The importance of travel and tourism as a driving force of economic growth in Asia has been highlighted by new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
In Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies collectively attracted over 40% of total international arrivals worldwide and generated more than 40% of world visitor exports in 2010.
The latest research from WTTC, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, estimates that the APEC region’s visitor exports will increase by four to five per cent per annum over the next 10 years, rising to US$750-billion by 2021, or a four per cent share of APEC’s total exports.
Travel and tourism contributes close to three per cent of APEC’s GDP, or a projected US$990-billion in 2011, as well as providing 45-million jobs – 3% of total employment. And if the indirect and induced impacts of travel and tourism are factored into the calculations, the total contribution is almost three times greater.
Both the direct and total contributions of travel and tourism to GDP and employment are forecast to rise strongly over the coming decade.
But there are many barriers to the projected growth in tourism demand – a proliferation of taxes and other surcharges on travellers, visa restrictions, poor environmental and other legislation, weak infrastructure and transport access, as well as constraints on workforce mobility, capital flows and access to capital. These could harm APEC’s economic performance and the livelihoods of its citizens.
The best way to overcome these hurdles is to establish a true dialogue between the public and private sectors, according to the groundbreaking research to be conducted in partnership with the PATA and the WTTC.
David Scowsill, president and CEO, WTTC, said: “We look forward to working with APEC and PATA to address these key issues facing the travel and tourism industry, issues that have already been earmarked as strategic priorities for WTTC in 2011-12, and which will be a major theme at our 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas from May17-19.”
The new study, Creating Business Growth Opportunities for Travel and Tourism in the New APEC Economy, will involve consultation with governments, experts and industry leaders, such as members of PATA and WTTC, in order to identify business opportunities to create an enabling environment that will drive sustainable tourism growth. The research will provide concrete, solutions-based recommendations to drive collective action by APEC, as well as to inform individual action plans by APEC member economies.