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4 shares to profit from the tourism boom in 2016

Thematic investing is a common approach popularised by some fund managers in order to woo clients and guide investing decisions on the basis of macro or other economic themes. Popular ones include the ageing population, the rise of Asia, global deleveraging and the shift to renewable energy.

One theme ASX-focused investors could consider is a lift in tourism over the years ahead as the weaker currency provides a big boost to the industry via more high-spending overseas visitors and Australians choosing to holiday at home. Below I have four that may be worth considering for a strong 2016.

Sealink Travel Group Ltd (ASX: SLK) operates ferries across tourist hotspots in Queensland, South Australia and Sydney Harbour. The business also benefits from the super-low energy price environment as one of its main overheads is diesel to sail the ferries. The stock is up 76% in 2015, although now selling for $3.55 it looks like investors may have missed the boat for now.

Amalgamated Holdings Limited (ASX: AHD) shares have climbed 43% in 2015 as investors warm to its cinema and hotel operations. The group operates the Rydges Hotels and Resorts alongside the more fashionable QT Hotels. It is investing heavily in growing the QT brand after the big success of the Sydney operation, with new QT hotels planned for Bondi, Wellington and Melbourne in the year ahead after a busy year of new openings elsewhere in 2015. This is a business to watch.

Sydney Airport Holdings Ltd (ASX: SYD) remains leveraged to the growth in international passenger numbers in particular, with Asian and particularly Chinese arrivals continuing to show double-digit growth rates. The airport offers defensive earnings and an attractive yield, which means it looks a strong prospect for income seekers in particular.

Mantra Group Ltd (ASX: MTR) shares are up 62% in 2015 and as the largest listed hotel and accommodation operator on the ASX it is a big winner from increasing tourism. Over the long term it looks a prime beneficiary of the rise of Asia’s middle class, which is expected to grow from 500 million people today to 3.2 billion in 2030. Its leading brand is the Peppers Hotels and it has plenty of opportunity to grow organically or acquisitively – shares sell for $4.69 and are not far off record highs.

Where ever they are in the world tourists are generally seen as fair game for a bit of margin gouging by local businesses and entrepreneurial types, especially if currency movements provide the opportunity. Any of the last three businesses look reasonable opportunities to investigate further.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no position in any stocks mentioned.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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