Asian tourism boom linked to mobile

SINGAPORE/MADRID: Asia is emerging as the main driver of world tourism with mobile phones increasingly being used to make travel arrangements new research has said.

A survey for Amadeus, the Madrid-based travel booking company, estimated that global tourism would grow faster than overall economic activity over the next ten years, largely driven by the Asia Pacific region.

China, in particular, is set to play an increasingly important role, Rappler reported. "We expect that China will become the largest outbound travel market this year and the biggest domestic market by 2017," said Andrew Tessler of Oxford Economics, which published the survey.

He added that two major factors in the sector were the rise of low-cost service providers and the growing use of mobile phones to organise and book travel and accommodation.

A separate survey indicated the different priorities Asian and Western travellers gave to their mobile phones, as more than 50,000 customers of Agoda.com, the hotel booking site, were asked what they most wanted to remember when packing for a trip.

Some 45% of Asian travellers were at pains not to forget their mobile phone, compared to just 19% from both Europe and the Americas. Tourists from these two areas were far more likely to name their credit card as the item they could least do without – 47% Europe, 44% Americas – while those from Asia were rather less bothered, with 29% expressing this concern.

The one exception in Asia was Japan, which was the only country to choose credit cards over mobile phones (38% to 28%).

The French, meanwhile, had one of the greatest disparities between these two items, as 58% picked their credit card as the one thing they would least like to forget, while only 9% picked mobile phones.

For most other items, however, there was broad parity across the world, whether that was the laptop/tablet (18% Americas, 11% Asia, 13% Europe), a good book (9%, 5%, 9%) or toiletries (5%, 5%, 6%).


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