Rising middle class boosts ASEAN tourism sector

Published on : Tuesday, March 7, 2017

chinese-touristsThe tourism sector of Asia is currently on a roll, catapulted towards the upward mark by the rising incomes of the middle class, the growing outbound market of China as well as low-cost airlines transportation.


However, analysts state that the rapid expansion is also exerting pressure on the travel destinations and the tourism infrastructure.


No wonder, there are now calls to manage tourism ‘flows’ better with an aim to ensure long term sustainability. John Koldowsk, a travel industry analyst and lecturer at Thammasat University asserted that the tourism outlook is quite strong in various regional markets. He added that presently, Thailand is booming.


In addition, Vietnam is experiencing substantial growth.


But, the growth rate is dropping in Myanmar and Cambodia despite the high amount of foreign direct investment (FDI).


According to the official statistics provided by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the direct contribution of tourism to the regional economies would grow by 5.6% over the following 10 years to 2025 to about $528.7 billion. This represents about 12.6% of the GDP of the region.


The tourism among the 10 country ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) directly or indirectly provides employment to nearly 32 million people.


A senior economist with an investment house known an CLSA has also reported that the investment outlook for the tourism segment is also quite strong. The Council also said that the spending on travel and tourism infrastructure would be the key to meeting with the demand.


The Philippines is trying to invest nearly $23 billion in tourism infrastructure over the following six years.


This includes casino resorts. And, the government has been aiming to double the contribution of tourism to the national economy, that presently stand at 10%.


Oliver Lamb who is associated with the Pacific Aviation Consulting said that the regional economic progress has triggered a massive tourism growth. The middle class is estimated to grow to 400 million people from the current 190 million in the upcoming decade.


However, Lamb has also added that the growth has also resulted in the creation of other challenges in aviation such as inadequately skilled ground personnel and infrastructure.


PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) has mentioned that the rapid growth in tourism economies is quite visible in the field of aviation. This is because in this sphere by the end of the year 2019, there would be nearly 11,000 unique city pairs (both arrival and departure) operating in the region. This marks a growth of nearly more than 20% in 2016 figures.


The World Travel and Tourism Council has declared that Chinese economy had been a spectator to ‘spectacular growth’ especially in the outbound travel market.


The tourists from China comprise about a quarter of the total international arrivals into Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei. And, the Council has also added that ASEAN would account for about 50% of total travel and tourism infrastructure spending between the year 2016 and 2026.


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