The Korea Herald


Millennials and Gen Z travelers willing to splurge on 'experience-driven' tours: survey

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Aug. 23, 2023 - 15:49

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A tourist visits Gyeongbokgung in Seoul. (123rf) A tourist visits Gyeongbokgung in Seoul. (123rf)

Unique experiences are the factor most likely to influence the travel decisions of millennials and Gen Zs, according to a recent survey from travel and leisure online platform Klook.

The Klook Travel Pulse survey, carried out in July by the market research firm Milieu, encompassed 2,400 participants from 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, mainland China and India.

The survey indicates that 1 in 3 millennial and Gen Z travelers are willing to spend more than twice the average monthly income in Asia, which stands at $1,069, on their next holiday. This translates to an amount exceeding $2,000. The survey further suggests that 1 in 5 Gen Z travelers is willing to spend more than $3,000 on travel, while 1 in 4 millennials would do the same.

Evidently, millennials and Generation Zs place considerable emphasis on “new experiences" as the key highlight of their travel journeys. In pursuit of this objective, 63 percent of respondents said proactively book their experiences ahead of their trips.

The survey also highlights the impact of social media on the behavior of travelers.

Social media emerges as the top source for Gen Z voyagers, with more than half using the platform to discover new destinations and experiences. In contrast, 59 percent of millennials still show a tendency for using search engines.

Among the most widely used social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok take the lead. Among respondents from South Korea, 85 percent identified Instagram as their primary source for travel planning, while TikTok garnered 40 percent and Facebook 38 percent.

The survey found that 9 out of 10 millennials and Gen Z travelers check online reviews before finalizing their bookings. They also actively seek out travel-related content recommendations on social media during their vacation planning process.

Findings show that creating social media-worthy content holds the greatest importance for a large majority of travelers. Respondents from India, the Philippines and mainland China consider this as one of the main reasons for travel.

As demand for international travel continues to rise, the majority of millennials and Gen Z travelers across Asia Pacific are transitioning into “intentional travel planners.” Notably, 65 percent of respondents make their travel preparations at least two to six months in advance.

For those embarking on trips to Korea, prominent options include the Nami Island tour, visits to the DMZ and historical sites, partaking in a hanbok experience, and enjoying a cruise along the Han River.

Meanwhile, the top three destinations on the travel wish list of respondents are Japan, Thailand and Singapore. Korean respondents expressed their preferences in the order of Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

Klook's COO and co-founder, Eric Gnock Fah, highlights that "distinctive experiences and activities" are given precedence in travel blueprints, with 85 percent of travelers willing to invest in experiences during their holidays. An emerging generation of travelers exhibit a growing desire for authentic experiences that are fueled by social media over conventional sources like travel search engines and guidebooks, Fah added.