On a recent trip to Xinjiang, the massive Chinese province which lies along the old Silk Road, I could not help but be moved by the thought of all those ancient travellers making arduous journeys to distant places in the quest to connect with other cultures for the exchange of goods and knowledge. Despite the rapid advance of telecommunications and logistics, those instincts show no signs of waning.

In the next decade, the value of the overall travel industry is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 3.7 per cent to reach US$13.09 trillion (S$17.8 trillion) and support more than 420 million jobs, representing almost an eighth of the global gross domestic product.

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