The Top Ten Asia/Pacific Travel Trends for 2011

Tour operator Asia Transpacific Journeys offers its take on what the travel industry can expect next year By: Naz Papen
According to tour operator Asia Transpacific Journeys, ancient 
destinations such as Cambodia's Angkor Wat are finding renewed interest 
According to tour operator Asia Transpacific Journeys, ancient destinations such as Cambodia's Angkor Wat are finding renewed interest among travelers. // © 2010 Asia Transpacific Journeys

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Read TravelAge West editors predictions for 2011 travel trends

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Asia Transpacific Journeys
With the New Year right around the corner, Asia Transpacific Journeys (ATJ), a tour company specializing exclusively in small-group trips and custom vacations in the Asia/ Pacific region, recently forecast its travel trends and predictions for this part of the globe.

1. Sri Lanka Is an Emerging Travel Destination

Having had a 36 percent increase in arrivals over the last year, Sri Lanka has recently displayed the highest growth in the Asia/Pacific region. Home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, unique cuisines and impressive new architecture, along with serene off-shore islands, this culturally rich destination is increasingly offering explorative travelers a world of opportunities, according to ATJ.

2. More Travelers Seek Authenticity

Clients are exhibiting an ever-increasing desire to experience cultures and histories unlike their own. ATJ suggests clients attend festivals and holidays such as the local summer festival celebrating the birthday of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in the northern Himalaya, or the Tumbuna Sing-Sing in Papua New Guinea.

3. Ancient Destinations Are Being Revisited

Beckoning the curious traveler for sometime now, the world-famous ruins of Cambodia's Angkor Wat now offer clients even more mystery and delight. A number of "lost" temples in the Sambor Prei Kul area will take travelers beyond the frequently explored Angkor Wat, allowing them to step into an unfamiliar past.

4. Life-Changing Sabbaticals
In today's high-paced, stressful world it is difficult to recognize anything outside of an overbooked day planner. ATJ identified sabbatical trips as a way for travelers to put things back into perspective while giving them a break from their hectic day-to-day routine. Whether it's visiting northern Laos to take part in a literacy program or working in a soup kitchen in Dehli, for instance, ATJ advises travel professionals to emphasize the long-lasting rewards of a tailored life changing travel experience.  

5. The "Human Touch"

By counteracting the sweeping trend of online booking, ATJ is urging the importance of the "personal" in personalized travel arrangements. Clients are becoming more and more interested in verbally interacting with travel agents as opposed to pointing and clicking their way to a vacation.

6. Novel Experiences
With book groups and novel-to-film conversions on the rise, travel agencies need look no further than their local bookstore to partake in the new travel trend: trips based off of books. Novels such as The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones based in China or Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert set in both India and Bali, provide the perfect background for an exploratory tour.

7. Traveling in Style
Though clients are most interested in traveling and sightseeing while abroad, there is nothing comparable to a comfortable and relaxing night's rest in a luxury hotel. ATJ recommends having clients stay in hotels such as the Banyan Tree, Lijiang (Yunnan) in China whose luxurious villas and convenient location near the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Lijiand make it a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World. Other recommendations include Uma, Paro,
Bhutan; 4 Rivers Floating Ecolodge in Koh Kong, Cambodia and Ceylon Tea Trails in Bogawantalawa Valley, Sri Lanka.   

8. Vow Renewals on the Upswing
As the baby-boomer generation approaches milestone anniversaries, the industry has taken note of the recent increase in vow-renewal ceremonies. According to Marilyn Downing-Staff, ATJ founder and president, many couples are interested in restating their "I dos" in exotic locales such as India and Bhutan.

9. Modern Art in Japan
Boasting avant-garde museums and imaginative post-modern art movements, Tokyo has become a world-class art destination, offering clients a new and interesting way to explore this booming city. From the National Art Center to the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo has become a locale for art connoisseurs and right-brained individuals from all around the world.

10. Expeditious Arrivals and Departures

With a plethora of international destinations, ATJ predicts an increase in demand for meet-and-greet services, aiding clients upon initial arrival and departure. This way, clients are able to transform an otherwise frustrating 45-minute wait into a hassle-free five-minute exchange and dedicate more time to travel or settling in back home.
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