A recent study by Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest loyalty program of global travel and hospitality brand Hilton, surveyed 2,300 of the most avid travelers in Asia Pacific, and revealed a handful of top destinations these jetsetters are most looking forward to visiting in the next 12 months.
The study also revealed that elevated experiences, local culture and authenticity play an important role in attracting Asia Pacific travelers to visit a particular destination. If money were no object, it’s no surprise that “traveling the world” tops bucket lists – however the desire to try new experiences and connect with local culture were cited most as the important factors in deciding which destinations to visit.
We take a look at some of the destinations and experiences Asia Pacific travelers will likely be booking in 2020.
Land of the Rising Sun
Long prized for its culture, stunning landscapes and way of life, Japan consistently tops destination lists for many travelers around the world. For Asia Pacific travelers, Japan is the most popular country visited recently, and it is also the destination highest on their list to visit next. One out of every five avid Asia Pacific travelers has plans to visit Japan in the coming year – and with the highly anticipated Tokyo Olympics happening from 24 July–9 August, this number is only set to rise.
Unsurprisingly, its capital Tokyo topped the list of Japanese cities Asia Pacific travelers are most excited about visiting, followed closely by Osaka.
In both cities, highly unique cultural activities appeal to travelers looking to engage in immersive experiences, such as joining a sake brewery tour to learn more about Japan’s most iconic drink, or training to become a ninja for a day, complete with traditional costume and learning basic sword strokes.
Adventures Down Under
Australia comes in as a close second-favorite destination for Asia Pacific travelers. Indian travelers, in particular, see the continent as a bucket list destination – 31% of them want to visit Australia the most, and this far outstrips interest in any other country.
Australia is well known for its food and winery tours, adventure activities like skydiving and surfing, and wildlife, but it’s the beaches, landmarks and spectacular landscapes that have the most influence in travelers’ decision to visit Down Under in 2020.
The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland manages to combine all three elements. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is not just a bucket list destination for scuba divers either. Enjoy full-day reef snorkeling tours from Cairns, or see the magnificent coral reef system – stretching over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometers – from above on a thrilling helicopter ride.
K-pop and cooking in South Korea
Another destination that Asia Pacific travelers are most excited to visit in the next 12 months is South Korea.
With the unabating popularity of K-pop and K-dramas, it’s not surprising that local experiences around culture and food are key aspects that generate the most excitement among Asia Pacific travelers looking to visit South Korea. One survey respondent said: “When I watch a Korean drama, it makes me really want to go there… I’d eat the street food, ramyeon (Korean instant noodle dish) and drink soju!”
Seoul is by far the most popular city Asia Pacific travelers want to visit, followed by Jeju and Busan.
Travelers can immerse themselves in the local culture with experiences like visiting a seawater sauna or hot spring “water house” – where locals often go to refresh body and spirit – or even indulge in cooking and tea classes, to cook delicious authentic Korean food or learn more about tea culture respectively.
One of the most iconic aspects of Korean culture can also be embraced first-hand through a “Hallyu Star Makeup Class”. Learn about the makeup secrets, styles and beauty tips of Korean stars and celebrities during this session – which comes complete with a live makeup tutorial and interactive feedback.
To discover unique and memorable travel experiences like these and more, visit experiences.hiltonhonors.com.