Asia Pacific tourism’s second half of 2010 kicks off strongly

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 21:47 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) yesterday released preliminary figures for international visitor arrivals into Asia and the Pacific for the month of July 1.

An international inbound growth of 15% highlights continuing strong demand for travel, taking into account the relatively depressed results of a year earlier (July 2009).

For the first seven months of 2010, international visitor arrivals to the region grew by 12% year-on-year.

Arrivals to the Northeast Asia 2sub-region expanded by 15% for the month, slightly slower than the robust growth of 19% seen in May and June. Japan led the way for the sub-region, with arrivals growth of 39% for the month.

The revival of inbound tourism to Japan has been impressive, following a year-to-date expansion of 36% for the first seven months of the year. This robust growth has helped the destination to inch closer to the pre-recession level of 2008, and Japan could come very close to equalling the year-to-date peak in either August or September of this year.

Strong demand growth was also seen for Hong Kong SAR (+32%), Korea ROK (+24%), Chinese Taipei (+23%), and Macau SAR (+23%). China saw its overall arrivals, including traffic from Hong Kong and Macau, grow by seven per cent in July, with foreign arrivals growing much more strongly at 19%. Overall, international visitor arrivals to Northeast Asia recorded a growth of 12% for the first seven months of 2010.

Growth in international arrivals to Southeast Asia also remained strong at 15% in July, boosted by double-digit growth in arrivals to Vietnam (+51%), Singapore (+24%), Thailand (+14%) and Indonesia (+11%). Significantly for Thailand, this was the first month of positive growth in arrivals for three consecutive months and heralds a positive scenario as it heads into the traditionally ‘high’ season.

The smaller destinations of Myanmar (+40%) and Cambodia (+22%) also recorded significant growth in July. For the first seven months of the year, arrivals to the Southeast Asia bloc increased by 13% year-on-year.

Arrivals to the destinations that make up South Asia 4 grew by 11% for the month of July, comparatively slower than the average 15% growth seen in the first six months of the year but strong nevertheless. International arrivals to India grew only slowly at four per cent, however, arrivals to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal continued to record impressive growth rates of 50%, 29% and 26% respectively. During the January-to-July 2010 period, international visitor arrivals to the sub-region rose by 14%.  

In the Pacific 5, international arrivals continued to gain momentum after suffering through the ash cloud related slumps of April. Following a strong 10% expansion in June, arrivals to the sub-region posted double-digit growth of 10% in July. Australia, with 11% growth for the month, led the sub-region’s strong performance.

While weak economic sentiment continues to negatively impact travel from Europe and the Americas to Australia, arrivals from Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia picked up strongly. Growth in arrivals to New Zealand was moderate at four per cent while most of the smaller destinations showed positive growth in July.

Overall, the sub-region recorded an average growth rate of five per cent for the first seven months of the year.