With our insider knowledge about backpacking and the travel industry of South East Asia, we’re often invited to speak at travel trade events to share our information with important industry folks. Here’s a glimpse of how South East Asia Backpacker Magazine promotes backpacking in this part of the world amongst the trade…
June 2013: Interview with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
(To be shown at the World Youth & Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Sydney, September 2013.)
Founder of SEA Backpacker, Nikki Scott was interviewed By Ivy Chee from PATA – about the changing trends in youth travel to the Asia Pacific region. From digital nomads and flashpackers to young entrepreneurs finding opportunities for business in South East Asia, she explains why the diversity of the region is so attractive to young travellers.
No Vacancy Conference – June 2013
Speaking to an conference full of 5* hotel owners and high-end tourism industry professionals at the Sofitel Bangkok, we wondered why organiser Martin Kelly, from Travel Trends, had invited us? Would this audience be interested in backpackers and their influence on the travel industry as a whole? They certainly were! More info about No Vacancy here.
- Why are backpackers important to look at? Since the first days of the Lonely Planet in 1972, backpackers have always been pioneers, finding new undiscovered paradises and paving the way for others. Just look at Koh Samui! However, in 2013 – inspiration spreads much faster than it did 30 years ago due to the digital revolution. Friends and family no longer wait for a postcard every few months telling of overseas adventures. Photos are shared instantly via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Skype. In this way backpackers are key influencers in terms of travel.
- The stereotype of the backpacker is changing. Backpackers now encompass many groups: a) The Golden Backpacker (the retired nomad or the SKI-ER ‘spending your kids inheritance’) b) The Flashpacker (independent travellers who like to indulge in a little more luxury). c) The Digital Nomad (those who take their career on the road and becoming location independent. d) The Asian Backpacker. With the rise of the middle class in countries such as China, young people now have the wealth, education and desire to travel.
- Due to the high demand from certain groups mentioned above – backpacker hostels in South East Asia are improving rapidly. There is a rise in the number of boutique hostels that excel in terms of design, facilities and technology. For example Lub d Bangkok, The Matchbox Hostel Singapore and Wink Hostel Singapore.
Digital Innovation Asia – China Boot Camp – June 2013
A new annual event, Digital Innovation Asia focuses on how technology can improve travel, looking specifically at new trends and developments in the industry. We were invited to share our observations about the increasing number of Chinese backpackers at their China Boot Camp Day! You can find out more about Digital Innovation’s events on Facebook here.
- Backpacking is fast becoming a ‘trend’ amongst the youth in China who now have the funds, education and more importantly, the desire to travel. The number of Chinese travellers to foreign countries jumped from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012. Many guesthouses and backpacker hostels have noticed an increase, in particular amongst solo female travellers.
- The Chinese backpacker is very different from the Western backpacker in terms of what they want to get out of their trip. Compared to the Western backpacker, their trip is more of an education rather than a rebellion. They prefer culture and shopping to partying, and prefer to stay in ‘flashpacker’ hostels. Safety is of utmost concern as many of the young backpackers are travelling under their parents guidance.
- Chinese backpackers have a much higher budget than the average Western backpacker which is why they can afford to stay in nicer hostels and shopping – buying goods that will work as status symbols back home to show that they have travelled the world. Many could afford to stay in a boutique hotel, but prefer hostels as they are social and provde a means to meet people.
- They are highly influenced by digital media and use sites such as Qunar, Suitcase Home and Doyouhike to plan their trip. Qyer is a Chinese language website where backpackers can download e-guide books and is very popular amongst independent travellers. They will also use social networking site Weibo constantly (Chinese Facebook) to share their experiences.
- Companies such as Lonely Planet and TNT are trying to reach Chinese backpackers by publishing digital guides in Mandarin. However, such companies must be careful to tailor the content to a very different traveller.