Despite a worldwide financial crisis, the travel and tourism sector in Asia continues to show robust signs of growth, bolstered by important shifts in demographics, a burgeoning middle class, a positive adoption of technology and much more besides.
The latest projections from the World Tourism Organisation show that tourism in Asia will continue to grow at a healthy four to 6% in 2012, higher than the global tourism growth rate of 3-4%.
Further evidence comes from travel industry research company PhoCusWright, which found that Asia Pacific has taken over the United States and ranked after Europe as the world’s second-largest travel market last year.
If you factor in traditional markets of North American and Europe are maturing, it is easy to see how emerging markets will continue to drive growth in the travel and tourism industry.
Future consumers are more likely to come from China or India than from Europe and other traditional source markets, and new markets have emerged with Vietnam, Thailand and even Myanmar, whose economic liberalisation has drawn much interest from foreign investors.
Growing business in this region is at the forefront of most leaders’ minds, and with investors from within and outside Asia gradually expanding their footprint in the world’s largest and most populous continent, it is clear why the economic forecast for Asia is looking so rosy.
Having said this, a keen sense of the opportunities in Asia is crucial for businesses leaders who are looking to expand their reach and maintain their competitive edge.
Spotlight on Southeast Asia
With China leading growth in the region, emerging markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam have also been key in driving strong growth in the region.
This is in part due to rising domestic demand for travel an increase in intra-Asia travel. A forecast on travel demand from Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) suggest that intra-Asia traffic alone will fuel annual growth of around 7.5% into Asia Pacific, adding more than 76-million additional arrivals to the region by 2013.
The report also reveals that within Asia, Southeast Asia is poised to be the sub-region with the fastest growth of 8%.
Furthermore, stronger economic prospects and rising income growth in Southeast Asian economies like Indonesia and Philippines have contributed to a rise in outbound travellers from Southeast Asia.
It is therefore vital for tourism businesses to understand the unique needs of these travellers to effectively capitalise on the opportunities these groups of travellers present.
Travel industry experts, who spoke at a Singapore Tourism Board-organised media roundtable to discuss the potential of Asia’s travel and tourism industry, singled out Indonesia as the next big market for tourism.
Its huge population base, growing middle class and diverse regions, are key reasons for its importance to Asian tourism.
CEO, Panorama Group and one of Indonesia’s representatives at this year’s Asia Travel Leaders Summit – a thought leadership event under TravelRave – Pak Budi Tirtawisata, said the company was “pleased to see how Indonesia is perceived as an important market which can contribute to Asia’s tourism industry growth”.
“We look forward to exchanging new ideas and knowledge among key industry players at TravelRave this year,” he added.
TravelRave: A catalyst to grow the Asian travel and tourism industry
As Asia’s most influential travel trade festival, TravelRave puts the spotlight on the region with a weeklong celebration of Asian tourism.
Leveraging the continued and robust growth of the leisure and business travel industry in Asia, TravelRave, Asia’s most influential travel and tourism festival, provides a prime platform for business leaders and professionals in the travel and tourism industry to convene, network, share knowledge and insights, discover new business opportunities and celebrate Asian tourism at its best.
ITB Asia (17-19th October) returns under the TravelRave umbrella for the third time, boasting a bigger show, with a revamped layout, and improved programme.
The three day B2B trade show and convention will see international exhibitors of all sectors of the travel value chain, Asia Pacific’s leading companies and emerging small and medium sized enterprises meet with top buyers from the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE), Leisure and Corporate Travel markets.
ITB Asia features the full range of travel products, services and goods, as well as a strong educational content through a strong conference programme, serving as a knowledge platform for the Asian travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
The increasing tourism investment opportunities in Asia continue to be a topic of keen interest to industry professionals.
Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference (TDI Asia: 15-17th October), one of the events under TravelRave, which was first introduced as the half-day Asia Pacific Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference last year, has evolved into a three-day event this year.
The event will focus on Hotel Investments and Tourism Infrastructure Development across Asia and include an array of networking opportunities, business meetings, exhibition and thought- provoking conferences.
TravelRave 2012 will also see two prestigious awards bringing together the heavyweights in the travel industry.
First off will be the The Singapore Experience Awards (SEA), the most prestigious awards show honouring outstanding individuals and organisations from Singapore’s tourism industry returns on 15 October.
It will be held alongside the Singapore Experience Conversation (SEC), an exclusive forum gathering industry trailblazers for an open dialogue on the inspirations and challenges of designing experiences in an everchanging consumer landscape.
K.C. Blonski, Director of the Leisure & Retail Markets, Achieve Global, will be the Keynote Speaker for SEC 2012 & part of the panel of Judges for SE Awards 2012.
This year, Singapore will also be partnering the World Travel Awards(WTA) to host the prestigious Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony 2012 for the first time at TravelRave 2012.
Established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the enormous achievements in all sectors of the global travel industry, this red-carpet event will see heavyweights in Asia Pacific’s travel industry gather for the first ever WTA ceremony hosted in Singapore.
Secretary-General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, said TravelRave “is an innovative initiative and a perfect platform to leverage the dynamism of Asia’s tourism”.
“According to our long term forecast, Asia will be the fastest growing region for international tourism within the coming two decades and TravelRave enables the sector to harness this vast growth potential,” he asserted.
Delegates can also look forward to enjoying themselves at complementary cross-event networking sessions such as TravelRave’s official networking event, Rave On!
TravelRave Party will bring the industry closer to forging more contacts and facilitating exchanges in an informal setting.
“This will lay the ground for potential collaborations that can fuel the growth of Asia’s vibrant travel and tourism industry,” he added.
With rapidly growing participation rates, the third edition of TravelRave is set to facilitate business opportunities, enable the best minds’ of Asia’s travel industry to share insights, exchange best practices and showcase innovations and celebrate tourism achievements.