Southeast Asia sees 3.1 million more tourists so far this year

ASEAN+ October 30, 2012 00:00

By Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Asian tourism industry 'to grow 10% in 10 years, create 328 million jobs'


Southeast Asia reported a strong start this year with a growth of 9 per cent and an increase of 3.1 million additional international visitors. Most of these visitors come from the Americas, Europe and Asia, which account for 90 per cent of international arrivals.
The optimism in the Asian travel and tourism industry was shared by industry leaders and movers during the annual TravelRave 2012 held in Singapore recently.
Neeta Lachmandas, Singapore Tourism Board’s assistant chief executive officer, sees that by the year 2020, global spending on tourism – whether inbound or outbound – will grow by 40 per cent.
“It is important for us to create a platform for travel industry leaders and players and harness the goodness in Asia,” she said during a press conference. “It is equally important to embrace the challenges and because Asian tourists are different in their own ways, we have to start strategising and collaborating.”
TravelRave 2012 was also the venue for the annual ITB Asia’s Trade Show for the Asian Travel Market running in its fifth year. The dynamic travel market is evident with a significant increase of 15 per cent from last year among participants from 72 countries.
“We saw double-digit growth in all segments of the show,” says Martin Buck, vice president, Messe Berlin Singapore, organiser of ITB Asia.
David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), says “WTTC is forecasting growth for the overall region of almost 6 per cent in 2012, which is triple the growth of Europe. There are variations within the region with strength in China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines compensating for the weaker growth in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, but the overall picture is one of dramatic growth over both the short term and long term.”
He added that in 10 years there would be a 9- to 10-per-cent growth in the industry, creating about 328 million jobs. For the travel industry to flourish even more, governments and players need to focus on addressing challenges such as taxation, visas and sustainability.
He encouraged government agencies to simplify visa applications. “We want electronic visas and visas on arrival,” he said. “The United States lost $600 billion [Bt18.4 trillion] in tourism in the last 10 years due to visa refusal.”
Lachmandas said the mass affluent class or high-end mass market – especially those from China, India and Indonesia – generate more outbound travel posting $300 billion. “There is a huge appetite for travel,” she said. “And this opens far more opportunities.”

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