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Asian Millennial Travellers driving next wave of growth in the tourism industry

As a preview to Asia’s premier travel and tourism week, TravelRave2014, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) held a panel session in Jakarta yesterday with key industry thought leaders to discuss the trends behind the new generation of travellers in Asia, and how businesses can tap onto the growing market.

Held in conjunction with TTG Asia, the panellists included Ms Neeta Lachmandas, Assistant Chief Executive, STB, Pak Budi Tirtawisata, CEO, Panorama Group, Mr Ajay Sohoni, Associate Principal, McKinsey & Co, and Mr Nicolas Oudin, Head Analyst, Travel (APAC), Google.

The discussion centred on Asian Millennial Travellers(AMTs), which comprise approximately a quarter of Asia’s total population, and focused on key areas such as their travel and purchase habits.“The behaviour of millennials has shifted significantly over the past couple of years,” shared Ajoy Sohoni.

“We’ve seen that the trust in the usage of the internet has grown by over 50 percent, and that online ticketing incidences have also doubled.”

While social media and the proliferation of mobile devices were unanimously cited as reasons behind the shift, Nicholas Oudin also highlighted that Indonesians in particular, were increasingly supportive of local brands.“Today, two-thirds of branded searches by Indonesian travellers refer to local brands, as opposed to international ones”, pointing towards the potential market opportunity.

Agreeing that AMTs have become a significant part of the traveller demographic, Budi Tirtawisata shared that it is thus important that businesses take into consideration the habits and preferences of these individuals when launching business development initiatives. “Millennial travellers are our future, and there is no better time to emphasise and explore this new market.”

Apart from trends, challenges such as the war on talent were also discussed.

Neeta Lachmandas noted that “on top of hardware and technology, it is critical that we look at ways to attract and support millennial talent who fully understand the needs of their peers.When we have such talents in the workplace, they in turn will be empowered to create products and services that are of value to other fellow millennial travellers.”

“Ultimately, it’s not only about millennial travellers, but also helping our millennial employees better understand this market,” added Budi Tirtawisata.

As the final leg of the regional roundtable series that began earlier this year, the discussion set the stage for the upcoming TravelRave, the fifth run of which will be in Singapore from 27 to 31 October 2014.

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