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Sharp rise in Asia Pacific tourist visitor numbers

Sharp rise in Asia Pacific tourist visitor numbers

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has reported international visitor arrivals into Asia/Pacific destinations for July 2011 show a year-on-year increase of seven per cent.

PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre notes the growth rate has become more stable following the global economic recovery phase, which started in early 2010 and peaked in June of that year.

Nevertheless, since then, Asia has continued to show healthy expansion.

For the first seven months of 2011, international visitor arrivals into Asia/Pacific have grown five per cent. Within Asia, south Asia is leading the pack growing by 14 per cent, with south-east Asia up 12 per cent, north-east Asia up four per cent and the Pacific region up one per cent.

South Asia set the pace with the strongest arrivals growth in July, recording 14 per cent growth and adding almost 90,000 more international visitors to the sub-region’s total compared to July 2010.

India (up ten per cent) grew at a faster rate than in previous months due in part to the lower growth base of July 2010.

The Maldives (up 27 per cent), Nepal (up 20 per cent) and Sri Lanka (up 32 per cent) all enjoyed buoyant growth in foreign arrivals.

The positive momentum continued for south-east Asia in July with the sub-region returning an 11 per cent increase in international visitor arrivals.

The growth rate of foreign arrivals into Thailand (up 19 per cent) returned to a more normal level after three consecutive months of post-crisis peaks which were largely inflated on the back of comparison periods involving the political turmoil April to June 2010.

Strong travel demand within the sub-region generally contributed to double-digit growth for all reporting destinations.

The success of Thailand as a tourist destination was recently celebrated by the World Travel Awards, which hosted the annual Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony in Bangkok.

North-east Asia saw a rebound during July to realise a gain of six per cent for the month after posting slow growth since February this year.

China (up two per cent) grew much more slowly than its SARs of Hong Kong (up 22 per cent) and Macau (up 18 per cent) during this period.

However, because of its very large arrivals base, the mainland still managed to welcome more than 260,000 additional visitors during the month compared to July 2010.

Japanese outbound increased by five per cent in July, the first positive month of growth since the tsunami in March.

This promising expansion supported growth for all reporting Northeast destinations, particularly Chinese Taipei (up nine per cent) and Korea (ROK) (up 17 per cent).

Inbound visitors to Japan however, were down by 36 per cent in July.

The Pacific saw a drop in international arrivals of just under the per cent in July 2011.

While this is negative, it is still a slight improvement over the four per cent decline of the previous month.

Most Pacific destinations reported year-on-year declines in international arrivals for the month of July.

However, there were some exceptions including New Caledonia (up 24 per cent), the Cook Islands (up 13 per cent), Palau (up 11 per cent), Vanuatu (up all per cent) and Papua New Guinea (up five per cent).

John Koldowski, director of the Strategic Intelligence Centre said: “Even during times of economic uncertainty, the Asia/Pacific region continues to perform strongly, reinforcing its image and position as a powerhouse of international travel and tourism.

“The source market mix, however, is changing. Some of the more traditional origin markets are losing ground to emerging ones.

“Arrivals from Russia for example have increased by more than 50 per cent so far this year. Numerically, the Russians are now as important as – for example – France and even Germany.”

Koldowski said that intra-Asian growth is “substantial”, with Asia generating more than seven million additional arrivals to the Asia/Pacific region during the seven months to July 2011.