WTTC study finds low level of future tourism growth readiness among SE Asian cities

Ho Chi Minh City

The majority of South-east Asian cities in a new study on future tourism growth readiness were recommended to evolve tourism policy and improve infrastructure.

The global index report from WTTC and JLL assessed the preparedness of 50 cities for future travel and tourism growth, and placed them in one of five typologies, namely Dawning Developers, Emerging Performers, Balanced Dynamics, Mature Performers and Managing Momentum.

Ho Chi Minh City classified under Emerging Performers

Five of the six South-east Asian cities the study looked at were classified under Emerging Performers and Dawning Developers. According to WTTC and JLL, cities in these categories tend to be in emerging countries, with a lower level of urban readiness.

To improve their preparedness, efforts should be focused on developing and enhancing urban infrastructure such as airport connectivity, accommodation stock and addressing environmental issues such as waste and water quality.

Kuala Lumpur and Manila were classified Dawning Developers alongside Bogota, Delhi, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Chengdu and more

Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta were named Emerging Performers along with Cape Town, Delhi, Istanbul, Mexico City, among others.

Both categories are characterised by emerging urban readiness and tourism infrastructure. Dawning Developers are in the stage of “slower tourism growth, and lower visitor concentration” while Emerging Performers are experiencing “growing tourism momentum and increased pressures”.

The recommended policy response for the former group of cities is to address areas for development to further enhance urban readiness, achieve incremental wins by focusing on and evolving tourism policies that enable tourism growth at a pace that the city can support, the report said.

And for Emerging Performers, the research recommends investing in infrastructure development to support sustainable tourism growth;
monitor potential crunch points and implement progressive policies as
needed.

Singapore is the only South-east Asian city to fall in the Balanced Dynamics classification. It sits with the likes of Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Osaka, Shanghai and Tokyo.

These cities are described to have established urban readiness and
tourism infrastructure. They are often financial hubs with higher share of business travel than average.

Among the policy recommendations is to seek opportunities to attract a greater proportion of leisure travel by investing in leisure attractions.

Travel & tourism is an essential industry that contributes 10.4% to global GDP and was responsible for the creation of one in five new jobs over the last five years.

According to research, of the 1.4 billion international visitors crossing borders in 2018 for tourism purposes, 45% are travelling to visit cities. Furthermore, international arrivals to the 300 largest city travel destinations accounted for over half a billion trips last year.

Gloria Guevara, president & CEO, WTTC, said: “Tourism authorities in many major cities around the world are working incredibly hard to prepare for the future. However, for a city to truly thrive and for travel & tourism to develop in a sustainable manner, city planning authorities, developers, investors, legislators and community groups, need to understand how prepared the city is for future expected growth in tourism and the resulting challenges and opportunities it may face.”

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