PATA predicts full recovery make take three years
The Pacific Asia Travel Association has predicted, that even in the base case scenario, visitor numbers to the region will still be below 2019 levels in two years’ time.
The finds are included in the just-released Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2021-2023 report.
The document includes three growth prospects for international visitor arrivals into and across the 39 Asia Pacific destinations between 2021-2023 and cover mild, medium and severe scenarios.
The report shows that even under a mild scenario, the Asia Pacific region in 2023 is likely to still have around four per cent fewer arrivals compared to 2019.
The medium scenario suggests that foreign visitor numbers in 2023 could be only three-quarters of the 2019 volume, while under the severe scenario, that proportion is predicted to reach less than half of the 2019 volume of international arrivals.
The results are very uneven as well, not just under each scenario but also for the major destination regions of Asia Pacific.
The Americas for example, after reaching a total of 45.36 million foreign arrivals in 2020 into the four destinations covered by this region, is unlikely to see any annual increase in international visitors until 2022.
Calendar year 2021 in particular, is projected to be another difficult year for the Americas.
A further annual decline in foreign arrival numbers is expected, with annual losses ranging from 3.59 million to as much as almost 23.76 million, depending upon the scenario conditions at the time.
Visitors into and across Asia on the other hand, are expected to show an increase in 2021 over the 70.64 million received in 2020, but only under the mild scenario.
From 2022 onwards however, annual increases are forecast to gradually improve in volume under each of the three scenarios.
The only differing characteristic is the volume of the annual increase in each case.
PATA chief executive, Mario Hardy, explained: “While growth in international visitor arrivals into and across Asia Pacific remains difficult in 2021, there are promising signs for 2022 and 2023.
“A return to near pre-Covid-19 levels of arrivals, while possible by 2023, appears now to be feasible, at least if conditions as they are now, abate quickly and permanently.
“Much however, will depend on events during this present northern winter and the arrival and management of the more traditional flu season.”
He added: “Given the speed with which conditions can change, the PATA forecast report this year does not have the same destination-specific detail as previously published in the past, but rather focuses on regions and sub-regions.
“They are however more flexible as they will be updated twice over the coming 12 months, to factor in developments, as and when they occur.”
The Pacific is expected to be in a similar position as the Americas in 2021, with visitors falling from the 5.85 million received in 2020 under each of the three scenarios.
While that decrease may be relatively minor under the mild scenario, it could still represent a contraction of almost five million visitors under the severe scenario.
Calendar years 2022 and 2023 however, show some return to annual growth under each of the scenarios.