Why Asia Continues to Dominate the Global Travel Industry Countries such as South Korea, Australia and China are global frontrunners in digital connectivity

By Komal Nathani

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Asia's most middle-class groups spend their disposable income on travel. It is thus, the travel industry burgeoning in the region, according to a report by Euromonitor International.

The 2019 report highlighted the megatrends that are shaping the future of travel in India. It said that the region continues to enjoy strong performances in both inbound and outbound travel. Citing the increase in travel spends by Asians, report said, positive geopolitical developments and sporting events boost the region's attractiveness. As the next Summer Olympics, which is going to be held in Tokyo is round the corner, along with the next Winter Games in Beijing, there are high prospects of a rapid growth in travel spends this year.

Countries such as South Korea, Australia and China are global frontrunners in digital connectivity, the report notes. Other countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are also gathering pace, developing user-friendly online booking platforms and convenient online payment systems.

Cashing in on the Trend

As travel becomes a hot sector in Asia, startups bet high on new trends in the industry to get ahead of their competitors. Travel intermediaries like Expedia, Booking Holdings etc go throttle in expanding their businesses into Asia by engaging into business partnerships in the region.

Other online travel intermediaries such as Ctrip and Fliggy are today's travel enablers in China, while traditional travel intermediaries in Japan and South Korea such as JTB and Hanatour are actively investing in their online channels to meet demand from their constantly-connected consumers.

China- the Growth Leader

While other countries mark an exponential growth in inbound and outbound market, China leads the growth with maximum number of trips in Asia. As per report, the country will also be the largest inbound market by 2030, and domestic tourism in China is big business. The latter represents 4.7 billion trips in 2018, and is forecast to reach 6.7 billion by 2023.

Thanks to the strong influence of GDP per capita and the growth in high-income households, the country is well-poised to overtake the United States and Germany to become the largest source of outbound departures by 2030. For China, tourism is a key pillar of the economy. That's why investments have been made to improve infrastructure and standards over the years. Most emphasis, however, is put on China's outbound potential. The credit of this success also goes to the government of China, which constantly boost the tourism sector to grow.

In October 2017, President Xi Jinping introduced China's next five-year plan at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, which included a hefty amount of investment in the tourism sector. The country now plans to lower dependency on imported goods, deregulation of prices and a boost to the environment, as the country moves toward electric vehicles.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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