Asia to attract half a billion visitors per year

Visitors queue up to enter Xi'an Qujiang Ocean World
Visitors queue up to enter Xi’an Qujiang Ocean World

More than half a billion people will travel to destinations in Asia every year by 2021, a new report has predicted.

In its latest tourism forecast, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) revealed that the region is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 5.8% over the next five years, in terms of international arrivals. This will take Asia’s total arrivals to 573 million by 2021, compared to 433m in 2016.

This means that an additional 140m people will visit the region in five years’ time, compared to last year – the equivalent of the entire population of Russia.

PATA’s forecast covers the broader Asia Pacific region, including the Americas and Pacific. By the start of the next decade, the combined inbound count is expected to be close to 758m, including 156m arrivals to destinations in the Americas and 28m to the Pacific. Asia’s average annual growth rate of 5.8% is faster than the 5% growth forecast for the wider region.

“The importance of the Asia Pacific region, both as a receiver and a generator of international arrivals, has been evident for some time and the momentum certainly appears to be holding over the next five years,” said Dr Mario Hardy, PATA’s CEO.

“With the maturing of many Asian source markets, destinations beyond the Asia Pacific region are also being increasingly explored. However, these destinations need to be ready to deliver a service that the increasingly sophisticated Asian traveller has already experienced in Asia and is now seeking in destinations further afield.”

By 2021, Asian nationals will account for more than three quarters of all international arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations.

Intra-regional flows within Northeast and Southeast Asia, as well as the visitor flows between these two sub-regions, will continue to dominate the growth pattern in 2021, according to PATA. Travel between destinations in Northeast Asia alone will exceed 300m arrivals in five years’ time, driven by the booming Chinese market.

In 2016, 82.6% of arrivals into Asian destinations were from other Asian countries.

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