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Tony Blair: China’s growing middle class, new drives to world’s tourism

Updated: 2013-09-12 10:58
( People's Daily Online)

Tony Blair: China’s growing middle class, new drives to world’s tourism

Tony Blair delivers a speech to WTTC in Seoul, Sept 10, 2013. [Photo/People's Daily Online]

Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister emphasized on the potential tourism market for growing middle class in Asia, particularly in China in his speech at WTTC in Seoul.

“Over the next 10 years, the travel and tourism industry in Asia will expand by over 6 percent year-on-year,” he said. “This is faster than any other region in the world.”

Revealing how Asia’s travel and tourism sectors are forecast to grow 6 per cent per annum over the coming decade, WTTC President David Scowsill said: “It is no accident that we are here today for our first Asia Summit.”

Of the 70 million new jobs Travel & Tourism will stimulate globally by 2023, two thirds – some 47 million - will be in Asia.

“This phenomenal growth will be driven by increasing wealth among Asia’s middle classes, particularly in China. The United Nations describe it as a historic shift, the likes of which has not been seen for 150 years. Asia’s middle class is forecast to triple to 1.7 billion by 2020,” Blair said.

Given this potential, he condemned governments that viewed tourism as a “soft target for taxation.” “Taxing the tourists does not lead to positive economic growth. In fact, it leads to the opposite,” he said.

Tony Blair: China’s growing middle class, new drives to world’s tourism

David Scowsill, President and CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council, introduces Tony Blair. [Photo/People’s Daily Online]

Being the speaker of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)’s Asia Summit, Blair also called on governments to place higher priority on developing tourism.

“In a fast-changing world, you have to change or get left behind,” Blair said that the West needs to discover a “new spirit of partnership with the East in which power will be shared.”

“As this power shifts to the East, the West is going to have to discover a new partnership with the East. The U.S. remains for now the most powerful country but it is likely in time China will become the most powerful country in the world.”

The two-day Summit, comprising seven seminars under the theme “Staying Ahead of Tomorrow,” is looking at how to best exploit the huge projected growth in tourism throughout China, South Korea and the wider Pacific region, while urging developed western nations not to miss out by introducing taxes which will lose more money than they generate.

The WTTC is the world’s largest non-profit organization on travel and tourism, and is comprised of global business leaders in the field. This marks the first time the summit is being held in Seoul.

Tony Blair: China’s growing middle class, new drives to world’s tourism

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