|Asia's travel & tourism: An inside Look|
Monday, 23rd April 2012
Source : World Travel & Tourism Council
Asia Pacific, including North America and parts of Central / South America – all member countries of the Pacific Asia Travel Association – recorded above average growth in visitor arrivals in 2011 of 5%. Without North America, the growth would have been higher.
Martin Craigs, PATA CEO: “Asia Pacific will be the main driver in the growth of tourism worldwide to 2014.
This means that the PATA region already accounts for more than 50% of total international arrivals worldwide”, said Martin Craigs, PATA CEO.
By 2014, the total will exceed 500 million, according to PATA forecasts, with more than 50% of this count for Northeast Asia – despite faster projected growth for both Southeast and South Asia.
Trends to Asia Pacific: decline of Europe and North America as source markets, at least in terms of share.
“But we should not just look at arrivals – it is too crude an analysis. We should also be measuring overnights and spend. And what about gross national happiness (GNH)? Among those of us who measure our happiness on our gross level of development – do many of us smile?
Clearly, the marketplace is in the process of change, and this will only intensify in the years to come”.
According to Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board: “Our concern is finding out whether we are giving tourists what they want. So the STB puts emphasis on what tourists are spending, which is a measure of what they are prepared to pay for and, if they spend, it means they are getting what they want. It’s not enough just to track numbers.
Three years ago changed our brand to ‘Your Singapore’. Travellers much more discerning than we give them credit for. They do not just want to accept what’s on offer, but create their own trip. This deepens the link between the traveller and the destination”.
Chen Rong, CEO, China International Travel Service (CITS) talked about China, the fastest growing source market in the world, not just the region.
“In 2011 they made 69 million outbound trips - Chinese domestic travel is also rapidly increasing – 2.3 billion trips in 2011 – and generating US$250 billion. For CITS, growth of 30% per annum.
Chinese airports are going through rapid development because of phenomenal demand. We ourselves are surprised at the speed of economic growth in remote areas of the country.
In order to cope with the projected growth, we believe that technology is extremely important. It can really help with improving systems for travel agents and tour operators.
So in the future Chinese companies will be using mergers and acquisitions to expand and broaden their offer. M&A will also enhance the core competence of Chinese travel agents and improve the value of our services so that, in the end, our profitability is also increased.”
Makoto Arima, Google Japan Country Director said:
“One thing that has surprised us enormously is the use of smart phones for travel. There are 2 billion or more mobile units in Asia - so if you can provide content that was only available on PCs before, you can really open up opportunities for growth of your businesses.
And users want greater value. When users want to travel, they can use different forms of social media such as YouTube, also part of Google – all on their smart phones.”
Tatsuro Nakamura, Senior Executive Director of the Board, Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) said:
“As far as the Japanese are concerned, it’s not really a question of their switching to internet-based bookings – at least for package tours. But those looking for more expensive tours may do so.
“With the progress of IT, consumers can gain a lot of information directly. So we have been using Facebook to try to attract more people to the Tohoku region”.
David Katz, Head of Government Relations – North Asia, VISA, said
“There is a secular shift in terms of travel to Asia Pacific. About half the spend in AP is from AP markets, ie from intra-regional travel. The most important source region is Northeast Asia. 80% of people in the region planning a trip are planning on staying within the region.
To put that into perspective, as Martin Craigs said: “In 1980 there were 3 million air travellers a year in China. In 2011: nearly 300 million. In 2029 1 billion. To meet that growth in China, Boeing and Airbus will have to deliver one 150-seat aircraft every two days, and they are predicting US$1.3 trillion sales next 20 years. Think of how many workers/employees that will demand – not just among airlines, but also the whole of the Travel & Tourism industry.
Moderator: Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, CBS