Boom in tourism facilitated by several factors, and will see 10 times more arrivals within 10 years, says Gavin Tee

Tourist numbers to ASEAN are expected to surge by at least 10 times in the next 10 years and will peak in 2022, says property consultant Dato’ Seri Gavin Tee. “Within the next 2 – 3 years, a lot of investments will come in to improve the infrastructure and to build resorts in the region. Most of the projects would be completed by 2022, thus improving connectivity in the region and attracting more visitors.”

He adds that in the next 5 years, tourism in ASEAN will grow even faster due to the following factors:

1. Central location and abundance of natural resources

ASEAN is strategically located right in the centre between Northeast Asia, the Pacific and the West comprising Europe and America. It is home to untapped rich natural resources such as beautiful beaches, ocean life and rainforests which comprise one of the highest in concentration in the world. The tropical weather and year-round summer temperature make it a year-round destination. Some countries like Myanmar have just opened up in the last few years and are home to the best-preserved heritage buildings and religious structures. Angkor Wat, Luang Prabang, and Borobudur all come to mind. This will further enhance the travel experience.

2. Infrastructure improvements

Infrastructure changes will further increase mobility of the people, not just from ASEAN but from Europe, China and Australia. In particular, China has become the biggest source of inbound visitors to ASEAN. This is accelerated by the many low cost carriers (especially Air Asia) as well as and perhaps of greater impact is the ‘Rail Revolution’. Cross-border rail networks are being built across ASEAN. So, instead of visiting just one country, they will visit 2 -3 countries as a package. With better infrastructure and ease of accessibility, more tourists would come and stay longer. A good example: Intercity travel within China reached a frenzy during public holidays following the completion of its vast railway network system including the high speed rail.

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