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Survey forecasts 17 percent increase in 2014 Asian travel budget
Travelzoo Asia Pacific has released its annual subscriber survey findings that show the Asian travel appetite in 2014 will get stronger, with a forecasted increase of 17 percent in travel budgets over 2013. The results also highlighted transformations in the vacation spending patterns of Mainland Chinese travelers, with the majority willing to spend more for upgrading their holiday experiences and high-end accommodations.
The survey is an annual initiative by Travelzoo to map changes in travel attitudes across Asia Pacific, while providing a benchmark for the regional travel industry. It was conducted in collaboration with WIMI, a consumer insights consultancy firm, from November 24 to December 15, 2013. Over 3,400 Travelzoo subscribers from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan participated in the study.
The study revealed that Travelzoo Mainland Chinese subscribers will continue to lead the region in travel frequency, taking an average of 6.5 leisure trips and spending an estimated USD $8,200 on average in 2014. This is followed by the Japanese with 5 leisure trips and an average spend of USD $4,800; the Taiwanese with 4.4 leisure trips and an average spend of USD $6,170; and Hong Kong travelers with 4.3 leisure trips and an average spend of USD$6,900. Australians will travel the least, with an average of 3.5 leisure trips in 2014. However, they will fork out the most for their vacations, at an average spend of USD $9,340.
The study also pointed to Asian travelers' preference for independent travel and high-quality holiday experiences. When respondents were asked what best describes their attitude towards leisure travel, 62 percent of Travelzoo Asia Pacific subscribers prefer to explore at their own pace and 54 percent view rest and relax as key to their holiday experiences. Almost half of the respondents surveyed will focus on improving the quality of their vacation, spending more on hotels, food and entertainment, and less on shopping. The figures for Mainland Chinese travelers were reflected strongly in these trends, with 75 percent wanting to rest and relax during their vacations, 62 percent spending more for upgrading their holiday experiences, and 56 percent preferring to explore at their own pace.
When respondents were asked about their accommodation budgets, the findings revealed that Travelzoo Mainland Chinese subscribers will splurge more than their regional counterparts. They will spend on an average of USD $169 per night, based on double occupancy, compared to the regional average of USD $140. This is in line with their willingness to spend more for a better holiday experience. Mainland Chinese subscribers' desire for quality was further reflected in their choice of accommodation, ranking beachfront villas or hotels as their top choice, followed by boutique hotels and luxury hotels.
Group tours' appeal continued to decline among all subscribers, with a regional average of 30 percent wanting such holidays. Instead, over 51 percent prefer all-inclusive holiday packages and purchasing accommodation and transportation only. Mainland Chinese travelers desire to personalize their own travel experiences was especially apparent in these results, with only 14 percent opting for group tours, 54 percent favoring all-inclusive holiday packages, and 58 percent looking to purchase accommodation and transportation only.
"The study confirms that Asia Pacific remains an important growth engine for global tourism," said Jason Yap, CEO, Travelzoo Asia Pacific. "Asian travelers will lead in driving global tourism in years to come. Through our subscribers and workings with travel suppliers, we see trends ahead of the curve. Some companies are already capitalizing on this by offering higher levels of personalized and quality vacation products. Those that set standards and create higher value will certainly benefit from the golden period of Asia's tourism development."
"The study also reflects Travelzoo's role in stimulating incremental travel and demand for higher quality holiday experience, especially in China," continued Jason. "More Chinese travelers are apparently searching for higher quality holiday experience to rest, relax and seek personal pursuits. They are also most willing to spend more on improving vacation quality."
Other key findings:
Asians prefer Japan
Japan was ranked as the clear favorite for regional travelers in terms of destinations. This was followed by Australia, USA, Maldives and Korea respectively. Japan is also the top destination for Mainland Chinese travelers, with the USA becoming equally important.
Philippines the least favorite repeat destination
When respondents were asked which destination they have visited in the past but will not consider visiting again, the overwhelming answer was the Philippines. It was followed by China, Korea, Singapore and Indonesia respectively.
Mobile Internet is vitally important for Asian travelers
Over 80 percent of Travelzoo Asia Pacific subscribers will use the mobile Internet during their holidays, with an overwhelming 98 percent of Travelzoo Mainland Chinese subscribers claiming that they will do so, followed by 93 percent Hong Kong subscribers. Interestingly, 84 percent of Asian travelers say the first thing they would do when they reach a café/restaurant or hotel is to check for free Wi-Fi.
"The survey reinforces that travel will be a major focus for many Asians in 2014. Consistent to last year's findings, it reflects Travelzoo Mainland Chinese subscribers' prominent role in the leisure travel market. They are frequent travelers, with an increasing emphasis on independent travel and high-quality holiday experience," said Darryl Andrew, Managing Partner of WIMI. "It is likely that this preference will spur growth in areas that focus on unique and personalized vacation offerings."
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