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