October continues positive trend for Asia Pacific tourism

Posted: Tue 5 Jan, 2010

January 5, 2010 -- Figures released today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) show that the numbers of international visitors to the Asia Pacific region* grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year in October 2009, improving the overall position for the year (10 months) to just four percent down when compared with the same period in 2008.

 Within Asia, Southeast Asia recorded a strong seven percent growth in international visitor arrivals, boosted by another impressive month for Malaysia (+14%) and better results from Indonesia (+3 percent) and Thailand (+11%).

 In Northeast Asia, arrivals to Chinese Taipei (+13 percent) and Korea (ROK) (+13 percent) maintained strong growth momentum, while arrivals to Hong Kong SAR (+9 percent) and Macau SAR (+5 percent) continued to improve. However, weak arrivals to China (PRC) (+1 percent) and the sharp declines experienced by Japan (–11 percent) limited the overall growth rate for the sub-region to a subdued three percent.

 In South Asia, Maldives (+11 percent), Nepal (+11 percent) and Sri Lanka (+7 percent) reported robust growth in visitor numbers in October but India’s tourist numbers were down by one percent. As a result, the overall growth for the sub-region was a modest two percent, reflecting the dominance of the India inbound travel market in the region.

 The Pacific recorded three percent growth, with Australia (+6 percent) and New Zealand (+8%) leading the rebound. However, arrival growth remained depressed for Guam (–9 percent) and Hawaii (–0.3 percent).

 Lastly, arrivals to the Americas are estimated to be down by three percent, partly contributed by a seven percent drop in inbound tourist numbers to Canada.

 Kris Lim, Associate Director of PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC), says, “October marks the third straight month of above the line gains for international visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region. The growth rate of 2.2% achieved in October is by far the best year-on-year improvement in a very depressed year.

 For the first ten months of the year, we are still some four percent off the pace in terms of arrivals growth compared to 2008 levels, and about three percent off vis-à-vis 2007.”

 “We are expecting stronger gains for the remaining two months of the year and the latest November results from a number of destinations support those expectations. Growth in arrivals is in the double-digit range for Chinese Taipei, Korea (ROK), Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in November. ” adds Kris Lim

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