ILTM Asia: ‘Rainbow tourists’ to shape luxury

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High-end travel will be driven by the emergence of ‘rainbow tourists’ from multi-cultural origins in the future, according to Ho Kwon Ping, the founder of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.

Speaking at the opening forum of ILTM Asia 2012 in Shanghai, Ho said the new wave of tourists from emerging BRIC markets would soon challenge the dominance of high-end travellers from Europe and the US.

 “This emerging group of rainbow tourists is looking for authenticity and sustainability in the destinations that they visit,” he said. “Tourism should be seen as a force for good, and the overriding drive of hotel operators should be to remain faithful to their local identities and provide an authentic experience of their heritage and culture.”

Ho warned however, that it was important that operators did not create areas catering specifically to the individual needs and tastes of different nationalities.

His comments came as research from ILTM recognised new ‘tribes’ in the travelling market, including ‘New Sophisticates’ who value experience over status; ‘Status Hunters’ who want to see behind the scenes and online-savvy affluent ‘Young Guns’.

Culture is undoubtedly one of the most important influencers on luxury travel choices. The new groups of high end travellers we have now identified are not necessarily defined by region but by their cultural behaviour and needs,” said Alison Gilmore, exhibition director of ILTM Asia.

Others included the touring ‘Luxe Pack’ who travel with extended family or friends; professional women from India travelling alone (‘Single Saris’); ‘Luxury Pilgrims’; ‘Frugal Millonaires’ who want five-star luxury with economy elements and ‘Ultra-Honeymooners’ who spend £200,000 on wedding/honeymoon packages. 

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