Emerging Asian nations producing more international travellers

Outbound travellers from emerging Asian nations outnumber those from developed countries in the region by one and a half times.

Furthermore, this figure is poised to grow more than twice as fast over the next five years (7.6 per cent versus. 3.3 per cent), according to Mastercard’s report The Future of Outbound Travel in Asia Pacific (2016 to 2021).

Collectively, Asia Pacific markets are expected to grow by 6 per cent annually during the period.

China is expected to be the largest outbound travel market in 2021 with 103.4 million trips, constituting 40 per cent of all Asia Pacific outbound travel, nearly four times that of the second and third markets, South Korea (25.6 million) and India (21.5 million) respectively.

As forecast by the report, international outbound trips from the top 10 Asia Pacific markets by 2021 are:

  1. China, 103.4 million
  2. South Korea, 25.6 million
  3. India, 21.5 million
  4. Japan, 19.4 million
  5. Taiwan, 16.3 million
  6. Malaysia , 14.2 million
  7. Australia, 11.8 million
  8. Singapore, 11.7 million
  9. Indonesia, 10.6 million
  10. Thailand, 9.1 million

“The burgeoning middle class is driving the growth of outbound travel in Asia Pacific, along with other trends such as the emergence of the Asian millennial traveller and, on the other end of the spectrum, the senior traveller, as well as technology and infrastructure developments,” says Mastercard Advisors Asia Pacific senior VP Eric Schneider.

“Asia Pacific travellers will continue to fuel global tourism growth in years to come, providing vast opportunities for businesses to benefit through the development of products and solutions that seek to improve their overall travel experiences.”

Myanmar fastest growing

Myanmar is projected to be the fastest-growing outbound travel market with a 10.6 per cent annual growth rate over the next five years, followed by Vietnam (9.5 per cent), Indonesia (8.6 per cent), China (8.5 per cent) and India (8.2 per cent). Among developed Asia Pacific markets, growing fastest are South Korea (3.8 per cent), followed by Singapore (3.5 per cent), Australia (3.5 per cent) and New Zealand (3.4 per cent).

The report predicts the top 10 fastest-growing Asia Pacific markets by international outbound trips (compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2021) will be:

  1. Myanmar, 10.6 per cent
  2. Vietnam, 9.5 per cent
  3. Indonesia, 8.6 per cent
  4. China, 8.5 per cent
  5. India, 8.2 per cent
  6. Sri Lanka, 6.1 per cent
  7. Thailand, 4.8 per cent
  8. Philippines, 4.4 per cent
  9. South Korea, 3.8 per cent

  10. Australia/Singapore/Malaysia, 3.5 per cent

According to the study, outbound travel will grow faster than real GDP. Outbound travel growth tends to be higher than real GDP growth for emerging markets compared to developed markets, except for Japan, where outbound travel growth is much closer to its predicted real GDP growth.

Emerging markets such as Myanmar (10.6 per cent vs. 7.7 per cent), Vietnam (9.5 per cent vs. 6.2 per cent), Indonesia (8.6 per cent vs. 5.7 per cent), Thailand (4.8 per cent vs. 3.1 per cent) and China (8.5 per cent vs. 6 per cent) are expected to grow faster than real GDP.

By 2021, all developed markets in Asia Pacific, except Japan, will have a ratio of more than 100 per cent for outbound travel trips to total number of households. Households in Singapore (693.6 per cent), Hong Kong (248.9 per cent) and Taiwan (232 per cent) have the highest propensity to travel abroad.

Among emerging markets, Malaysia is expected to record the highest ratio, 198.7 per cent, by 2021, whereas India (7.3 per cent), Bangladesh (7.4 per cent), Myanmar (14.6 per cent) and Indonesia (15.4 per cent) are among the lowest.

While a ratio of 100 per cent means on average that each household has at least one person who makes a trip abroad each year, in practice it is more likely that a certain percentage of households make multiple trips overseas each year, implying there are households where nobody goes abroad at all.


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