PURPLE ROSE, 35, describes herself as a “corporate slave” with limited vacation leaves. She works in a large universal bank, shepherding inward remittances from Filipinos all over the world. But when she can get away, she flies abroad for vacations.
For her age, she is pretty much well traveled, having gone to several states in the US, Vancouver in Canada, and the nearby Asian cities of Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Bangkok and, most recently, Saigon.
She was 25, she said, when she went on her first vacation sans her parents and sibling: “That was in July 2006. I went to Hong Kong with my college barkada.” Aside from trips to abroad, she also frequently travels to local hot spots like Boracay, Dumaguete, Cebu and the like.
Purple Rose typifies most travelers these days—young, middle class, career-driven urban professionals who consider vacations a must-do every year. Local travel fairs and expos held anytime throughout the year have promotions geared particularly toward her age group and budget.
And for most travel agencies and tour operators, millennial travelers, those from the ages 18 to 35, are an expanding market for their business, which build up more profit for them.
Aileen Clemente, president and chairman of Rajah Travel Corp., projects her company revenues to increase by 15 percent to 20 percent in 2018, because of the long-term corporate planning they have undertaken, and also because of the diverse products it offers, especially for the youth outbound travel market.
She told the BusinessMirror in an interview: “We are in a good position [to achieve our targets], as we have really planned for the long-term evolution of our business. We are not your traditional travel agency, but we value the relationship with our clients. We are not perfect, but we adjust. We keep the humanity of our transactions and still take advantage of new technology.”
Also, she said, the company expects this growth “because we have diverse products coming up as well. Apart from Contiki Holidays, which is popular among those 18 to 35 years of age, we are also selling ‘U by Uniworld’ for those aged 21 to 45 years. These are river cruises for the youth.” Cruises for ‘U by Uniworld’ start in April 2018.
According to the United Nations, Asia is home to 1.4 billion millennials—defined as those between 15 and 34 years of age—35 million of whom are in the Philippines. Often described as the “techie generation”, several studies indicate that about 85 percent of millennials look to social media for travel inspiration, and 96 percent will post about their travel experiences on social media.
But Clemente dispels notions that the young make their travel reservations purely online because of the easily available technology and travel products and hospitality companies now having gone online.
“They still go to travel agencies because there are many who want to experience something unique,” she stressed. As most young people are, millennials are an adventurous bunch.
“Millennials go everywhere,” she asserted. “For our Contiki Holidays and U by Uni-world, they join tours and tourists from other countries. So the tour itself is very international. And they build friendships along the way. Most of these tours are in Europe, although we also have some in Australia-New Zealand, the United States, Canada and South America.”
Many of the activities on these youth tours include biking, hiking, going up in hot-air balloons, etc. “They also may have pajama parties on board the river cruise,” she cited as other example of youth-oriented activities.
For another, Clemente said Contiki “also owns an island in Mykonos, and also a chateau in France. So the accommodations in these tours are also not the typical places youth travelers stay in,” such as youth hostels or pension inns.
Under Contiki Holidays, Rajah offers Camping Classics, which allows travelers to get in touch with nature at secure Contiki campsites; Concept Tours, with accommodations in exclusive Contiki villas and chateaus; and Time-out Tours, which offers comfortable travel at centrally located hotels with excellent facilities.
“U” by Uniworld is an affiliate of Contiki Holidays, and offers cruises down the
Rhine, Danube and Seine rivers, passing through Amsterdam to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Regensburg, Regensburg to Budapest, around Paris and around Budapest.
Contiki Holidays, including U by Uniworld, tours cost anywhere from $835 to over $3,000 per person, depending on the destination, and may last from five to 24 days.
A global Nielsen report on millennial travelers published recently said: “Unlike older generations that historically may have traveled for work or for special occasions like the annual family trip, millennials are untethered when it comes to getting away. In fact, millennials who travel say they will make a long-haul trip at least twice a year, and one-third say they make four long-haul trips each year.”
With the list of Philippine holidays out, Purple Rose says she is already on the lookout for airline promo fares and researching online for new destinations she has yet to explore. “I’m thinking of going to Europe next year,” she smiles, dreaming of what unique travel adventures lie ahead for her.