PATA sees regional growth of 5%

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released preliminary figures for international visitor arrivals into Asia and the Pacific for the month of February 2011, showing a year-on-year increase of five per cent.

February demand growth was to a certain degree impacted by the shift of the Lunar New Year from the middle of the month in 2010 to the first week of the month this year.

South Asia continued to set the pace with the strongest arrivals growth from amongst the four sub-regions covered in February with a gain of 15 per cent.

Two destinations involved in the hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, India and Sri Lanka, recorded the fastest arrivals growth of 15 per cent for the month.

Arrivals to the Maldives (up 13 per cent) and Nepal (up 12 per cent) also grew strongly in February.

Travel demand to Southeast Asia remained robust with arrivals to the sub-region growing by ten per cent year-on-year, with the majority of the destinations recording double-digit gains in arrivals, led by Cambodia (up 22 per cent), Myanmar (up 29 per cent) and Vietnam (up 22 per cent).

Northeast Asia on the other hand registered a significantly slower growth of three per cent for the month, but added 1.4-million more visitors.

Chinese Taipei (17 per cent) maintained strong inbound growth but growth for other destinations in the sub-region were modest ranging from two per cent (China, Hong Kong SAR and Japan) to five per cent (Macau SAR).

International arrivals to the Pacific rose four per cent in February 2011, with Australia registering a marginal decline (down 0.2 per cent) and New Zealand posting flat inbound growth of 0.2 per cent.

Arrivals to Vanuatu and Hawaii surged 71 per cent and 12 per cent respectively but the Marshall Islands and Northern Marianas reported double-digit declines for the month.

Said Kris Lim, director, Strategic Intelligence Centre, PATA: “For the first two months of the year, inbound growth was six per cent.

“Moderating growth was to be expected following last year’s impressive recovery.

“Going forward, economic fundamentals remain strong and the positive momentum is expected to continue but the aftermath of the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa are expected to have a dampening effect on travel demand in the short-term.”