South Asia was the second fastest growing sub-region in August, according to Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) data.
With the exception of India, there were across-the-board double-digit increases in arrivals to the sub-region’s individual destinations, it said, adding that arrivals to India grew at a more moderate pace of five per cent in August, but remained significant in volume terms. India welcomed an additional 20,000 more visitors in August compared to same month a year ago, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) results said, showing that international visitor arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations1 grew by six per cent year-on-year in August, the latest month for which reliable figures are available.
South Asia has set the pace of expansion this year with a 14 per cent increase in international visitors. Southeast Asia is close behind with a 12 per cent increase while Northeast Asia and the Pacific grew by four per cent and one per cent respectively during the January to August period, year-on-year, it said.
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.
In August, travel to Southeast Asia grew by 15 per cent, up from 11 per cent in July. Thailand (up by 35 per cent), Vietnam (up by 29 per cent), Cambodia (up by 21 per cent), Singapore (up by 18 per cent) and Philippines (up by 11 per cent) reported stronger international arrivals growth in August compared to July.
Growth for Myanmar and Indonesia, however, was lower compared to July. But overall, growth remains healthy for Southeast Asia.
Northeast Asia registered a year-on-year increase in arrivals of four per cent during August. It 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 one per cent and Japan struggled with a 32 per cent decrease in international visitor arrivals during the month, as the negative impact of the March 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," the report said, adding that Hong Kong SAR, South Korea 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 (up by three per cent) and New Zealand (up by five per cent).
PATA Interim CEO Bill Calderwood said that international arrivals momentum into the Asia Pacific region continues to hold at a relatively strong rate. "Many destinations are performing above that six per cent aggregate average," he said, adding that a few Asia Pacific destinations are facing difficulties with contracting numbers of visitors.
Meanwhile, international arrivals into New Caledonia and Palau surged by 53 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. However, Hawaii (down by four per cent) and the Northern Marianas (down by 12 per cent) showed declines in international arrivals.