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Asia Minute: Tourism Shows Fastest Growth in Asia Pacific

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The latest visitor arrival numbers for the state will come out next week from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. But a broader look at the travel picture shows that worldwide tourism continues to grow faster than the global economy. And the star of the show remains the Asia Pacific. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


For six years in a row, the travel and tourism industry has grown faster than the global economy.

That word comes this week from the World Travel and Tourism Council, which also says the four most rapidly expanding markets for travel and leisure are in the Asia Pacific.

Southeast Asia is growing the fastest, up more than 8 percent last year, in large part because of more visitors from China.  South Asia grew by nearly 8 percent followed by Northeast Asia and Oceania—Australia and New Zealand.

The travel council has slightly dropped its forecast for worldwide tourism growth for this year to just under 4 percent.  The reason: “a downgrade to the global economy and a dampening of consumer spending.”

Last week, other reports at the travel industry’s largest trade show agreed that Asia will remain the fastest-growing travel market this year and next.

But one of the organizers warned “Racism, protectionism, populism and barriers between nations are not compatible with a prospering tourism industry.”

The head of the World Travel and Tourism Council warned against too many travelers—saying “the sector needs urgently to address the impact of growth on destinations and its own contribution to climate change if it is to be sustainable in the long term.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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