PATA Matt 1

PATA UK & Ireland predicts a gear change in travel across the Far East

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) UK & Ireland comments on the way travel will change in 2021, with a number of trends to emerge.

Slow travel

One of the key trends PATA is seeing accelerate is the way in which consumers are booking travel in the age of COVID-19. There has been a significant shift in gear, as travellers opt for ‘slow travel’.

Tick box travel is becoming a thing of the past, it is exhausting and unfulfilling to a degree. Travellers want to truly connect with a destination and its people. Travellers once plagued with FOMO (fear of missing out) are looking for the JOMO (joy of missing out), content with itineraries that visit less places but are more indepth.

Our tour operator members have commented on how the traditional multicentre approach to the Far East is changing. For example, Experience Travel Group (ETG) has developed a new product to meet changing consumer demands. An increase in single destination enquiries inspired the new ‘Revitalise’ programme, featuring 1-2 stop itineraries and a much more immersive travel experience.

Meaningful travel

As this topic becomes more mainstream, customers are starting to ask, “where is my money going?” – they are curious and concerned about travelling in a responsible and sustainable way, wanting to make more informed and considered choices. Not just from an environmental perspective but a socio-economic one, ensuring local communities and individuals receive a direct benefit from tourism. Travellers no longer want to just ‘pass through’ on a fleeting trip but stop, explore and engage. The Asia Pacific region offers anabundance of holiday options to meet this demand.

How agents can make travel count

Single destination itineraries will lead the return to Far East travel, not just based on consumer demand, but because each country is reopening on its own schedule. Both factors make this the perfect time to focus on one place in depth and fill tineraries with experiences. ETG’s ‘The Travel Forecast’ keeps agents on the pulse, providing helpful and realistic travel predictions. PATA’s Destination Roadshows and other online events are also great ways to keep the conversation going, expand product knowledge and build contacts. Indeed, if there is a silver lining from this pandemic, PATA predicts that it will be a reboot, of sorts, to attitudes, making the industry and travellers alike more aware of the impact they have/role they play in tourism.

Written by Matt Brazier, Asia spokesperson for PATA UK & Ireland & head of marketing at Experience Travel Group.

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