The Four New Emerging Asian Traveller Types And Their Geographic Groupings

A study released today by Sabre Corporation  a leading technology company serving the global travel industry, reveals a series of highly contrasting traveller preferences behind the growing Asia-Pacific travel market.


Major polarisation of Asian travellers exists

Using a psychographic assessment of travellers, the study finds that major polarisation exists across two key dimensions around the region: ‘Motivation’ – whether a traveller is motivated by ‘self’ or ‘others’ in their travel choices – and ‘Behaviour’ – specifically the level of control a person wants to exert over their trip.

Self-oriented travel with a personal touch

However a small majority of travellers are more likely to be motivated to travel by self-oriented reasons (56%), seeking to build their own individuality and life experiences rather than the opportunity to gain experiences to share with others (44%). When it comes to behaviour, more travellers would rather exert control in their trip (58%) over letting someone else take charge (42%). This reflects a growing sense of consumer empowerment and willingness to invest more effort in personalising the travel experience; pre, mid or post trip.

Introducing the four Asian traveller types

Mapping these polarisations across both behaviour and motivation gives rise to four distinct Asian traveller types –  the Explorer, Connector, Follower and Opportunist. The features of the traveller types are:


‘Explorers’ take top spot

One in three Asian travellers fall into the ‘Explorer’ category, making this the most common traveller type around the region. Notably though, after this there is an almost even split of travellers, by volume, between the three remaining traveller types.

National preferences

Geographic groupings of traveller types do exist around the region though. After Explorer, which is the top traveller type for all 11 Asian markets surveyed, the following groupings were recorded:

  • Connectors tend to be swaying their influence in Australia, Indonesia, Korea and New Zealand.
  • Followers are gathering together in Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Opportunists are ready to go in China and Taiwan.

 Travellers in India and China

India has the strong presence of two opposing traveller types. The dominant type is the Explorer, followed closely by the Followers. Psychologically, it seems that though many Indian travellers identify themselves as Explorers, they are still willing to be taken care of. This is perhaps not surprising in a society where personal service is still common in many aspects of daily life.


As most Indian travellers typically travel with their families, 54% of Indian travellers said that they travel to pamper their loved ones, higher than travellers across Asia Pacific at 43%.

China is notable for the dominance of Explorers – they represent almost half of all travellers in the country. Their confident and demanding attitude to travel is likely to be built on the strength of optimism about personal finances. Technology also has played a fundamental role in delivering access to travel information and tools that have helped many travellers become independent and self-sufficient.


“Barriers to travel in the region are breaking down – strong macro-economic performance, rising personal incomes, a surge in affordable travel options and increased Government support are all driving growth – meaning traveller volumes are undisputedly on the rise. But traveller preferences are also evolving,” comments Todd Arthur, vice president of sales and market development for Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. “Those who work in the industry are observing that serving travellers based on a traditional trip category alone, such as business or solo or senior travel, has limited value in today’s more dynamic market.”

Andrew Herdman, Director General, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, notes: “It’s hard to segment consumers across the markets, but you may be able to identify some common themes based on the values of travellers and psychographics. No one has approached it this way yet.”

“Sabre’s study provides a fresh take on Asian travellers today. By going beyond traditional traveller segmentations to map the evolution of our customers at a more granular level we can hone our services to keep adding value to the travel experience,” comments Allen Leng, Corporate Office Director, Chan Brothers Travel & Director, Chan Brothers Lab.

Sabre Travel Network’s senior vice president for Asia Pacific, Roshan Mendis, concludes: “Asia Pacific’s travel industry is booming. Not only are we the world’s largest travel market today but we are also one of the regions with the highest levels of projected growth. With this comes rapid evolution in the way people travel; their expectations, choices, likes and dislikes. We need to understand these changes to keep the travel industry players we serve at the forefront of this evolution.”

Source:, January 2017

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