What is good for Asia is good for the world
Asia’s role in spearheading the global recovery of travel and tourism was acknowledged by World Travel Awards 2011 Asia and Australasia Ceremony held in Bangkok on September 28.
The awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry,’ noted that Asia has experienced double-digit growth in tourist arrivals during the first half of 2011, despite the impact of the tsunami in Japan and the on-going austerity challenges in Europe and North America.
Graham E Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards, underlined how Asia’s strong performance this year is being fuelled by a surge in intra-regional travel.
He said: “The burgeoning middle classes in emerging markets such as India, China and Malaysia are fuelling a surge in intra-Asia travel. We expect this growth to continue for at least the next decade, making the future very bright indeed for the luxury hospitality sector.”
This intra-Asia activity closely represents United Asia, which proved to be more resilient and showed quick recovery in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis. United Asia is a result of Asian countries working together in multiple ways to bring their economies closer, by building roads and bridges and signing free trade agreements. Neighbouring countries in Asia now enjoy links through smooth new highways and innovative businesses springing up along the roadside. The relatively huge population of Asia makes ‘what is good for Asia is good for the world’ sound more plausible. The exchange of culture and trade has brought more Asian economies close to each other’s vast human and natural resources. There are no more forbidden border stations between the countries and the officials have been engaged in simplifying customs and immigrations regulations for an easy passage of people and goods.
Thus, the region as a whole grew by 7.4 percent in 2010. This dynamic growth rate of Asian economies is impressive and has relieved hundreds of millions of people of poverty. Subject to regional integration, till 1997 economic cooperation in the Asian region was focused on markets or public and private sectors. However, the last decade saw the currents of regional integration moving
across sub-regions through addressing of regulatory frameworks of social and environmental issues. In this way, the subregions of Asia emerged as independent strong economies.
According to Anoop Singh, Director of Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF, the Asian region was severely hit through both trade and financial channels during the crisis. Exports fell throughout the region, capital flowed out of Asia and industrial production dropped sharply. But Asia’s economic rebound was quick due to a collective action from policymakers, robust government spending and monetary accommodation with measures to restore and stabilize financial markets.
In this regard, the role of International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also significant. IMF displays full engagement with the region. It has enhanced the surveillance structures for a stronger regional focus of Asia, redesigned the lending facilities to meet the needs of developing countries and made Asia more resourceful through the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation. At the recent G-20 summit, IMF has also made a commitment to increase voting rights for emerging markets and developing economies.
With this continued pace of prosperity, experts are waiting for the next big thing to happen in Asia. Whether it will be the adoption of a single Asian currency like the Euro, or a giant free trade zone like the North American Free Trade Area, or a combination of both, experts stress on the need of a clear strategy for coping with the differences in per capita incomes, quality of institutional and human capacities and the diverse political regimes across Asia. The benefits of regional cooperation and economic integration will be long lasting for a future United Asia