Asia arrivals growth slows again

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The growth in international visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region continues to slow down.

According to the latest data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the region (including data from North America) saw a 3% rise in arrivals in May 2012, compared to the same month last year. This was the second consecutive month of declining growth rates and, according to PATA, “heralds the impact of the various economic contagions across the globe”.

Asia Pacific arrivals climbed 3% in May 2012
Asia Pacific arrivals climbed 3% in May 2012

Southeast Asia is still the fastest-growing sub-region in Asia, seeing 8% growth in May. Myanmar (+53%), Cambodia (+23%) and Singapore (+14%) all performed well, but Vietnam saw a 13% drop in arrivals.

The growth of tourist arrivals into Northeast Asia was also somewhat slower, rising 4% year-on-year. A drop in the number of arrivals into China (-2%) and Macau (-7%) was offset by strong growth into Taiwan (+27%), Hong Kong (+13%) and South Korea (+27%), while the 87% surge in arrivals to Japan reflects depressed tourist flows in May 2011, and PATA noted that the country has still not reached pre-tsunami levels.

Arrivals to South Asia grew 6% during the month. Despite a weak result from the Maldives (-1%) and a relatively slower month for Nepal (+9%), the overall trend for the sub-region still showed some promise compared to the previous month. India was up 5% during May 2012 while Sri Lanka managed a double-digit growth in arrivals (+18%).

The relatively strong performance of the Pacific in recent months continued in May. International arrivals to the sub-region grew 8% year-on-year, although this did include a 12% rise in arrivals to Hawaii. Australia (+2%) and New Zealand (+0%), recorded another stagnant month.

“While there is significant variation in the results at the sub-regional and destination levels, the majority of Asia Pacific economies still reported growth during the month of May 2012. It is evident, however, that the toughening global marketplace is having an impact on the Asia Pacific region. None of us can afford to be complacent as we reach the midway point of calendar year 2012,” said PATA’s CEO, Martin Craigs.

For the first five months of 2012, international visitor arrivals to the region have increased 6%.

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