South East Asia over the last 15 years has transformed from what many believe was an alternate destination for backpackers and budget travellers looking for a cheap travel adventure, to a true hub for serious, cashed-up  international travellers.

The region’s Travel and Tourism sector plays a vital role in its total GDP. In 2013, that the World Tourism & Travel Council reported that South East Asia’s travel and tourism’s market directly contributed to the region’s GDP growth in 2013 to the tune of 6.9% – almost double that of North America.

In the same report, the WTTC also forecast that by 2023, travel and tourism would directly support 34,655,000 jobs. That figure represents 9.9% of the region’s total employment.

Now, there is more great news for South East Asia with the WTTC’s latest 2014 Economic Impact Report that has been released.

WTTC Brochure

The new Report reveals that international visitors spending in travel and tourism in the region increased by over 10% within South East Asia. Compared with the increase in international traveller spend increasing to 3.9%.

According to the Report, the increase was partly due an increase in consumer spending which is attributable to easing of the global recession. Interestingly, David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC stated that as the growing middle class, especially from Asia and Latin America, are willing and more able than ever to travel both within and beyond their borders.

The WTTC says that there is more good news to come with annual growth rate of 4% forecast.

With figures such as these, it is little wonder that the Report has forecast an increase in investment in the Travel & Tourism sector in South East Asia region by 5.6%.

In the report David Scowsill took the opportunity to say that governments at the national level can also do much to assist this growth by implementing more open visa regimes and to employ intelligent rather than punitive taxation policies. If the right steps are taken, Travel & Tourism can be a true force for good.

You can view the full report here:

Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2014