Asian tourism growth slows

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The growth of international arrivals to the Asia Pacific region slowed to just 4% in April, according to the latest data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The results, released today (31 July), found that Southeast Asia to be the fastest growing Asian sub-region, with arrivals increasing 9% during the month. The smaller volume destinations, notably Cambodia (+24%), Myanmar (+35%) and the Philippines (+10%) surged, while Singapore (+9%) and Thailand (+7%) continued to achieve a steady rate of growth. Collectively the latter two nations added around 200,000 more international visitor arrivals to the Southeast Asian during the month – almost half of the total volume gain for Southeast Asia.

Arrivals to Singapore increased 9% (photo by Tupungato)
Arrivals to Singapore increased 9% (photo by Tupungato)

International arrivals to Northeast Asia increased 5% during the month, with strong gains in Taiwan (+26%), Hong Kong (+14%), South Korea (+28%) and a resurgent Japan (+164%) boosting the region’s performance. Chinese arrivals climbed 4%, but visitor numbers to Macau fell 2%. PATA noted that the growth in arrivals to Northeast Asia was driven by intra-regional traffic, although it noted that positive trends have continued from the Americas and Europe.

South Asia registered slower growth of 5% during April 2012. Growth was uneven across the destinations and ranged from a 1% decrease for the Maldives to a 43% increase for Bhutan. India (+3%) and Sri Lanka (+9%) posted somewhat slower growth compared to the first quarter of the year, while Nepal experienced strong double-digit gains (14%).

Travel demand to the Pacific surged 6% during April 2012, although this did include these results of Hawaii which saw 9% growth. Arrivals to Australia (+1%) and New Zealand (-1%) however, were sluggish.

“Global economic conditions continue to be trying, yet travel demand for Asia Pacific destinations continues to generally remain positive albeit with a wide range of performances at both destination and origin market levels. During the first four months of 2012, Asia Pacific destinations added close to nine million additional international arrivals to the collective count putting the region well on the road to yet another record year in terms of foreign inbound numbers. However, the dynamics of these flows are changing and it will be interesting to see just how these play out in the months ahead,” said PATA CEO, Martin Craigs.

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