the Chinese sections of the Silk Road due to increased visa restrictions, however many other countries have improved access with either no requirement to obtain visas before departure (eg. Georgia) or e-visa schemes on arrival. It’s normal for even first-time visitors to try to visit 2-3 countries in one visit, so ease of access is important.

Aside from the thorny issue of visa facilitation, tour operators expressed their desire for more support from national tourism administrations with running familiarization tours for the Japanese travel media.

One theme that all presenters highlighted was travellers’ increased desire for authenticity of experiences at all stages of their journey. Silk Road destinations offer this in bucketloads, with operators understanding the need for local people to meet visitors, share their traditions (crafts, food) with guests. However, as Peter Wong pointed out, authenticity is something that is easily snuffed out as some Chinese cities are particularly good at building ‘white elephants in the desert’, hoping to recreate entire European villages or Egyptian temples. This is clearly something to be avoided at all costs.

 

If access and facilities continue to improve along the Silk Road (with local people involved at every step) this is something that should bode well for attracting greater numbers of Millennial, Gen C Travellers, in addition to the greater numbers of predominantly older Japanese travellers who are visiting.

To learn more about the UNWTO’s programme for assisting Silk Road destinations click here.

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How to turn Chinese dreams into bookings

The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller
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It’s official: Australia has been voted the Nº1 dream destination by young Chinese travellers. Young Koreans, Japanese, Malaysians and Vietnamese have also placed the country in the top 3 of their travel bucket list in a recent study by the Pacific Asia Travel Association.

 This exciting news for the Australian youth travel industry was revealed in the latest report The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller, released just last month by PATA, an organisation that’s been analysing Asia travel trends and bringing the industry in the region together for more than six decades.

I’m proud to have authored this report for PATA, and those of you who attended ATEC’s Australian Youth Travel Conference in Sydney earlier this year will recall that I shared some of the very early results of this study, which gathered data from nearly 3,000 people aged 15-29 from across 13 countries in Northeast and Southeast Asia.

What did our young Asian respondents tell us? The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller

 Here are a few highlights…

  •  37% funded their travel directly from their parents
  • The biggest motivator to travel is to visit somewhere they’ve never been before
  • Traveller review sites such as TripAdvisor are the most trusted source of information before departure, followed by tips from family and friends
  • Budget hotels, rather than hostels are the preferred option. Nearly 1 in 5 young Asian travellers stayed in a 4-5 star hotel on their last trip
  • France and the United States are the top dream destinations for all those surveyed, followed by Australia, Japan and Italy

Check out the Executive Summary

No-one’s ever targeted the Asian youth audience on such a scale before, and the results really give the Australian youth travel industry some food for thought, or rather, some challenging questions to answer. Why? Because while Australia is high on the dream list, the challenge for the Australian tourism industry (and not just those directly concerned with the youth market) is threefold:

  • How to beat the competition (there is a lot out there)?
  • How to meet or exceed traveller expectations on the ground?
  • How to maximise traveller spend, peer recommendations and repeat visits?

As I discussed in my recent reaction to Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan’s recent interview with The Byte, Tourism Australia is placing a high priority on making Australian tourism China-ready. At the same time, he admitted that TA doesn’t currently have a youth-strategy. With big potential for further growth (and not just from China), and with equally big questions for the Australian youth travel industry to answer, perhaps it’s time to make one?

So rather than batter you with more statistics, I’m going to throw a few grenade style questions that we all need to consider for the years ahead…

  • Chinese currently represent 11% of youth arrivals and has been the fastest growing market for 4-5 years. However, in focussing on China alone is Australia putting all its eggs in one basket?
  • Australia isn’t the only big hitter out there. For time-pressed students and young professionals, nearby Asian destinations are cheap and easy to get to , while European destinations have been gearing up for Asian growth for years. Does Australia have an eye on the competition in the youth market?
  • Students can be are tourists too. Studying is the main reason that young Chinese come to Australia in the first place. How can the youth travel industry leverage its partnerships with the education sector?
  • Is the country’s infrastructure (hostels, tours, adventure sports activities) well geared towards the tastes of the modern Millennial traveller?
  • Australians have toured Europe for decades, getting a good understanding of what a good working holiday should involve (ie. a lot of drinking, a lot of adventure). Does this work the same way for young Taiwanese, Koreans or Hongkongese? How well does the Australian youth travel industry understand its emerging markets?

The questions are big, but so too are the opportunities. Again, it’s reassuring and to see Australia placed so highly in young Asians’ dream list of destinations. But turning those dreams into bookings, bed-nights and subsequent positive reviews online is going to require a huge amount of education, training and most of all, teamwork.

In future posts I’ll be discussing the implications of this report for other destinations, as well as looking at ways to put the report’s recommendations into practice.

How to get hold of The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller

PATA Members of certain categories are able to access the full report free of charge, while others will be able to purchase it for a fee. Take a look at the Executive Summary to find out more.

 

Peter Jordan, Founder, Gen C Traveller

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Tourism Australia boss: ‘Being China-ready is critical for Australian tourism’

John OSullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia
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In a recent interview with The Byte, Australia and New Zealand’s news John OSullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australianetwork for professionals working in the youth and backpacker market, John O’Sullivan Tourism Australia’s newly-appointed Managing Director has explained the importance of the Australian tourism industry becoming better prepared to serve young, adventurous Chinese visitors.

The full interview is available here, though below I’ve provided some of the highlights of his discussion with The Byte’s Editor in Chief, Tom Wheeler:

  • Youth travellers/backpackers are an important part of Australia’s visitor mix, especially from key markets such as the UK and Continental Europe, the US and Korea. Youth visitors leave a powerful economic footprint for Australia – representing more than a quarter of the country’s international visitors, contributing A$12 billion annually (or more than A$7,000 per trip).
  • After challenging years for the economies of the key outbound markets of the UK and Germany, arrivals figures are starting to show resurgence from these countries.

Becoming China ready

  • Chinese travel attitudes are changing from heavily scripted sightseeing to more unique, personal experiences. Tourism Australia (TA)’s campaigns and marketing activities in China are focussing upon this.
  • Examples of Australian tourism operators adapting their business to cater better for this market include Merlin Entertainments Group, operator of Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Sydney Tower Eye and Madame Tussaud’s Sydney. Queensland is also providing cultural awareness training for its staff, with annual refreshers. Other simple measures include welcome signage and guides in Simplified Chinese.
  • While Tourism Australia doesn’t currently have a specific strategy for the youth market, Mr O’Sullivan sees Tourism 2020, the existing all-encompassing tourism plan as a yield strategy, less about visitor numbers and more about maximizing the amount of money Australia’s international visitors spend when they visit.

A copy of Tourism Australia’s latest data on the youth market (year to December 2013) is available here.

My take

Sydney Harbour, May 2014As I discussed in my keynote presentation at this year’s Australian Youth Travel Conference as well as subsequent blog posts, Australia does indeed have the assets to attract cash-strapped working holidaymakers from Northern Europe, as well as an increasing number of visitors from across Asia.

The number of visitors from China bears this out, and John O’Sullivan is exactly right in that more work has to be done to help providers in the country understand these new types of visitor, their desires and travel style.

With Australia ranked by young Asian travellers in 3rd place in the league of dream destinations, in PATA’s recent report The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller there is clearly interest and demand for young people across Northeast and Southeast Asia (ie. not just China). Converting these dreams into bookings, and converting passive visitors into those who want to actively engage with what the Australian youth travel industry is offering will require hard work, especially since these visitors’ tastes seem to differ slightly from those that the industry is traditionally used to.

 

Find out more about PATA’s report The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller, as well as its recommendations to the tourism industry.

Find out more about The Byte

Find out more about Tourism Australia’s work with the youth market

Find out more about the author of Gen C Traveller

OUT NOW – The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller

The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller
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It’s onThe Rise of the Young Asian Travellere of the most exciting projects I have managed this year, and the result of contributions from leading tourism industry thought leaders in Asia and nearly three thousand young consumers across thirteen countries in the region. I’m proud to announce that ‘The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller’ is released today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association!

What’s the context?

The rapid emergence of Asian economies and the subsequent accompanying boom in travel has attracted the attention of the global travel and tourism community, as well as countless others. In recent years the sheer number of outbound travellers from Asian countries combined with their well-documented spending power has made an impact beyond Asia and the Pacific region, as destinations in all other regions race to understand the Asian traveller and adapt their products and services accordingly.

The Rise of the Young Asian Traveller, released today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), explains how and why it is predominantly young people who are fuelling this growth, looking to explore the world beyond their country’s borders.

I am the author of this report, and for three months in early 2014 I was assisted by a talented team at PATA Headquarters in Bangkok. Research of this kind is extremely rare, with scant coverage of this region which is undergoing a tourism boom. It was great to learn first hand about the shape that youth travel growth is taking, through online surveys and focus groups.

In line with PATA’s ‘Next Gen’ strategy, the report is intended to help tourism industry professionals around the world to understand the importance of engaging with young people, both as consumers and employees in the travel and tourism industry, and to give them an understanding of the power of the young Asian traveller to shape global travel and tourism in the years to come.

What’s in the report?

The report gives detailed information on the background to the boom in Asian youth travel

The report describes in detail what is behind the boom in Asian youth travel and makes forecasts on future development

Nearly 3,000 travellers between the ages of 15-34 participated in an online survey distributed across 13 countries in Northeast and Southeast Asia including China, Korea (ROK), Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Crucially, in addition to this valuable data, I have gone the extra mile by explaining what’s driving the trends it describes with articles and invited commentary from industry experts. These include:

  • Why youth travel does not always mean ‘budget travel’ in Asia
  • What the leap to mobile technology will mean for travel providers across the region
  • How low-cost carriers have capitalised so successfully on the youth market across the region
  • Why the most sophisticated tourism boards look to attract students as well as leisure travellers
  • Who exerts the biggest influence on young Asians’ travel decisions
  • Why it is important to start reaching the next generation of your brand’s consumers today

PATA CEO Martin J. Craigs said, “This report highlights very effectively why Asia’s top destinations and tourism brands need to sit up and take notice of young consumers and their travel tastes. Today’s young travellers will very quickly become business and family travellers, so it is important to show them your trust and loyalty from a very early stage”.

PATA Members of certain categories are able to access the full report free of charge, while others will be able to purchase it for a fee. Take a look at the Executive Summary to find out more.

In future posts I will discuss the implications of the report and how its findings will prove useful to brands and destinations of all sizes in reaching the next generation of Asian travellers.