Published on : Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Malaysia’s travel trade is witnessing increasing demand for adventure travel, fuelled by well-travelled Asians looking for deeper experiences, better air connectivity between cities and secondary destinations, and superior infrastructure in rural areas.
Soft adventures are especially in demand among Asian travelers who are eager to pay for authentic experiences, said delegates at the recently ended PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2020 in Sabah.
The conference and travel mart, held by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and hosted by Tourism Malaysia, with the support of Sabah Tourism and Malaysia Airlines, witnessed 347 delegates from 33 destinations.
Langkawi-based Junglewalla Tours founder, Irshad Mobarak, said that his company saw an increase in the number of Asian guests from Singapore, South Korea, Japan and the domestic Malaysian market over the last five years.
Mobarak said: “Most are made up of FITs, nuclear and multi-generational families, and they appreciate an educational element in the programme as they also hope to learn something new. They like soft adventures, such as bird watching, wildlife spotting, kayaking and trekking to a waterfall, and opportunities to visit a local’s house for a home-cooked meal, unlike our European guests from France and Germany who engage us for hardcore adventure activities.”
He said a key difference between Asian guests and the company’s traditional European market is that the former do not bargain regarding prices. Mobarak added, “Europeans tend to ask for discounts. They want a high-quality experience for a low price.”
Travelers like knowing that they are “positively contributing to the surrounding environment” while using sustainable tourism suppliers.
Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry, with a global market value of US$586.3 billion in 2018. The figure is expected to reach US$1.6 trillion in 2026.