CHINA, a destination traditionally more popular with the silver-haired crowd, is striking gold with young Singapore travellers as growing LCC services into the country vamp up the appeal of secondary cities.
Eileen Oh, marketing and communications head at ASA holidays, said: “Five years ago, most of our travellers to China were aged 40 and above. But today, as more LCCs start to ply routes to and from China, we are seeing more customers below 35 years old travelling to China, be it by themselves or with their families.”
Chan Brothers Travel marketing and communications manager, Jane Chang, observed: “While travellers over the age of 55 constitute over 60 per cent of our bookings to China, market trends also hint at the growing appeal of China to younger independent travellers below 35.”
But demographics are not the only thing to have changed for Singapore’s outbound market to China, with more heading to previously less accessible destinations such as Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang and Tianjin with cheaper flights by budget carriers, Chang pointed out.
Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary, Scoot, debuted thrice-weekly direct flights to its fourth Chinese destination, Nanjing, in June. Scoot also flies to Tianjin, Qingdao and Shenyang.
Earlier this month, Singapore-based Jetstar Asia announced additional direct flights to Shantou and Hangzhou, raising frequencies of the services to four- and five-times-weekly respectively.
“LCCs help to introduce second- and third-tier cities that will appeal to youngsters who are more adventurous as they want to learn more about the food, culture and history in China,” said Alex Tan, head of sourcing (Asia), Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA).
“Also, with the high-speed rail system, it becomes much easier to connect to different cities that are less heard of.”
Chan Brothers’ Chang concurred, saying: “Younger independent travellers want to earn ‘street cred’ for uncovering the quaintest village off the beaten track, while others just want to soak up the one-of-a-kind experiences in exotic destinations.”
Alicia Seah, senior vice president of marketing and PR, CTC Travel, said LCCs have helped to push down ticket prices by full-fledged carriers.
“LCCs not only generate interest in new (destination) cities, they have also helped to drive competitive pricing among full-service airlines which do not want to lose out on this emerging market,” she explained.
- Read more in TTG Show Daily - PATA Travel Mart 2013