The Asia-Paciﬁc region accounts for nearly 60% of the global population. For the sustainable travel movement to make any seismic change globally, it would be completely counterintuitive to not include Asian travelers in the conversation.
From Seoul to Singapore, Asian travelers are not only interested in traveling more consciously but also expecting companies and brands to provide more sustainability-centric options than what is currently available.
According to a recent Expedia Sustainable Travel Study, Asian travelers have a higher preference for sustainable travel at 95 percent, compared to 74 percent in the Americas and 69 percent in Europe.
Yet most Asian consumers cited top reasons that discourage them from making sustainable choices are non-price related. They are the lack of access, low variety, and hard-to-verify information and claims.
With a high demand for sustainable travel among Asian travelers, the possibilities for destinations, hospitality, and travel brands to implement innovative initiatives are endless.
1. Asian consumers drive the world’s green growth this decade. They are willing to pay a premium to travel more sustainably
The OECD estimates that by 2030 3.5 billion people in Asia or roughly 40% of the global population will be in the middle-class rank. This means that 90% of the world’s next 1 billion people entering the middle-class rank will be coming from Asia.
A 2022 Bain & Co report ﬁnds that Asian consumers of all age groups – whether 18-34 or above 60 years old, and of all income levels express a similar level of consciousness for environmental, social, and health-related issues.
In the same Expedia study, nearly all surveyed Asian consumers said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable travel. In Southeast Asia, 51% of the travelers would spend at least half of their monthly salary or more to travel more sustainably.
2. A long stay at an eco-luxury local accommodation is at the top of their wish list.
According to a recent BlackBox survey, as many as 9 in 10 Asian travelers said that they would prioritize a holiday centered on eco-consciousness and wellness.
They would choose luxury whenever possible but 8 in 10 prefer small and local businesses over bigger chains and franchises.
A Google Travel & Vertical report indicates a marked increase in searches for vacation rentals in Asia Pacific markets, prompting a sign that travelers seek longer trips and exclusive accommodations. This is in line with the global trend of long-term stays that drives Airbnb growth this summer.
In addition to choosing a hotel that aligns with their value, many Asian travelers may show heightened interest in conscious travel activities at the destination – whether related to local cuisine, culture, and community. Brands could introduce a product and outreach strategy that recognizes their target audience’s preferences for local flare and capitalizes on global operational standards.
3. What Asian destinations and travel players are doing to ‘walk the walk”
In a recent interview on The Southeast Asia Travel Show, Liz Ortiguera, CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) highlighted the importance of integrating and implementing practical and responsible solutions with destination and hotel partners regionally, as evidenced in the organization’s sustainability projects.
On a national level, some Asian governments have begun transitioning away from relying on mass tourism as a recovery approach. Indonesia’s tourism ministry has set its eyes on promoting ‘quality tourism’, spotlighting the country’s natural and cultural heritages, targeting long-term visitors, and empowering local businesses and communities.
This is an excerpt from an article by Jeremy Tran, originally published by Travel Tomorrow.