The Pacific Asia Travel Association released, Monday, preliminary figures for international visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region for January 2011, showing a 7% year-on-year expansion.
South Asia set the pace with the strongest arrivals growth from amongst the four sub-regions covered for January 2011, with a gain of 14%. Sri Lanka (+46%), Nepal (+26%), the Maldives (+18%) and India (+10%) each set new records for the month (year-on-year).
PATA believes ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, which started in mid-February in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, will help maintain the current growth momentum for this sub-region up to and including the final on 2 April.
Southeast Asia also reported a strong gain of 10% for the month, boosted by double-digit growth in international arrivals to Cambodia (+18%), Indonesia (+11%), Myanmar (+27%), the Philippines (+17%), Singapore (+16%), Thailand (+12%) and Vietnam (+22%). Growth in visitor arrivals to Malaysia remained sluggish with only a 1% increase due largely to a small decline in arrivals from Southeast Asia, a sub-region that contributes more than 70% of visitor arrivals to Malaysia.
Northeast Asia registered a comparatively slower growth of 5.5%, although it must be remembered that, because of the enormous volume base, this still equated to more than 940,000 additional arrivals for the month.
Stronger arrivals growth was reported by Hong Kong SAR (+22%), Chinese Taipei (+16%) and Japan (+12%) and this offset subdued growth to China (+1%), Macau SAR (+1%) and Korea (ROK) (+3%). No data is available as yet for Mongolia.
International arrivals to the Pacific recorded a steady growth of 4% for January 2011, but this remained uneven across the destinations. Australia and New Zealand reported foreign inbound growth of 5% and 4% respectively, while the Marshall Islands (+12%), New Caledonia (+16%) and Palau (+35%) each saw relatively robust results. Samoa (-2%) and Vanuatu (-24%) on the other hand recorded contractions in arrivals for the month.
Gains in Asia will be negatively affected by the devastating earthquake and resultant tsunami that struck Japan 18 March.
Japan is the second largest source market for Asia Pacific, behind China, and generated some 17.5 million arrivals to the region’s destinations (including Canada, Mexico, and the USA) last year, a year of growth after declines in both 2008 and 2009. Achieving a similar level of growth now of course looks unlikely.
PATA is hosting its 60th anniversary celebrations in Beijing in mid-April and officials are concerned that Japanese PATA member companies will not be able to attend. That will add more pressure on the association which has pledged a registration of between 800 and 1,000 delegates
Source: PATA website