ASEAN economy witness major tourism boom for rising middle class

Published on : Monday, March 20, 2017

planeAsia’s tourism industry has seen a major rise, all thanks to the rising incomes, low-cost air transport, and China’s growing outbound market.


According to the travel analysts, the rapid expansion is creating major challenges on infrastructure and destinations amid calls to boost spending and better manage tourism ‘flows’ to ensure long term sustainability.


Thailand is definitely one of the premier MICE destinations, which is booming and is emerging as a promising business travel destination. Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar are also seeing a lot of FDI and has a lot of construction in the pipeline. The Philippines is planning to invest $23 billion in tourism infrastructure over the next six years, including casino resorts, with the government aiming to double tourism’s contribution to the national economy, presently at 10 percent.


The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast tourism’s direct contribution to regional economies will grow by 5.6 percent over the ten years to 2025 to $528.7 billion. This is 12.6 percent of the region’s national output (GDP).


Tourism among the 10 nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) also employs directly or indirectly around 32 million people.


CLSA, a senior economist with investment house said that the investment outlook for tourism is also strong.


Kuala Lumpur based Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) says in 2016 Asia Pacific airlines carried a combined total of 293 million international passengers – up 6.0 percent from a year earlier. PATA also shared positive results which prove rapid growth in aviation. In fact, by the end of 2019, there is estimated 11,000 unique city pairs (departure and arrival) operating in the ASEAN region.


Travel experts suggest that while most countries have been eager to promote the China market, other regions, such as Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong, are looking to diversify this dependence on China.

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