ONE in 10 of all tourism investment dollars is forecast to go into Asean countries over the next decade, according to new research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The council said investment spending would be dominated (95 per cent) by five major destinations – Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia – which together accounted for over 80 per cent of Asean’s international arrivals and tourism contribution to gross domestic product.
The study, “Travel & Tourism Investment in Asean”, looked at the years 2016 to 2026.
Travel and tourism investment in Asean over the next decade is forecast to total US$782 billion (Bt27.4 trillion), or 7.4 per cent of all investment in the region. This represents growth of 6.3 per cent per year, nearly 2 percentage points faster than the global average, WTTC said.
Some countries may fall short of investment in infrastructure
However it said that given the strong demand for travel to this region, some countries were still at risk of not investing enough to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of the forecast tourism |growth.
The report highlights the investment needed in Asean to support the region’s forecast travel and tourism growth over the next decade.
Asean is one of the world’s most tourism-dependent regions. The industry contributes 12.4 per cent of GDP, nearly 4 per cent above most other world regions. However, according to the report, Asean’s tourism infrastructure currently only ranks ahead of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.
As such the outlook across the 10 constituent countries of Asean is mixed. Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines are classified as “infrastructure-constrained”.
Forecast investment is not deemed to be sufficient to ensure that poor existing infrastructure can be improved to meet the needs of future tourism demand and to maintain competitiveness.
Vietnam and Laos are identified as having “improving infrastructure and growth prospects” although future investment will need to be channelled effectively and targeted at priority areas.
Thailand needs investment focus
Thailand is the only country classified as “future focus critical”, where relatively strong existing infrastructure and future demand growth need to be supported by a continued investment focus.
Malaysia and Brunei are expected to balance future infrastructure investment needs with forecast demand growth.
Singapore and Indonesia are classified as “having high levels of infrastructure spending and forecast growth that should allow them |to sustain projected levels of demand”.
David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer of the WTTC, said: “Our research shows that investment in infrastructure is critical to the future sustainability of travel and tourism. As one of the fastest-growing tourism markets, public and private sector leaders across Asean must prioritise tourism investment and channel it effectively to ensure the region’s infrastructure can meet this increasing demand.”
WTTV said Singapore and Indonesia were leading the way in terms of their infrastructure development but across Asean much more was required.
For some countries this might mean expanding capacity through increasing visitor accommodation, airport capacity and tourist facilities while others need to maintain and enhance their current infrastructure, it said.