Growing Appetite To Explore Further And More Exotic Places Around The World
Gone are the days of generic tour packages and cookie-cutter travel itineraries. A recent survey by Ethihad Airways published on 8th March, has revealed a growing demand among Singaporean travellers for more unique holiday experiences. While budget, personal safety and relaxation were all key considerations, 91 per cent agreed that the journey is just as important as the destination. The report found a significant surge in popularity of Abu Dhabi as a prime location for travel particularly amongst Singaporeans. The top reasons passengers are increasingly considering the Gulf region as their next holiday destination include the availability of cultural and historical attractions (42%), its exoticism (33%), and the many shopping options that abound (31%).
Skyscanner’s Singapore Travel Report 2017 revealed similar sentiments. The report analysed the browsing and booking habits of thousands of Singaporean holidaymakers on Skyscanner across three years to better understand how Singaporeans are travelling. Skyscanner recorded a sharp increase in search volumes for destinations such as Kathmandu (up 106%), Okinawa (up 121%) and Amritsar (up 217%) in Asia, whilst in Europe the ancient capitals of Rome and Athens also enjoyed a spike in popularity amongst Singaporean holidaymakers, both up by 105% year-on-year.
The Wanderlust Isn't Age-Dependent
The shift in consumer preference away from mass tourism toward more experiential travel – holidays focusing on the forming a connection with the history, people and culture of the particular destination – was also revealed to be hardly age-dependent. The Ethihad report found that, from young millennials to baby boomers, differentiated experiences such as luxurious encounters and taking on the unknown proved to be among the top preferences for overseas trips.
Bespoke Luxury Travel On The Rise Amidst Growing Wealth
The growing class of affluent travellers are also sparing no expense in their pursuit of the ultimate holiday experience. According to Credit Suisse Research Institute's 2017 Global Wealth Report, Singapore's household wealth grew 3.4 per cent to US$1.2 trillion in mid-2017. The average wealth per adult Singaporean has risen to US$268,800, compared to US$115,560 in 2000.
With more than 150,000 millionaires in Singapore and growing, numerous luxury tour operators such as Scott Dunn and Lightfoot Travel have expanded operations on our shores, all of them registering double digit growths in business, with hardly any slowdown in sight.
According to the co-founder and director of Lightfoot Travel, Nico Heath, the leading bespoke luxury tour operator and one of the earliest entrants into Singapore’s luxury travel market is seeing growing demand for more holidays to far-flung destinations and off-the-beaten track experiences with places such as Ethiopia and Iran fast among the hot ticket destinations of the moment.
On top of this, “today’s travellers feel bombarded by information over the Internet. Throughout 2018, curated, artisanal and authentic experiences still matter, but a much bigger trend will be travelling for pure calm, ease, and the chance for total decompression. It’s less about facilities, and more about providing the authenticity of the experience”, said Heath.
With travellers driving winds of change in Singapore’s tourism industry, it will be interesting to see how travel operators and hotels continue to shift their focus in order to cater to their demands.