Luxury Travel in Asia - August 2013
Luxury travel is typically associated with five-star accommodation and impeccable service. A tourism niche that goes hand in hand with a premium price tag, it was historically only accessible to the very wealthy and generally the preserve of Westerners. Vast economic and socio-demographic changes across the globe, however, have made luxury travel available to millions of people from myriad countries. The growth in the consumption of high-end tourism is particularly evident in Asia.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Asia-Pacific region has one of the fastest-growing tourism markets in the world: international arrivals were 19.8% higher in number in 2011 than they were in 2007, while international tourism receipts in the region grew by 54.9% over the same period. Much of this growth was intra-regional, with the significant increase in tourism expenditure highlighting the burgeoning demand for luxury tourism across the continent.
After illustrating the growing demand for luxury tourism on both a global and Asia-specific scale, this report considers the demographics and demands of luxury travellers in Asia. It examines Asia as a luxury travel destination, including places popular with high-end visitors, luxurious transport and deluxe accommodation. The promotion of luxury travel, the role of luxury branding and quintessential luxury travel experiences in Asia are also analysed. This report also assesses the role of the specialist travel agent operating at the top end of the Asian tourism market, as well as current and future trends in Asia’s luxury travel industry, including the development of niche products and emerging destinations.
The rapid expansion of luxury travel in Asia has been accompanied by a greater sophistication among high-yield tourists and an expectation of quality in every aspect of travel, from the first contact with a travel agent and transport through to accommodation, dining and activities. These developments have manifested themselves in various ways, including a heightened demand for tailor-made itineraries/bespoke travel and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences like navigating China’s Yangtze River on a luxury river cruiser. This kind of holiday provides affluent tourists in Asia with lasting memories and what analysts commonly refer to as ‘conversational currency’. Another key development within Asia’s luxury travel industry is the growing desire for and provision of added value (for example kids stay or eat free offers).
In its consideration of what comes next for luxury travel in Asia, this report also examines the future growth potential in this market by looking at both forecasts for international arrivals to 2030 and the predicted rapid growth in Asia’s middle classes and ‘high net worth individuals’ (HNWIs).
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