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Asia-Pacific records strong visitor growth in final quarter of 2010

PATA has recorded strong growth across Asia-Pacific. Photo: Accor

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released preliminary international visitor arrivals figures for Asia and the Pacific in October and November 2010, showing year-on-year growth of 9% and 8% respectively.

Growth momentum remained strong heading into December, with a full-year arrivals gain of 10-11% expected for the region in 2010, well above the global figures of 6-7%.

Growth in arrivals to South Asia during the months of October and November were 12% and 19% respectively, with India (+9% and +15%), the Maldives (+20% and +20%), Nepal (+12% and +22%) and Sri Lanka (+39% and +63%) each producing very solid results.

This sub-region is poised to emerge as the fastest growing in the Asia and Pacific region with a full-year growth expectation of around 13% for 2010.

International arrivals to Southeast Asia were also positive with growth of 12% and 8% respectively in October and November 2010. The pace of growth was particularly strong for Cambodia (+30% and +32%), Singapore (+16% and +16%) and Vietnam (+93% and +12%).

A full-year growth performance of between 10-12% is expected for this dynamic sub-region, which is benefiting from the continued expansion of the low-cost carriers (LCCs), as they add both more routes and more flight frequencies.

Northeast Asia registered steady growth of 8% in international arrivals, for each of the months of October and November 2010, which although still relatively strong was none the less comparatively slower than the growth seen over the previous months. While China (+5% and +5%) and Macau SAR (+8% and +7%) registered slower, single-digit growth in international visitor numbers, growth in arrivals to Chinese Taipei (+32% and +29%), Hong Kong SAR (+18% and +17%), Japan (+11% and +12%) and Korea (ROK) (+18% and +15%) were all in the double-digit range. Growth in arrivals to Northeast Asia for the whole of 2010 is expected to be in the 10-11% range.

Growth in foreign arrivals to the Pacific continued to lag behind that of the more dynamic Asia sub-regions. In October, visitor volumes grew by a modest 2%, but November was more encouraging with a 7% expansion overall. While arrivals growth to Australia (+2% and +7%) and New Zealand (-1% and +3%) were comparatively more moderate, the smaller Pacific Island destinations of Palau (+29% and +14%), Northern Marianas (+27% and +18%), New Caledonia (+21% and +23%) and Papua New Guinea (+13% and +15%), managed to post much stronger growth for the two-month period under review, albeit off much smaller numeric bases. Growth in arrivals in the range of 4-5% is expected for the Pacific sub-region for the whole of 2010.

“In what has been a really good year in terms of travel rebound, Asia and the Pacific is poised to record 10-11% growth in 2010, taking the total number of international visitor numbers to the region to over 300 million for the first time,” said PATA Chairman, Hiran Cooray. 

“Add to these results the 94 million arrivals expected to the North America sub-region (Canada, Mexico and the USA) which forms an important part of the wider PATA geography, the overall international visitor arrivals count to the PATA region is set to reach 400 million for 2010, a 10% improvement on 2009.

“The near-term economic outlook for 2011 remains positive with Asian economies expecting to once again lead the way to full economic recovery worldwide.

“Importantly, strong domestic consumption that has been powering the likes of the China and India economies, will further boost the expanding outbound travel markets of these countries, feeding more visitors to the region,” Cooray said.

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