One of the strongest drivers of global economic growth isn’t factories or financial services or internet startups, it’s what we do when we’re not working. We are becoming a planet of tourists.
Consider this: For the past seven years, the travel-and-tourism sector has outperformed the overall economy every year, contributing as much as $7.6 trillion in 2016, including the wider impact on the economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. During the next decade, the council predicts, almost one in four jobs created worldwide will be related to tourism.
Nowhere is this revolution more dramatic than in Asia.
A rising tide of travelers from China is spreading out across the region, out-shopping, outspending and out-eating every other nation. They are filling hotels, tour buses and cruise ships. They are overwhelming airports and train stations, and they are sending home petabytes of pictures that encourage their compatriots to join the global invasion. Their ranks are being swollen by millions of others from around Asia, a generation who would rather raise their status with a foreign adventure than with a luxury bag.
“People’s personal brands are being defined by the places they visit,” said Simon Russell, chief executive officer of London-based luxury travel group Scott Dunn, which last month bought rival Country Holidays Travel from Singapore to expand its Asian clientele.
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