Longhaul visitors trading ‘fast-food tours’ for in-depth experiences in SE Asia

Longhaul travellers into Asia are showing growing demand for mono-destination and in-depth holidays, according to buyers TTG Asia spoke to at WTM Connect Asia in Penang last week.

Pawel Tysa, product manager of Krakow-based Prestige Tours & Incentive, said: “We have seen this trend over the last two or three years. There are still clients who want to visit five countries in South-east Asia during one trip, (as) it’s a long flight and they want to see more. But we try to convince them that such ‘fast-food tours’ are tiring and don’t make sense.

Tourists at Angkor Thom, Siem Reap

“We recommend two countries at most, and for our clients to focus on certain areas, like culture or local food for instance.”

He added that demand for such holidays in Poland also come with greater knowledge and awareness of destinations such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Another buyer, Andy Ling, president of CanadaOne Travel, based in Winnipeg, observed that millennials and the well-to-do clients “want to stay put in one place and really get to know the local culture of a destination”.

Travellers who already have some knowledge of a destination also show desire to get a more thorough experience of a destination, Ling pointed out, adding that China, Hong Kong, Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia are some choice destinations.

“We have clients who spend up to a month in Bali only, experiencing the local culture. During their stay, we organise for them to visit a local family to learn more about their lifestyle and living. They are also keen to learn about local cuisine and how local dishes are made.”

Elisa Picazo Moreno, Asian manager, product development at UK-based Brown + Hudson, whose FIT and high-end clients enjoy Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for in-depth travel, said: “The motivation is to experience the local way of life and discover local communities.”

Interest in Myanmar as a mono destination has picked up since the country opened up, she added.

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