Southeast Asians target Europe as the “most aspirational” long- haul destination

According to the “South-East Asian Outbound Travel Market” report from the European Travel Commission (ETC), the appeal of Europe as a travel destination is immense for Southeast Asians.

The report provides an analysis of potential visitors from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to Europe. It concludes that they love Europe for its nature and scenic landscapes, the diversity of its cultural attractions and its good weather conditions. Prestige for visiting Europe is also part of the motivation. The top themes for travelling to Europe are slow adventure, culture and history, nature, city life and local gastronomy.

In 2017, the ETC indicates that the four Southeast Asian countries generated together over 40 million outbound departures, up from 33 million in 2013. This represents an average growth of 3.7% for the period into consideration. Outbound travel expenditures rose from US$51 bn to US$53 bn. Malaysia was the largest outbound market in travel volume while Singaporeans are spending the most when travelling.

While the bulk of all trips from Southeast Asians are regional (80% to 85%), 15% to 20% concern long-haul travel, with Europe having the largest share of all long-haul trips, representing between 50% and 60%. The trip lasts between 10 and 21 days.

Favourite destinations for Southeast Asians are the ones considered prestigious “must- dos”. These include France, Germany or Italy. According to ETC research, Southeast Asian travellers to Europe are mainly young couples and families but solo travel is on the increase. Multigenerational travel is more common in Singapore and Thailand, while group travel is important in Indonesia and Malaysia. Average age for Southeast Asian travellers fluctuate between 21 and 54 years old.

Three major issues are pointed out by Southeast Asians: insufficient air connectivity out of Indonesia and Malaysia, requirements to obtain a Schengen visa for Indonesians and Thais and high travel costs in Europe.

Photo: Asian tourists in Lausanne