Asian Tourism Industry Global player, local winner
The proposition of regarding Asia as a gold mine for tourism is linked with the considerably high investments in the leisure sector over the years. Presently, the competition in tourism trade industry of Asia exists between the countries and with other regions. Until a few years back, this tourism industry had to struggle through 9/11, SARS and the Asian Tsunami, with analysts stressing on the need for more capital, more viable strategies and stronger customer relationships.
Going by the estimates of 2010, it appears that the major concerns and fears hovering over the industry have been considerably wiped off. The economies of Asia-Pacific are being referred to as strong and emerging, strategies have been laid out for low-cost airlines and smart travel packages, while the most important aspect appears to be the extensive indulgence of the burgeoning middle class in tourism.
Free trade, rising entrepreneurship and enhanced buying capacities have evolved to strengthen travel and entertainment for the young middle class, comparable to the earlier elite exclusiveness. The second supporting feature is accessibility due to increased internet penetration in the consumer lifestyle. This provides a localized context of collective national growth in Asia - productive youth, strong enterprises, exposure to developed economies through free trade and ready-to-spend incomes are the contributing factors for this growth.
Along with material growth, the mindset of the people has now come out of the shell and looking out for exciting exploration opportunities. People are extensively utilizing short vacations in places like Thailand, Malaysia, China, India, Sri Lanka and other places. This is a result of a healthy competition between the regional countries. Amidst such high prospects, a useful suggestion has come from the President of the Tourist Hotels Association in Sri Lanka, of creating a common visa regime for Asian countries to maximize tourist influx.
At the moment, the Asia-Pacific countries are enjoying the biggest share in the tourism pie, with India moving up at a fast pace. The tourism industry in Pakistan faces a setback due to constraints of security and earthquake destruction in the northern areas in the past years, but recovery seems to be on track and tourist spots are busy again.
Asian countries offer unique rural tourism that attracts Western travellers with its green and rich cultural features. Tourist choices tend more towards nature and being away from luxuriously fitted spots. But facilities are important requiring comfortable hotels, car rentals and easy insurance.
These have been modified into branded campaigns associated with each country. Now, India, Malaysia and China are individual brands in the tourism industry. Online shoppers simply review each campaign, choose their desired features and select the destination. This approach is a gift of low cost airlines which takes to the desired destinations at the most favourable rates.
In this backdrop, internet travel booking serves as a source of high profits. Around 38% of the US travel market utilizes internet booking, with Europe standing at 34% and Asia-Pacific enjoying a growing rate of 21%. Among these, students of culture looking out for ancient civilizations, adventure enthusiasts seeking wondrous landscapes and business people looking for healthy networking rank high.
The relevance of diverse weather and natural beauty is linked with the richness of history and culture in the Asian region, making the tourism industry a global player and a local winner