WIT - panel and spiky heart overviewAny which way you cut it, Asia has at least a dozen countries. Within those countries are dozens more cultures, languages, skin colours, religions and beliefs.

Did I mention that it’s a diverse and complex place? So it proved last week on a trip to Singapore for the Web In Travel conference, the theme of which was  Tough Love.

The big question I had going into WIT was whether there’d been significant change in the Asian online travel front since I worked regularly in the region several years ago. The short answer is no. The long answer is no, yes, maybe. It just depends which country you are talking about.

Leading the charge, as always, is North Asia. Japan and South Korea are global online powerhouses with an eager population, brilliant technology and smart companies.

The Tier 2 countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia still lack basic infrastructure and intent. India and China are developing, though ‘traditional’ online plays are not yet working in either market.

Southeast Asia is a disappointment with a serious lack of local entrepreneurial muscle working the online space. On the consumer side, mobile is the big story, more important than laptops or PCs. Yes, the future for Asia is exciting but won’t arrive as fast as many initially thought.

Coverage from Web In Travel below.

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