The Gen XY Lifestyle

Asia-based Gen Z and Millennials intend to travel closer to home

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Native Explorers believe that they have yet to fully discover all the region has to offer.

A recent survey by Marriott International has found that millennials and Gen Z travellers in Asia Pacific claim they will be spending their travel dollars closer to home for at least the next two years.

Marriott International has defined this group of travellers as ‘Native Explorers’. They are affluent, of a millennial/Gen Z age cohort, and seem to be travelling in reverse order compared to their seniors. The observation infers that their while predecessors may be saving up for more costly long-haul travel later in life, Native Explorers are already well-traveled at a younger age, with one in four notching up no less than two continents outside of Asia Pacific by the time they hit 26.

With their sights firmly set on holidays closer to home, Native Explorers rank Japan (52 percent), South Korea (42 percent), and New Zealand (39 percent) as their top three travel destinations. 

Shisui, a Luxury Collection Hotel

They are seeking out the new in familiar destinations such as Australia (39 percent) and Thailand (32 percent) through a culture-centric lens.

Native Explorers’ thirst for cultural discovery extends to their accommodation choices, with a majority (76 percent) of respondents opting for hotels and resorts with destination-inspired concepts. Brand affinity remains key for Native Explorers with approximately one in three opting for destination-inspired abodes under an established luxury brand.

The majority of respondents (58 percent) believe once-in-a-lifetime experiences and pinch-me moments are what make the luxury travel experience. Top picks include VIP access to sold-out concerts of their favorite artists (52 percent) and exclusive culinary workshops with celebrity chefs (36 percent).

As they transition towards understated and authentic holidays, one in three respondents (37 percent) called out human connection, genuine hospitality, and being part of a community as critical components of luxury travel.

Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Although one in four Native Explorers would prefer to beat the jetlag and pick nearby, fuss-free holidays, their sense of adventure shouldn’t be underestimated: 43 percent look for nature escapes and wellness experiences and 36 percent are looking for hidden cultural gems they have yet to discover.

Globally, we’re seeing an undeniable shift among travelers towards more meaningful, one-of-a-kind experiences in both new and familiar destinations. This is particularly evident in Asia Pacific from our findings on Gen Z and Millennials’ travel patterns and behaviors. With young affluent travelers in Asia Pacific gravitating towards under-the-radar holidays and culturally-rich itineraries, we’re expanding our luxury portfolio in the region’s most sought-after destinations like Nara, Sydney and Jiuzhaigou in China with a target of opening 12 properties in 2023 alone.

Bart Buiring, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Marriott International Asia Pacific

The survey took place across Australia, China, Japan, India, Singapore, and South Korea. It was commissioned to better understand the attitudes of affluent millennial and Gen Z travelers and help luxury brands meet their evolving aspirations. 

Pictures credit to Marriott International.