Malaysian inbound tourism specialists are putting on their creative hats to whip up programmes that will appeal to the growing number of young FITs – under the age of 30 – from the region, with solutions including volunteer opportunities, sustainable adventure tours and community interactions.
Uzaidi Udanis, general manager of Eyes Holidays, told TTG Asia that the growing presence of millennial travellers has become increasingly noticeable over the last three years.
He said: “They are made up of young working adults, usually friends travelling together. The growing network of low-cost carriers has made travel very affordable. Five years ago, Asians aged 40 and above used to form the majority of our business at Eyes Holidays and they liked to go on group tours and see places.
“These days, it is those aged 22 to 30 years old who form the bulk of our business and they are activity driven. They like to meet with locals who share similar interests as well as to leave a positive impact on the places they visit.”
Responding to this change in customer profile, Eyes Holidays has developed “feel good” itineraries that provide community interaction.
“In 2019, we organised open sea swimming events in the Straits of Melaka for Chinese millennials who participated with the locals. We are planning to hold similar events in June and July, and are in talks with a few state governments to collaborate with us on them,” Udanis said.
Raaj Navaratnaa, general manager at New Asia Holiday Tours & Travel, said that young Asian millennials are increasingly environmentally conscious and looking for opportunities to contribute to the community. As such, the company has developed tour packages that promote sustainable nature and adventure tours, using local aboriginal guides in nature parks.
Asian millennials also have a deep sense of wanting to improve the living conditions and education of the local communities in the places they visit, Raaj noted.
He said: “Tourists from Singapore and India were keen to teach English to rural communities in Johor whereas those from Indonesia wanted to empower locals by sharing their handicraft skills and (teaching them) how to set up a small business and market their products. We organise day classes where tourists can empower the local communities and this has proven very successful, especially in Johor and Sarawak.”
The rise in Asian millennial arrivals has led Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Melaka to see brisk business for its connecting rooms, revealed Jason R Bak, resident manager.
The hotel is doing its part to sweeten the destination experience for this segment of travellers too, by roping in local trishaw riders to provide shuttle rides to nearby UNESCO Heritage attractions and emphasising the property’s sustainable practices to appeal to eco-conscious individuals, which many millennials are.