Tourism and Investment Update Where Is The Turning Point?
Attending the just concluded International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Macau it was interesting to view the opinions of a wide range of experts on just where is the turning point to the current economic and tourism downturn. Airlift remains a critical barometer for travel be it business or leisure with IATA now forecasting for 2009 a worldwide loss for airlines of US$9 billion with Asia tallying in at US$3.3 billion.
The regions economic engines are leveraged highly on export driven GDP with 32% of this being attributed to the export market. Seeing the US and Europe in decline, there are some expectations that Asia may bounce back faster than the west. Though a lag on unemployment, which is continuing to mount regionally, is expected to move into double-digit territory, thus causing long term angst.
For tourism Korea set an amazing staged recovery with the won devaluing at exactly the same time the Japanese yen was appreciating, the country threw opens its doors to its neighbor spurring a dizzying number of visitors who could not resist the unparalled buying power. Australia is seeing a major resurgence in travelers as a result of the depreciation of the Aussie dollar and giving value in what has been traditionally an expensive holiday market.
Hong Kong with long haul markets dropping has replaced that business with mainland Chinese and Taiwan visitors; while Malaysia and Indonesia grew with traffic redirected from Thailand after two airport closures and violent demonstrations.
Over the last month Bangkok is starting to see increases again in hotel room night demand, while in Phuket figures are sluggish; the future at least for the next 12-24 months looks to be in short haul markets and domestic tourism. China has been extremely proactive with the government even offering domestic discounts to its local market, which are being encouraged to travel within the PRC.
As so where the turning point is, for most its still early days and rather then a steep ascent there is a long sloping road ahead. With adversity all over the globe it's interesting to see some success stories emerge and what is continuing to be a connected universe as never before.