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Tourism

Asia Pacific tourism arrivals up 6 percent in August

(PATA) The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) says international visitor arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations grew by 6% year-on-year in August  2011, the latest month for which reliable figures are available.

Even with economic uncertainty in Europe and North America, growth in international visitor arrivals into the Asia Pacific region has remained steady over the first eight months of 2011. South Asia has set the pace of expansion this year with a 14% increase in international visitors. Southeast Asia is close behind with a 12% increase while Northeast Asia and the Pacific grew by 4% and 1% respectively during the January to August period, year-on-year.

In August, travel to Southeast Asia grew by 15%, up from 11% in July. Thailand (+35%), Vietnam (+29%), Cambodia (+21%), Singapore (+18%) and Philippines (+11%) reported stronger international arrivals growth in August compared to July. Growth for Myanmar and Indonesia, however, was lower compared to July 2011. Overall, growth remains healthy for Southeast Asia.

South Asia was the second fastest growing sub-region in August 2011. With the exception of India, there were across-the-board double-digit increases in arrivals to the sub-region’s individual destinations. Arrivals to India grew at a more moderate pace of 5% during the month, but remained significant in volume terms. India welcomed an additional 20,000 more visitors in August 2011 compared to August 2010.

Northeast Asia registered a year-on-year increase in arrivals of 4% during August. This set a new monthly arrivals record for the sub-region, reaching a foreign inbound volume of more than 20 million in a single month. Nonetheless, China saw a minor drop of 1% and Japan struggled with a 32% decrease in international visitor arrivals during the month, as the negative impact of the March 2011 tsunami lingered. It is interesting to note that the relative shares of international visitor arrivals into Northeast Asia destinations have been changing during the past several years. Hong Kong SAR, Korea (ROK) and Chinese Taipei have been gaining at the expense of both China and Japan.

The Pacific had a static zero-growth August following three consecutive months of contraction. There were increases in foreign traffic into Australia (+3%) and New Zealand (+5%). Meanwhile, international arrivals into New Caledonia and Palau surged by 53% and 36% respectively. However, Hawaii (-4%) and the Northern Marianas (-12%) showed declines in international arrivals.

Bill Calderwood, PATA Interim CEO, said: “International arrivals momentum into the Asia Pacific region continues to hold at a relatively strong rate. Many destinations are performing above that 6% aggregate average. A few Asia Pacific destinations are facing difficulties with contracting numbers of visitors.”

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About Samantha Magick

Journalist and editor

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