Asia Pacific arrivals grow 10%
International visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region continued their trend of double-digit growth in March 2012.
According to the latest data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the region saw a combined 10% jump in arrivals during the month, led by Southeast Asia, which saw a strong 15% increase in visitor numbers compared to March 2011. Thailand achieved double-digit growth (+12%) for the first time since September last year when severe flooding hit the country. The region was boosted by strong demand from emerging markets; PATA noted that Russia is now as important as the UK in terms of arrivals from Europe, while China, along with South Korea, is the largest Asian source market.
The recovery of international arrivals to Japan (+92%) a year after the earthquake and tsunami contributed to an overall 8% increase in visitors to Northeast Asia. International arrivals to Japan however, are still 4% lower than in March 2010. The easing of restrictions on solo travellers from mainland China to Taiwan has significantly increased traffic to the island destination, while inbound into South Korea also saw a strong increase for the month (+17%). China reported growth of 1% for total inbound crossings, however the number of international arrivals increased at the much stronger rate of 7.5%.
South Asia was the second fastest growing market, reporting 14% year-on-year growth in March 2012. In terms of visitor volume however, it still lags behind other Asia Pacific sub-regions, with just 860,000 arrivals for the month. With the exception of the Maldives, which reported a 5% decline, all reporting South Asian destinations saw double-digit growth. Nepal and Sri Lanka performed particularly well, with gains of 37% and 21% respectively.
The Pacific recorded 12% growth in international arrivals in March, but PATA noted that this growth can be partially attributed to the Easter holiday falling in March this year, rather than April.
Martin Craigs, PATA’s CEO, said; “Even under the constraints of the current global economy, the Asia Pacific region continues to produce strong performances in international travel flows. This result, after just three months of 2012, has generated almost 7.5 million additional foreign arrivals into Asia/Pacific destinations. The continued growth puts the region firmly on track to reach PATA’s forecast of 450 million arrivals for calendar year 2012.”