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Asias Travel Market Booming

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Rising earnings are fanning peoples desire to travel in the Asia Pacific region.

A year-on-year comparison shows that in the first eight months of 2011 the number of Asians who travelled abroad rose by 6%, and the findings of the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report indicate that next years figure is forecast to rise by a further 5%.

 Chinas continuing economic boom means that its residents are particularly keen to travel their own country, a development which will also benefit the travel industry in both Europe and the Americas.

Increasing prosperity among the middle classes, particularly in China, India and Southeast Asia, is driving the tourism boom in the Asia Pacific region.

The report is compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. Its figures are based on extracts from the Asian Travel Monitor and on assessments by more than 50 tourism experts and scientists from around the world.

The prospects for Asia remain good. When asked about their travel intentions next year, 32% of the respondents said they aimed to travel more than in 2011, 37% wanted to travel as often, and only 19% said they would travel less.

This trend is also responsible for an increasingly diverse range of travel products. Upmarket urban life in Asia has generated a demand for specialised products, such as history and culture, edutainment parks, adventure holidays, luxury travel and sports tourism.

 Next year, Japans travel industry will be boosted by the country becoming part of the Asian low-cost carrier network. In recent years the emergence of low-cost airlines has resulted in rising numbers from other Asian countries travelling within Asia. According to the World Travel Trends Report, more and more Middle Eastern airlines flying to Asia will also generate an increasing number of trips.

Dr. Martin Buck, the director of the Competence Center Travel and Logistics at Messe Berlin, said, Asia remains one of the worlds fastest-growing travel markets and also has great potential for the European travel industry. Many tourism companies have already realised this. Simply describing ones products in Mandarin is not enough. Marketing efforts must also take typical local aspects into account. In China, for instance, firewalls block international networking sites such as Facebook. The best way to reach Chinese people is via a local equivalent called RenRen.

2011

Travelling in the Asian-Pacific region continues to fascinate people. In particular, countries in Southern and Southeast Asia reported significant growth. The countries ranked highest are Thailand, with close to 16 million visitors per year, and Vietnam with five million tourists from abroad. Other increasingly popular countries include destinations such as Burma, Laos and Cambodia, all of which reported two-digit growth this year.

By contrast, countries in Northeast Asia experienced a decline, in particular due to a severe fall in numbers of trips to Japan. To date, inbound tourism to Japan has failed to recover since the earthquake disaster in March 2011. During the first nine months of this year the countrys travel industry suffered a 30% drop in tourism. However, unlike after previous crises, a rapid recovery is taking place. As far as their desire to travel is concerned the Japanese have barely suffered, with trips abroad falling by only 6%. In the months after the disaster it was destinations in Asia which above all benefited from Japanese tourists. According to the Japan Travel Bureau Foundation the stress experienced after the disaster motivated people to travel instead of keeping them at home. What is more, people in Japan began to rethink their priorities, shying away from mass consumption and instead preferring energy saving and greater involvement in social and voluntary work. This also benefits tourism, as people are often now more willing to spend money on an adventure-style experience such as a vacation rather than on retail goods.

Trends

At the ITB Berlin Convention Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, will present the findings for the entire year, as well as the latest forecasts for 2012.

ITB Berlin 2012 will take place from Wednesday, 7 to Sunday, 11 March, and from Wednesday to Friday will be open to trade visitors only. Parallel with the trade show, the ITB Berlin Convention, one of the largest travel industry events of its kind in the world, will be held from Wednesday, 7 to Friday, 9 March 2012.

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