Southeast Asia continues to lead tourism growth


International arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations increased 7% year-on-year during the first two months of 2012, according to preliminary data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) today.

The growth was led by Southeast Asia, which reported growth of 13% across the two months. Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam all showed a healthy expansion for both months, while Thailand registered somewhat slower growth of 8% and 2% for January and February 2012. The breakdown of the sub-region’s growth was 14% and 11% in January and February 2012 respectively.

Asia Pacific destinations welcomed 7% more international visitors in the first two months of 2012
Asia Pacific destinations welcomed 7% more international visitors in the first two months of 2012

Northeast Asia has seen an upward growth trend since the last quarter of 2011, and posted an aggregate 6% increase for the first two months of this year. Intra-regional flow between each of China and both Hong Kong and Macau was the main contributor in volume terms, although South Korea also reported strong gains of almost 29% and 22% for the two months. As a result, the country is getting closer to achieving the one million visitors per month mark for the first time.

International arrivals into South Asia increased almost 10% in the first two months of the year. January saw a 12% year-on-year increase, but this was followed with a somewhat slower 7% rise in February. PATA noted that the political situation in the Maldives has had a negative impact on arrivals, with visitor numbers to the island nation falling 5% in February. Sri Lanka (+27%) and Nepal (+14%) however, maintained their strong pace of expansion.

Arrivals to the Pacific region increased by 4% for the first two months of the year – 6% in January, but just 2% in February. Australia saw an increase of 2% while New Zealand saw a 2% decline. Travel demand to most reporting Pacific Islands increased.

Martin Craigs, PATA’s CEO, said; “Even under the current constraints of the global economy, Asia Pacific continues to produce strong performances in international travel flows. This result, after just two months, has generated more than three million additional foreign arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations and puts the region on track to reach our forecast of 450 million arrivals for calendar year 2012.”


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