Travel & Tourism as a % of GDP in Asia

Which countries in Asia rely the most on travel & tourism?


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Map of the size of the tourism industry in Asia.

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We already looked at the size of the travel & tourism industry in Europe. Now we’re taking a close look at Asia.

Travel & tourism is an important part of the economy of several countries in South-East Asia, but this is not the case for all of them. Cambodia (25.8%) and the Philippines (22.5%) rely heavily on travel & tourism. For Thailand, travel & tourism is also a big contributor to their GDP (20.3%). For Laos (10%), Singapore (11%) and Malaysia (11.7%), travel & tourism is also an important sector.

In the Middle East, there are also a few countries for whom travel & tourism is a big contributor to their GDP: Jordan (16.2%), Lebanon (19.1%) and Georgia (27.3%).

But there are two countries where travel & tourism is an even more important part of their economy. So important that it makes up the majority of their GDP. These are the Maldives (53.5%) and Macau (85.1%). Macau even has the highest percentage in the world. Macau’s economy is almost completely dependent on tourists from China that come to Macau just to gamble in one of its many casinos. Gambling is illegal in China, but not in Macau.

The data for this map is from 2019 and gives a good picture of the situation before the pandemic disrupted the tourism industry. The data comes from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The data includes both foreign and domestic tourists.

The WTTC uses the UN WTO methodology for defining the travel & tourism industry. These include travel and tourism contribution to accommodation services, food & beverage services, retail trade, transportation services, cultural, sports & recreational services. On top of that, indirect travel & tourism contribution is also included: T&T investment spending, government collective T&T spending, impact of purchases from suppliers, spending of direct and indirect employees in T&T.

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