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Over 500 Tourism Projects Recorded in Asia-pacific Region Between 2018-2022: Report

October 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) of the United Nations has said 517 tourism foreign direct investment projects were recorded in the Asia-Pacific region between 2018 and 2022, representing $65.1 billion capital investment and creating more than 105,600 jobs.

According to the ‘Tourism Investment 2023’ report, which was released to coincide with World Tourism Day on Wednesday, following a fall in 2020 and 2021, the number of announced projects in the region grew marginally by 2.4 percent to 42 projects in 2022.

The region’s job creation peaked in 2018, with over 49,000 jobs produced, and declined to its lowest point in 2021, with roughly 4,300 jobs created from tourism FDI. From 2021 to 2022, the number of employment created by tourism-related investments climbed by 6%.

Between 2018 and 2022, China attracted the most tourism FDI projects, with 79 announced projects accounting for 15% of the region’s overall market share. With 30 announced projects in 2019, China peaked for tourism FDI, but incoming project counts have consistently dropped since then.

India attracted three times as many tourism FDI projects in 2022 as it did in 2021, and it was the region’s top destination country last year.

Between 2018 and 2022, international investors announced a total of 2,415 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the tourist cluster. These projects had a total capital investment of $175.5 billion and were expected to create 388,000 employment.

While international travel continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the number of greenfield FDI projects in the tourism cluster began a modest comeback in 2022 after declining in both 2020 and 2021.

The number of FDI projects and job creation in the tourism cluster increased by 23 percent, from 286 investments in 2021 to 352 in 2022. Over the same time period, job creation in tourism FDI climbed by 23 percent, to an expected 36,400 in 2022.

Tourism, as one of the FDI sectors most hit by the coronavirus pandemic, has taken a long time to recover from the first shock of 2020, when the industry had a 59 percent year-on-year drop in the number of projects, dropping to 312. Capital investment in the sector fell by 70%, with expected capital investment falling from $60.9 billion to $18.2 billion.

The United States received the most tourism FDI between 2018 and 2022, with 198 projects, followed by the United Kingdom (160), Spain (133), and Germany (133). Between 2018 and 2022, the top ten nations for tourist FDI attraction accounted for nearly half (47%) of all announced tourism projects globally.

Capital investment in the sector totalled $175.5 billion between 2018 and 2022 with Spain being the leading recipient ($19.4 billion), followed by China ($11.5 billion) and the Philippines ($11.1 billion). Job creation in tourism FDI was highest in Mexico between 2018 and 2022 with an estimated 31,000 jobs created in the sector, followed by China (22,130) and Spain (20,590).

The hotel and tourism sector accounted for almost two-thirds of all projects in the tourism cluster between 2018 and 2022. Foreign direct investment (FDI) project numbers increased by 25pc from 2021 to 2022. However, capital investment in the hotel and tourism sector declined from $48.9 billion in 2018 to $7.8 billion in 2022.

Between 2018 and 2022, accommodation remained the largest sub-sector of tourism FDI globally, accounting for more than half (51pc) of all FDI projects. More than 70pc of capital investment ($126.8 billion) and job creation (270,000) in the tourism cluster was generated by the accommodation sub-sector during the same period.

Software and IT services were the second-largest sector for tourism FDI projects between 2018 and 2022. Its share of global FDI tourism projects grew from 10pc in 2018 to 16pc in 2020, 22pc in 2021 and 28pc in 2022, indicating the sector’s resilience and its ongoing shift towards digitisation.

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