Singapore - Professionals working in the tourism and hospitality industry had a satisfying year in 2013, with many receiving higher salaries and increased chances of career progression.

According to the 2014 Asia Pacific Travel and Hospitality Industry Salary Survey by ACI HR Solutions, 68% of tourism employees in the Asia Pacific region received a pay increase in the past 12 months.

The survey, which canvassed 800 respondents over nine countries in Asia Pacific, found average salaries in Singapore's tourism and hospitality sector grow by 16.1%.

This was followed closely by salaries in Thailand (11.5%) and China (9.8%).

"2013 proved to be an excellent year for international tourism which showed a remarkable capacity to adjust to changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation across the region, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges," Andrew Chan, ACI's founder and CEO, said.

Macau topped the list as the country with the highest salary for the sector at S$134,535, followed by Hong Kong (S$106,993) and Australia (S$103,218) and Singapore (S$90,241). Malaysia once again posted the survey's lowest average salary at S$47,135.

Within the tourism industry, the survey found an HR director earned an average of US$100,342 (S$126,000) in Singapore - less than HR directors in Hong Kong (S$200,000), but more than those in China (S$98,700), India (S$59,200), Malaysia (S$58,000) and Thailand (S$56,200).

Gender wage disparity was also made clear in the study, with male respondents receiving a 12% higher salary than female respondents.

The survey also highlighted the increasing importance of career development on employee satisfaction within the tourism and hospitality sector.

Close to seven out of 10 respondents (71%) stated career progression was either "extremely important" or "very important", with just 3% saying career progression was unimportant.

"Interestingly, employees appear more satisfied with their current prospects than they did in previous years, with just 34% of those surveyed said they believed that their current employer offered ‘excellent' or ‘good' opportunities for career progression, compared with the 28% seen in 2013," the report said.

The survey also found only 22% felt career prospects with their present employer were "poor" or "zero" compared to 35% from the previous survey.

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