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We may be seeing a new breed of Asian traveler in 2020, one who is more introspective than socially outward-looking.

Online searches of Asian tourists seem to show an overriding theme: They want to connect with themselves, and travel is a means to do that.

And it’s not just a “me, myself, and I” thing. It’s about making a real connection to the destination, not worrying about the noise of the world — enough of the trade war and other bad news — and enjoying the bliss of tuning out what’s trending on social media, avoiding crowded places, being in the moment, and, yes, going it alone.

Slow and solo travel is winning the race, as our report below shows. Escape is not just the physical act of leaving the familiar to see the world, but the more incorporeal need to discover oneself in the world.

The new Asian traveler is also a better traveler because she is aware of tourism’s dark side — and is making choices that will mitigate the negative impact on the environment. Measures include offsetting carbon emissions, visiting destinations that are culturally and environmentally responsible, or upholding one’s own green practices such as using public transport or walking to experience a destination better, according one of the reports.

What is clear is that the first wave of Asian free independent travelers, many of whom are repeats, are maturing even more. Don’t forget, however, that Asia is a huge and diverse outbound travel market, and there remain significant numbers of first-time travelers whose desire is simply to go sightseeing in the world.

— Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia Editor, rh@skift.com, @RainiHamdi

Skift Stories and More Expert Insights

Asian Travelers to Go Slow and Solo in 2020, Online Searches Reveal: Asian tourist behavior is changing, reflecting a more mindful, and responsible traveler overall.

Accor Sells Half of Its Stake in Huazhu as Chinese Partner Eyes Europe: Has Accor’s partnership with Huazhu worn out its usefulness given the Chinese hotel giant has built a strong positioning in the economy and midscale segments in China? Huazhu now wants to focus on luxury and upper upscale, along with international expansion starting in Europe.

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AirAsia Group Launches Yet Another New Route: Music: Go on, roll your eyes. When you’re done, think again and you might see the strategic value of AirAsia’s grand music masterplan.

Amazon Adds Bus Tickets in India in Pursuit of Superapp Strategy: Slowly but surely Amazon is building up a considerable travel presence in India via its app. How deep and far will it eventually decide to go?

How Thomas Cook’s European Businesses Are Now Divvied Up Among Rivals: Thomas Cook collected its fair share of brands over the years. Now rivals are picking over what remains of the group.

The Rise and Fall of Mark Okerstrom as Expedia CEO: Mark Okerstrom’s time as CEO of Expedia Group ended abruptly Wednesday after merely two years. Here’s a recap of Okerstrom’s tenure and why controlling investor Barry Diller felt Okerstrom failed to keep an eye on the ball.

What Does Online Travel Really Mean by a ‘Connected Trip’? Creating the connected trip means online travel agencies will have to become high-powered, tech-first, traditional travel agencies. It sounds cool but probably isn’t feasible without major upheaval across the global travel market.

Battling Executive Burnout in the 24/7 Travel Business: Burnout is everywhere in our precarious global economy, but it’s especially pronounced in the travel and hospitality industry. Knowing the reasons why can help prevent it from taking over.

Hotels Experiment With Reducing Food Waste: Will All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Be History? Hotels are known for wanting to please their guests, and feeding them is one way of doing it. But food waste deteriorates the environment. Hotels are making an effort to cut down on it. So they are earning praise for trying, but they have a long way to go.

Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [rh@skift.com] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Photo Credit: Boracay: No crowds. Stella Arnaldo / Skift