The Jakarta Post
As technology changes the tourist industry, with younger generations of tourists loving to use the Internet and social media, business players are being encouraged to better prepare their business models to tap into emerging travel demands.
"There's a huge explosion of young people in Asia and business players have to be prepared," Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said in Jakarta on Tuesday on the sidelines of an event that was a prelude to TravelRave 2014, Asia's premier tourism and travel week, which will be held from Oct. 27-31.
According to a joint study by the STB, Visa and McKinsey & Company, approximately 60 percent of the world's so-called Millennial Generation (those born after 1980) reside in Asia, with a third originating from China or India.
The data also said that driven by income growth, the expenditure of Millennials (as people from this generation are known) in Asia on international travel is expected to increase 1.6 times to US$340 billion by 2020.
"I think preparedness starts from awareness and I see a lot of awareness in the [tourist and travel] industry because there's a lot of conversations and efforts to understand how important digital strategy is in the business," she said.
In addition, Panorama Group CEO Budi Tirtawisata who attended the discussion said that innovation was key to tapping this growing market and his group was committed to adapting to the market.
"We have to come up with products that are suitable for the market and we have set aside more investment for our e-commerce business. In online hotel bookings alone, we have already set up rajakamar.com and bookpanorama.com," Budi said.
He also said his company had a lot of different reward programs and late deal discounts to appeal to Millennials as well as to maintain their loyalty to the company in the future.
It is estimated that the size of the Facebook user base in Indonesia ranks only behind those in the US, India and Brazil.
Meanwhile for Twitter, Indonesia is the fifth-largest user in the world, showing the potential of the digital tourism marketing business in the country, he said.
However, human capital and infrastructure remained big barriers to developing the digital travel industry in Indonesia.
"I think other countries are facing similar challenges like us. But I am optimistic that the next Cabinet will pay more attention to the tourism and creative industry since this is the sector generates a lot of income for the country," he added.
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