Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Investment Opportunities From “The Tourism Time Bomb”

International tourism is ready to explode with investment opportunities, according to an article published in the Harvard Business Review titled “The Tourism Time Bomb.” The writers--Paul F. Nunes, a research fellow at the Accenture Institute, and Mark Spelman, global managing director of Accenture’s strategy practice--state that international tourism is growing exponentially, and that this growth will soon lead to dramatic changes in major tourism destinations as well other locations which are likely to benefit from the resulting overflow

The following are important excerpts from the article:

“According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, international tourist visits are expected to double soon, from roughly 800 million in 2008 to 1.6 billion by 2020.”

“First, most tourism-related prices, such as hotel room rates in popular cities, will continue to escalate as demand outstrips supply.”

“Second, rationing, and the resulting waiting lists, will become commonplace. Some groups, for example, are already calling for limits on traffic to ecologically sensitive destinations, such as the Incan ruins at Peru's Machu Picchu.”

“Finally, jaw-dropping prices and decades-long waiting lists will prompt the creation and the expansion of destinations in both developed and developing economies. The Chinese, for example, are developing Hawaii-like Hainan island and Macao, a gaming paradise on China's southern coast.”

“Companies and governments are also creating facsimiles of popular destinations.” (for an example read The Brink Tank’s post: How Do You Say Rocco In Arabic?)

“Just as sites and structures can be successfully replicated in new locations, so can institutions. If the swelling ranks of global travelers can't all come to you, you can go to them.”

“As the scarcity of places grows, many companies will find opportunities to profit by meeting new levels of demand for authentic, and inauthentic, experiences.”

“A billion or two additional international travelers represent both a massive potential headache and an opportunity for business.”

Real estate in both urban and suburban areas is one of many investments that may benefit from this explosion. As demand increases, tourism and hospitality businesses should also perform well, and there are many new businesses that could be created to cater to international tourists. An entrepreneur’s imagination is the only limit.

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