International arrivals into Asia/Pacific destinations grew by a collective seven per cent year-on-year during the first two months of 2012, according to preliminary data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
At this point Southeast Asia is the fastest growing destination, followed by South Asia, however, both sub-regions generated somewhat slower growth than last year while North America and Northeast Asia saw an encouraging recovery after relatively sluggish growth in 2011.
North America gained positive momentum reporting six per cent year-to-date growth – an outstanding performance compared to the two per cent year-on-year increase in the corresponding period last year.
Both Canada and the US showed healthy results of nine per cent for the month of February 2012.
Growth for Mexico was relatively slow with a two per cent decline followed by a three per cent increase for the first two months of 2012.
North-east Asia has seen an upward growth trend since the last quarter of 2011, posting an aggregate six per cent increase for the first two months of this year.
Intra-regional flow between each of China and the SARS of Hong Kong and Macau was the main contributor to this volume gain for the sub-region.
Korea (ROK) has reported remarkable gains of almost 29 per cent and 22 per cent for the months of January and February respectively, inching closer and closer to the one million visitors mark per month for the first time.
Growth in international arrivals into South Asia was up by almost ten per cent after the first two months of the year; January saw a robust 12 per cent increase year-on-year, but this was followed with a somewhat slower seven per cent increase in February.
The political situation in the Maldives has had a negative impact on its tourism industry.
In February, among a total of four reporting destinations from the sub-region, only the Maldives recorded a decline (down five per cent) – the first negative result since September 2009.
Sri Lanka (up 27 per cent) and Nepal (up 14 per cent) maintained their strong pace of expansion, leading the sub-region in term of growth while in terms of volume gain, India remains the top destination with an additional 40,000 international arrivals added during the January-February period of 2012, relative to the same period last year.
Southeast Asia reported growth of 14 per cent and 11 per cent in January and February 2012 respectively.
Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam all showed a healthy expansion in foreign arrivals for both months while Thailand registered somewhat slower growth of eight per cent and two per cent for the respective months.
Thailand was however, still recovering from the floods of 2011 and this is reflected in these figures.
Overall the sub-region registered a 13 per cent increase in foreign arrivals for the first two months of 2012.