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Charting Asia's New Horizons

David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council

Established in 1990, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is an established non-governmental organisation and key forum for business leaders in the global travel and tourism industry. President and CEO of WTTC, Mr David Scowsill, provides a broad perspective of Asia’s tourism development.

By 2020, Asian travellers are expected
to account for nearly half of global tourism expenditure. What are the implications of this rapid growth for the travel and tourism industry?

The fast growing Asian Travel & Tourism industry requires leaders who can develop policies and programmes which are focused on long-term success and sustainable growth. This includes identifying a destination’s potential areas of growth in order to develop corresponding infrastructure and services. Over time, such investments will lead to more sustained growth without the damage that can be caused by rapid and indiscriminate expansion. 

In Asia, the issue of human resources and education is especially important and it is crucial to ensure that there will be enough 
individuals with sufficient skills to meet the needs of the industry as it grows. 

As more Chinese and Indian middle-class consumers have the resources to travel, domestic tourism is projected to grow faster 
than international visitor spending over the next ten years. In China, domestic spending will grow by almost 9% per year up to 2023. Both countries thus need to place a strong focus on developing infrastructure and services to cater for this growth.

In addition, there will be more intra-regional travel in Asia and destinations now need to adapt by developing products and brands 
which cater specifically for these new Asian middle-class consumers.

How resilient is Asia’s travel and tourism industry against an uncertain global economy? What is the outlook for Asia’s emerging markets apart from China and India?

According to our latest economic impact research, Asia’s Travel & Tourism indicators continue to hold up well despite overall difficulties.
A global comparison reveals that the growth of travel & tourism's contribution to GDP in 2013 will be the highest in Asia, exceeding the world average of 4.4% and outpacing even other fast-growing markets like Latin America and the Middle East.

Countries with the strongest growth potential include Cambodia where total contribution to GDP is expected to increase by 7.2%, followed by Bangladesh (6.8%) and Thailand (6.5%). In addition to rising disposable incomes, other factors which contribute to a growing desire and ability to travel include recent improvements to visa processes and requirements.

In terms of domestic tourism, Mongolia is leading with a growth forecast of 9.3% per annum, while the Philippines (8.7%), Thailand (8%) and Indonesia (7.8%) can expect some of the highest growth in visitor exports – money that comes from international visitors to a country.

By 2023, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and China will be among the top ten countries for their share of visitor exports, while China and Singapore will also be among the top ten countries for their share of outbound spending.

What is the value of platforms like TravelRave in spurring the travel and tourism industry forward?

Getting the right people in the room together at the right time generates valuable ideas and opportunities which can lead businesses to thrive and succeed. Events like TravelRave, through a strong programme line up, attract key industry leaders and set the stage for thought-provoking discussions and potential collaboration on pertinent issues facing the industry.

My experience at TravelRave has always been extremely positive. With a series of quality events held in the same week, it allows me to maximise my time and meet with leaders across the whole industry – lodging, airline, cruise, hotel, car rental, tour operator and travel agency, who are also here to attend the various events under TravelRave.

In 2011, WTTC partnered the Singapore Tourism Board to research the global economic impact of business travel. As event organisers and delegates increasingly look towards Asia for new and relevant content to facilitate business growth, thought leadership platforms like TravelRave continue to serve as a key focal point for the exchange of valuable knowledge and insights on Asia’s Travel & Tourism industry.

In 2012, Mr Scowsill was a participant in the Asia Travel Leaders Summit (ATLS) and ITB Asia as well as a keynote speaker at the Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference. This year, he will return to participate in ATLS 2013.

Get connected with the best travel minds ahead of TravelRave 2013, the most influential travel trade festival in Asia. 

Follow us @TravelRaveSG on Twitter, find us at the TravelRave LinkedIn group or visit for the latest industry updates.

Sources: Consumer Insights: Profiling the Asian Middle and Affluent Traveller, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Singapore Tourism Board, Asia Travel Leaders Summit 2012

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