Asian travelers value sustainable tourism

Singapore – Travelers are focusing on slow travel and sustainable tourism going into the year 2020, with Vietnam topping the list of emerging destinations, according to the new Skyscanner APAC Travel Trends 2020 Report.

The report, which compared data from the October 2017 to September 2018 period with that from October 2018 to September 2019, found that slow travel have replaced solo trips as the most popular form of travel among Asia-Pacific travelers.

Some 24% of respondents cited slow travel as the type of trip they would most likely take in 2020, as compared to 22% of travelers who chose solo travel in 2019.

Also gaining traction is JOMO travel, which saw a jump from 10% in 2019 to 14% in 2020, as tourists seek out quieter destinations that are more about serenity and authenticity than famous landmarks or world-class shopping scenes.

This means that lesser-known destinations are likely to enjoy a strong 2020, including Tashkent in Uzbekistan, predicts the report. Other destinations that showed strong double-digit growth in 2019 and look set for a positive 2020 include Busan, South Korea; Nairobi, Kenya; Kathmandu, Nepal; Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; and Yangon, Myanmar.

Sustainable tourism commands attention

The fastest growing travel trend for 2020 is sustainable tourism, with 6% of trips in the coming year likely to prioritize eco-friendliness – an 82% increase from 2019. Sustainable travel includes everything from buying Greener Choice flights and offsetting carbon emissions to visiting only destinations that are serious about their cultural and environmental responsibilities.

Travelers with a focus on sustainable tourism opt for eco-friendly travel products, stay at establishments that uphold green practices and use public transport where they can’t cycle or walk.

South Korea is leading the way, with 11% of its travelers due to opt for sustainable tourism in 2020, followed closely by India with 9% of its travelers going green, and then Australia at 8%.

The rise of premium economy

A further trend that Skyscanner’s data identified was a significant rise in interest in cabin class in 2019. Premium economy rose in popularity by 25%, supported by an average 7% drop in fares for this class of travel. Business class also saw a rise of 9%, emphasizing travelers’ increasing focus on travelling in comfort.

The highest growth in premium economy bookings was for flights to Taiwan, which saw a 52% increase, along with a 17% decrease in the cost of the average fare. Singapore, which saw a 9% drop in fares, experienced a 43% increase in bookings, while Japan’s fares fell by an average of 6%, contributing to a 41% increase in bookings. The driver behind this is Asia-Pacific travelers’ push for more luxury, particularly when flying greater distances, such as to the US.

Surge of interest in Asia destinations in 2020

In 2020, Asia-Pacific travelers will be focusing on exploring closer to home, said the report. While European destinations were popular in last year’s report, Asian countries are now back in, making up more than 75% of 2019’s top destinations. This rising interest in Asia is expected to continue throughout 2020.

As well, the popularity of Vietnam looks set to continue into 2020, due to the provision of more routes, affordable airfares and more frequent flights. Phu Quoc is Skyscanner’s top emerging destination for 2020, followed by Kalibo; and then Takamatsu, Japan; and finally, Budapest in Hungary – Europe’s first entry in 2020’s top travel destinations.

South Korean travelers are driving growth, particularly in Vietnam, where interest in beach destinations have increased vastly year on year. Phu Quoc has seen a 360% increase in interest; Nha Trang, a 105% increase; and Da Nang, a 17% increase. The Philippines has also seen significant growth, with Kalibo enjoying a 100% year on year increase in 2019. (TTGasia)