1. Economic impact and leakage from tourism
Set to become probably the most significant hot-potato issue in the early 21st century. Asian governments will be seeking to maximise that economic impact by first keeping more earnings at home and after that, within the region. That will run up against the increased advances of global multinational groups which will be sending more and more money out in the form of franchise, distribution, management fees and various other forms of earnings. Expect universities, local research think tanks and regional groupings like the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific to focus intensively on this subject.
2. Extension of U.S. influence throughout the travel and tourism industry The most visible signs of U.S. presence are movies, fast-food chains, hotels, air-lines, theme-parks, credit card companies, media and Internet distribution technology Over the next two years, these prominent signs of U.S. presence will grow throughout Pacific Asia through equity deals, management and franchise contracts. As tourism is a high-profile industry, the response from local com-munities could well be unpredictable, especially in places where such images are not popular.
3. Impact of globalisation
Related to the above but impacting on Other issues like environmental and consumer protection regulations, changes in currency (such as the recent implementation of the euro) and aviation policies. While liberalisation of bureaucratic trade practises will continue, PATA region NTOs will be under pressure to show that they are not being dictated to by outside powers nor giving more than they are getting.
4. Greater liberalisation of visas, border control formalities and investment opportunities Several major regional caucuses like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and ASEAN have this triumvirate of issues on their agendas in view of the recognition that they are major impediments to the flow of people and goods. Step by step, these barriers will fall as countries adjust to the new realities. However, it is critically important to ensure that the countries are encouraged, not pushed, to make the changes.
Countries, states and even cities that give tax breaks to the tourism industry are advertising it as a promotional tool. In many countries, there is a tendency to do the opposite, i.e. to tax travel and tourism because visitors don't vote. That is a fallacy; visitors vote with their feet. They go else-where. Monitoring mechanisms like the WTTC's Tax Barometer are keeping a watch on these tax increases in the form of a performance score-card. In the latest barometer, released at WTM, Asian destinations hit by currency evaluations did not fare well, mainly because they had to adjust various airport taxes in line with the extent of the devaluation.
6. Social issues
The hardest work for the industry lies in convincing its constituents that it is not an industry by the rich for the rich. In many parts of Asia, luxury hotels are still an incongruous embarrassment in the midst of surrounding poverty either ostentation will have to be replaced by modesty or the industry will have to work harder at explaining why it is paying housekeepers as much as it charges guests for 20 cups of coffee. Non-governmental organisations still blame travel and tourism for abetting the problem of child prostitution, even though the industry is working very hard to combat it.
As the industry gains greater respectability and recognition, it will attract more than its fair share of qualified young people seeking to see the world and enjoy the sights and sounds they are exposed to over the Internet. Mobility will increase as Internet web sites allow people to find work in different parts of the world. There will be great demand for people with language skills and ability to work in different cultures.