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Asia continues to drive outbound tourism

Outbound trips from Asia grew 7% through 2012 due in part to rising wages, and the outlook for 2013 remains positive as the region buoys economic threats, despite some cooling in key markets.  


Outbound tourism grows strongly through 2012 and will carry momentum through 2013.

According to the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report, the most frequent travellers came from China and Japan, with both countries reporting double-digit growth in outbound travel. During the first six months of 2012 the number of outbound trips from China grew by 20% as the nation solidifies its position as global engine of growth.

Meanwhile, Japan has recovered from the market collapse following last year’s tsunami and registered 13.7% growth during the first nine months of this year. However, since news emerged of its island dispute with China the momentum has been lost somewhat, and growth in outbound travel is expected to slow to 3% in the year to come.

South Korea also witnessed a 6.7% increase in outbound trips, but growth momentum fell away towards the end of the year due in part to declining confidence in purchasing power. In South Asia and Southeast Asia meanwhile, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore reported less than 5% growth through 2012, with only Indonesia and the Philippines expected to achieve double digit growth.

The outlook for most Asian markets is positive, with six per cent growth in Asian outbound travel forecast for 2013. Only one-third of Asians said the global financial crisis would affect their travel plans, while two-thirds said it had no impact at all. A survey of expected travel activity in 2012 found that 29% of Asians intend to travel more than in 2013, while only 16% aim to travel less, and little over 50% said they would undertake the same amount of trips

Dr. Martin Buck, Director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin, said; “Over the coming years Asia will continue to be one of the main forces driving international tourism. Despite the economic uncertainty threatening major markets such as China and other countries in Northeast Asia, travellers from those countries will play an important role in global tourism.”

Conducted by IPK International consultants and sponsored by ITB Berlin, details of the studies will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December at www.itb-berlin.com. The report is based on the assessments of around 50 tourism experts from 30 countries.

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