Region top choice for US, UK visitors

The Nation/ANN - MORE American and British travellers are coming to Southeast Asia, with Thailand a key draw, a study by Expedia.co.th shows.

The study found that culture and “once in a lifetime” and “you only live once” experiences are key drivers for British travellers, while visits to friends and family are the main pull for Americans.

Based on data from bookings in the first quarter of 2017, for travel from June to August, Expedia.co.th shows that Asian cities are seeing the highest demand from British and American tourists for the northern summer.

The Expedia.co.th data also showed that cities in China and Indian are popular for Americans this summer.

The most popular mainland Chinese cities for Americans are Beijing and Shanghai, with Hong Kong also favoured,

For British travellers this summer, the top 10 cities are spread across Asia. Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo overlap as popular cities for Americans and British travellers this summer. 

The 10 most popular Asian cities for US travellers for this period are Manis in the Philippines, Tokyo, Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City and Delhi.

For UK travellers to Asia this summer, the top cities are Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar and Manila.

Of the ten Asian cities experiencing the most year-on-year growth from the US, five are in China, with the others in Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.

Cheaper flights from the US into parts of China and from UK to some Asian destinations may be helping to drive these trends, the travel company said.

The top ten Asian cities experiencing the most year-on-year growth from the US this summer are Laoag in the Philippines, Guiling, Shenzhen, Nanchang, Chongqing and Hefei in China, Sapporo in Japan, and Yangon in Myanmar. 

While not doubling the growth in 2016, a rise in numbers was seen in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Davao and Manila in Philippines, Danang and Hanoi in Vietnam, and Kochi and Hyderabad in India.

Thailand has seen year-on-year growth in several cities. Udon Thani and Hat Yai were up by 200 per cent in bookings from Southeast Asia markets. Phuket doubled in bookings from the Netherlands and increased by 55 per cent the demand it received from the UK. Bangkok enjoyed rise of 90 per cent in bookings from Belgium and the Netherlands and doubled the number of bookings from Brazil and France. It has seen a 135 per cent gain in visits from Spaniards.

For UK travellers, Asia ticks all the boxes, Expedia says, citing culture and unique experiences.

A recent Expedia study in Europe showed that Britons seek out the “once in a lifetime” and cultural experiences when travelling to Asia. Britons travelled an average of 3.5 times in 2016, with the main motivations sightseeing (53 per cent) and relaxation (52 per cent). Some 68 per cent of the 2016 trips were taken outside of their home country, with 67 per cent of these travellers a expressed desire to experience other countries. Being outdoors is also a key driver for destination decision-making. 

For US travellers, according to a 2016 report by the Singapore Tourism Board, the main motivation for Americans seeing Asia were visits to friends and family (45 per cent), holidays (27 per cent) and business conferences (21 per cent).