Asia’s mountain tourism should target adventurous millennials: GlobalData

Porters on their way to base camp at Pakistan's K2 mountain

With the rapid growth in popularity of “transformative travel” in 2017, mountaineering is now presenting greater opportunities for tourism growth in Asia’s mountainous regions, especially among younger visitors, according to GlobalData.

Trends towards “transformative travel” – including increased awareness about the negative impact of human activities on the environment, appreciation of different cultures and prioritisation of experiences over ownership of goods – are driving lucrative opportunities for tourism in mountainous Asian destinations including Nepal, India and Pakistan, according to Konstantina Boutsioukou, a tourism analyst at GlobalData.

Porters on their way to base camp at Pakistan’s K2 mountain

GlobalData’s consumer survey from 4Q2017 further showed that 20 per cent globally are interested in adventure/sports tourism, with 34 per cent of millennials being likely to book such a holiday compared to 23 per cent of Gen Y-ers and 12 per cent of Babyboomers.

“The Alps, as well as mountains in the US, have traditionally been among the favourite destinations for mountain climbers. However, as travellers – especially younger ones – seek more from their holidays, wilder winter destinations in Asia are expected to become increasingly popular,” Boutsioukou said.

Nepal, for example, has already benefitted from alpine tourism by taking advantage of its high peaks such as Mount Everest, and the issuing of climbing permits generates essential revenue for the country. Moreover, the regulation requiring climbers to be accompanied by a guide is seen as a way through which tourism income can benefit the local economy and community.

Still, Boutsioukou pointed out that there are opportunities left to tap for Asia’s mountainous regions. “To further benefit from alpine tourism, national and local governments must recognise the great potential that lies in the development of mountaineering expeditions and proceed by incentivising local businesses to invest in tourism by introducing packages that combine mountaineering with culinary and cultural tours.

“By introducing such itineraries, also at lower prices, Asian countries will be able to compete with more developed alpine resorts in Europe and the US, hence attracting a growing number of tourists looking for deeper fulfilment through their travels.”

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