UPDATED May 3, 2016
Every Filipino millennial we know dreams of visiting Europe, but our survey shows a Eurotrip is not the only journey that is on their bucket list this year.
We’ve asked 273 Filipino millennials born 1977 to 1998 to understand what destinations young local travelers seek to explore this year.
The result is a combination of popular answers and emerging destinations that we’ve not expected.
Yes, Filipino millennials want to go to France, U.S., and Brazil, but they’re also dreaming of nearby Asian destinations like Japan and South Korea and beyond the traditional ones, towards volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the land of the Kiwis, and home of the Incas.
After crunching the numbers, here are the Top 18:
More than 15% of all answers referred to either Japan or a Japanese city like Tokyo and Osaka. The desire is a result of several factors: better destination awareness thanks to blogs and word of mouth combined with relaxed visa policy, weak Yen, cheap flights, and easier access to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Narita (Tokyo), and Haneda (Tokyo) from Manila or Cebu. READ: Ways to enjoy cheap travel in Tokyo
Last year, the number of Filipinos traveling to Japan grew by 46%, according to data from the Japan Tourism Organization.
2. United States of America
Millennials identified 13 destinations they want to go to in the U.S., from Disneyland in California to Washington D.C. The most popular is still New York, which ranks second with London in the survey’s city ranking. Last year, the Big Apple has become more accessible from Manila with the introduction of direct connections by Philippine Airlines.
With France and its destinations covering nearly 10% of answers, the appeal of a romantic getaway in Paris, Tuscany, or the country in general is still high despite recent unfortunate events. Paris itself is the most sought after city based on the survey, beating London, New York, and Rome.
4. South Korea
With the popularity of Hallyu (Korean Wave) and more than a million Koreans traveling to the Philippines each year, it’s no wonder why Filipinos have naturally become curious about the country host of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
South Korea’s tourism agency has recently embarked on a campaign to promote medical tourism to Filipinos.
5. United Kingdom
In 2014, there were 64.2% more Filipino travelers to the U.K. than the previous year, spending around 22 days and £895 per person, according to Visit Britain. The most popular time to travel were April to June and October to December, while holiday, business, and VFR (visit family and friends) drive travel to the U.K. (Update: Preliminary data from Visit Britain, however, shows a fall in arrivals in January-September 2015.)
As the country with the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (50), Italy is desired by travelers for its architecture, culture, food, natural scenery, and la dolce vita.
Although some would say the Philippines has equally beautiful seas and beaches, that doesn’t stop Filipino millennials from dreaming of a Maldivian vacation. In fact, according to Maldives’ tourism ministry, the number of Filipino travelers to this country rose by 77.8% in 2014 compared to the previous year!
Maldives has a unique recall to the luxury and aspirational travel market so much so that at least one high-end resort in Palawan brands itself “Maldives-inspired”.
And 2016 may just be the perfect time to visit this country of 26 atolls. With an economy driven mainly by tourism, the government declared this year as Visit Maldives 2016 to attract 1.5 million (high-paying) travelers.
Millennials are lured by the promise of a picturesque morning in Santorini or a walk back in time at the Acropolis. But could there another reason, say, traveling to show solidarity?
As Greece struggles to pay off its debts, tourists have been encouraged to travel to Greece to help the economy. It could be a win-win situation for budget travelers, too, as prices have gone down, although there are some precautions to keep in mind.
Australia mounted successful publicity campaigns over the past years that left a mark on millennials around the globe. One of these was The Best Jobs in the World, a competition whose winners were recruited by Tourism Australia to travel-related jobs like taste master, park ranger, and lifestyle photographer.
In 2014, Cebu Pacific introduced a budget option between Manila and Sydney, improving accessibility to the Land Down Under. In fact, the number of Filipino visitors to Australia in 2015 increased by 19%, says Tourism Australia.
10. New Zealand
In December 2015, Philippine Airlines introduced flights between the Philippines and Middle-earth (New Zealand, rather) via Cairns, Australia.
Although seen as an expensive destination, New Zealand is actually a hot spot for millennials, with 22% of tourists aged between 18 and 29 years old, says Tourism New Zealand.
While Peru is popular for Macchu Picchu and Nazca Lines, the South American country is slowly rising as a culinary destination. Last year, it hosted a global conference on culinary tourism pretty much like the Spanish-led Madrid Fusion in Manila. Peruvian cuisine is also getting its fair share of followers among foodies in Manila.
Rio de Janeiro will have the world’s attention this year as it hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. Beyond Rio, other destinations like Sao Paulo, Foz du Iguacu (near Iguazu Falls), and Salvador are popular options as well for tourists.
Despite the picturesque views of Canadian landscape, the number of Filipinos traveling to Canada has actually declined. In January-September 2015, Filipino visits shrank by 12.9% than the same period in 2014, according to Destination Canada.
Like much of Europe, Germany is gifted with rich heritage and culture seen across cities and the countryside. It is home to several popular amusement parks as well, including Europa-Park, featuring country-themed sections of rides and attractions similar to the old Nayong Pilipino concept; Lego Deutscheland; and the Autostadt, Volkswagen’s automotive park.
For a city-state slightly bigger than Metro Manila, Singapore continues to add attractions and activities to the delight of return tourists. These include the new National Gallery and the 328-hectare eco-resort Funtasy Island, which, though technically within Indonesian territory, is just 30 minutes away by ferry from Harbour Front.
Last year, the World Economic Forum announced Spain as the most competitive tourism destination in the world, dethroning Switzerland.
Spain is actively promoting its destinations to millennials, highlighting a broad range of activities such as parties in Ibiza, culinary journey in Basque, and biking along the pilgrim’s route to Compostela de Santiago.
Thailand continues to be a popular destination for Filipinos especially millennials who can relatively afford the trip and combine Thailand in a Southeast Asian tour that include Myanmar and Cambodia.
Emerging destinations in Thailand include Kanchanaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan especially Hua Hin, and Saraburi, says the founders of the online travel portal, TakeMeTour.
If you’ve watched the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, chances are high that Iceland has found its way into your bucket list.
This island where fire, ice, and 329,000 people coexist over a land slightly smaller than Luzon is the off-the-beaten track that today’s young travelers yearn for.
To reach Iceland, find a plane to Europe and connect to a flight to Reykjavik from hubs like Amsterdam and London.