Asian Tourism In­dus­try Global player, lo­cal win­ner

Enterprise - - TRADE WATCH -

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

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