No Surprise: Food Experience Remains a Must-Do for Asian Travellers

A survey conducted by community hospitality company Airbnb revealed in its latest Asia Pacific Travel Survey that Asian travellers are very keen to try local cuisine. According to the survey, Asian travellers are getting more adventurous with 71 percent of people surveyed emphasising the importance of trying local cuisines on vacation, and 6 out of 10 travellers keen to try new experiences or activities.

Talking about the Kitchens of Asia initiative, Siew Kum-Hong, Regional Director, Asia Pacific, Airbnb said, Our survey has shown that people across the region, irrespective of age or gender, have a desire to really experience the places that they travel to, not just visit. Food is such an influence on destination decision-making, and is also one of the easiest ways that you can immerse yourself into a local culture or community whether travelling with your family and friends, or alone.”

The Airbnb APAC Travel survey, which was conducted in seven countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – found that 71% Indians are most likely to want to try local food, in comparison to 58% of travellers from South Korea.

Women travellers from India (74%), China (73%), Japan (80%), Singapore (84%), South Korea (59%) and Thailand (69%), are more inclined to sample local cuisine than their male counterparts. The only exception is Australia where 76% of men are more keen to try local dishes compared to 71% of women.

Millennials are more open to trying new cuisines compared to their aged counterparts.

In Australia (77%), China (65%), India (72%), Japan (83%), Singapore (79%) and South Korea (59%), the 18-24 year old age group is most open to new ideas and the importance of trying local foods. 18-24 year old age group females in APAC are more likely to try local food (77%) than 35-44 year olds (69%). However, their male counterparts become more experimental with food in the age group of 35-44 years, with 73%, compared to only 64% of males aged 25-34.

However, more than 80 percent of Airbnb listings in APAC have kitchen facilities, allowing travellers the flexibility of preparing their own meals whether they are staying in a treehouse, beach villa, loft apartment or cozy city flat.

One fifth of solo travellers cook on vacation, compared to 46% of family travellers

When vacationing with families, travellers do not always have the opportunity to explore the local food scene. In fact, the survey revealed that 46% of family travellers across APAC are likely to cook in their accommodation, as compared to one-fifth (21%) of solo travellers.

There are some regional variations in the findings, with family groups traveling from Japan (23%) least likely to cook. On the other hand, 46%, 47%, 64% and 66% of Indian, Chinese, Thai and South Korean travellers would be more likely to cook in their accommodation when they are traveling with their families.

Trying new experiences and activities

As well as wanting to try local cuisine, the survey found that 59% of all APAC travellers interviewed want to try new activities or experiences on holiday. This rises to 70% for Singaporeans, 68% for Indians and 65% for Australian travellers who are keen to try something different and new. Japanese travellers are the least likely to embrace new activities and adventures at 31%.

Taking from these insights, Airbnb Asia Pacific under its ‘Kitchens of Asia’ initiative has partnered with renowned chefs in four Asia Pacific markets. Chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent  (India); Chef Tony Yoo (South Korea); Chef Ian Kittichai (Thailand); and Chef Koh Kentetsu (Japan) to encourage travellers to try and prepare authentic Asian dishes and delicacies that capture the flavours of India, Japan, South Korea and Thailand on their next vacation on Airbnb.

The  chefs along with Airbnb hosts in each of the market will share easy recipes which anyone can recreate using ten ingredients or less or in under thirty minutes.