Tourists from Asia-Pacific to become world's top spenders -report

Tourists from Asia-Pacific to become world's top spenders -report

SINGAPORE - The Asia-Pacific will overtake Europe as the region whose tourists spend the most money overseas within 10 years, a report said Wednesday, driven by an explosion in the number of Chinese travelers.

Spending by tourists from the Asia-Pacific will reach nearly US$753 billion (S$950 billion) by 2023, increasing the region's share of global spend to 40 per cent from 25 per cent in 2012, according to a report commissioned by travel technology firm Amadeus.

Travelers from Europe will account for 34 per cent of global outbound spend by the same year, down from 45 per cent in 2012, said the report.

"The findings underscore what most of us already intuitively know-that we have now truly arrived in the Asian century," Amadeus Asia Pacific President Angel Gallego said in a statement.

"No matter where we look, Asian travelers have and will continue to change the landscape of travel, and business must adapt to them or risk falling behind."

In January the state-run China Daily said Chinese travelers spent $102 billion overseas in 2012, making them the world's biggest spenders ahead of German and US tourists.

They are almost certain to have surpassed that record last year, added the report.

Visitor flows from Asia over the next decade is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 15 per cent - nearly double the preceding 10-year period and faster than any other region, said the report written for Amadeus by forecasting firm Oxford Economics.

Driving this expansion is the explosive growth in the number of travelers from China, the report said.

Set to surpass US

The Asian economic powerhouse is set to surpass the United States this year as the world's largest source of outbound travelers and is poised to become the biggest domestic travel market globally by 2017, it said.

China's share of global outbound travel is projected to reach 20 per cent by 2023-up from just one per cent in 2005.

China's economy has boomed over the past decade, expanding the ranks of its middle-class who are hungry for foreign travel after the country's decades of isolation in the last century.

European Union and Asian countries have moved to ease visa application procedures for Chinese tourists in recent years, keen to cash in on their big-spending habits.

The report also predicted that global travel would expand 5.4 per cent per year in the next decade, faster than the projected growth of 3.4 per cent for world gross domestic product in the same period.

Business travel, which was hit by the global financial crisis that started in late 2008, is also expected to bounce back.

Asia will account for 55 per cent of global business travel growth during the forecast period, the report said.

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