Luxperience 2014 opens on 31August with over 300 luxury and high end experiential travel specialists seeking inspiration for new products. The Luxperience worldwide team has put together an overview of what some of these buyers will be looking for according to the trends prevailing in their particular markets.
Michelle Papas Director of Marketing and Buyer Relations of Luxperience says, “There is no doubt that Asia-Pacific is now the engine of growth in international travel both within Asia and also the rest of the world. The statistics speak for themselves with organisations such as PATA announcing a collective growth of 7% across Asia Pacific. However, we would never suggest that our clients put all their eggs in one basket. Luxperience delivers key buyers from all over the world in ONE stunning location. We have the inside track on key trends in both the US and China to ensure we have the knowledge and recognise opportunities to be able to provide meaningful connections between our buyers and exhibitors.
According to Luxperience’s representative in China Edward Chen, inner Asia remains the most popular destination for luxury experience seekers from China, namely Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Maldives, Bali, Malaysia and the Philippines. This insight is further supported by UNWTO findings which cite that in 2013 China, as a source market for Asia, experienced a 30% growth year on year.
For Chinese luxury travellers looking for places further afield, Italy, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are popular. This aligns with what US luxury travellers are also looking for.
A key trend in both APAC and US markets is experiential travel, specifically adventure holidays. Be it diving with great white sharks or skydiving in far-flung places, it is now the travel experience which is the most critical consideration to the decision makers. Travellers are no longer looking to just loll on a beach, they are looking for special interest components. This is reflected in the number of aspirational adventure products that have already signed up to Luxperience 2014.
Another current trend in the US is parents planning travel experiences with their children. Parents want their children to see things and learn things through travel. They see it as a path to global citizenship.
One key difference between the two markets are the challenges that each faces.
In China, the implementation of the new tourism law, introduced in 2013, means that there are levels of uncertainty, particularly for pre-arranged shopping tours and the availability of optional tours. There has also been a change in consumer purchasing methods – traditional distributors are developing their online capabilities, however with online agents already moving towards mobile technology, online solutions are no longer satisfying consumers’ demands. In addition, competition amongst travel licensed to operate outbound tourism has increased. With over 1,900 travel agents holding a license and the government approving more year on year the competition is more intense than ever.
“For both China and US, these challenges don’t spell a demise in the tourism industry,” continues Michelle Papas, “instead the industry must be more thoughtful and tourism professionals more creative. Rather than being marketers, tourism officials need to take into account a wide range of disciplines and think out of the box.”