With highest South Asian arrival, international visitor arrivals into Asia-Pacific destinations for September showed a collective year-on-year increase of 5.7 per cent, a decline of half a percentage point from the previous month’s growth rate, according to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) today released its preliminary results.
For the first nine months of 2011, all Asia Pacific sub-regions maintained a positive performance, although at different levels of growth led by South Asian growth of 14 per cent, Southeast Asia up by 12 per cent, Northeast Asia up by four per cent, and the Pacific up by one per cent.
South Asia led the pack for the month of September with an 11 per cent increase. It added nearly 60,000 more international visitors to the sub-region over the corresponding period last year. For the four smaller volume destinations reporting source market information — Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka — arrivals from Asia increased significantly in terms of both volume and growth rate.
The number of arrivals from Asian origin markets – supported by strong demand from China and India – was well above that of the European generating markets for the fifth consecutive month. It was also influenced by a downturn in arrivals from the UK and Italy to various South Asia destinations.
Southeast Asia registered a relatively slower growth rate of nine per cent in September driven in part by a strong negative performance by Vietnam (down by 13 per cent). Even so, the growth rates into all other destinations remained relatively strong as can be seen by the individual country performances; Myanmar (+25per cent), Thailand (+23per cent), Cambodia (+21per cent), Indonesia (+16per cent), the Philippines (+15per cent) and Singapore (+nine per cent). Malaysia is still unable to release arrivals figures because of difficulties with a new immigration system.
International arrivals to Northeast Asia showed moderate growth for September with a collective gain of five per cent year-on-year. Despite the slower sub-regional average growth rate, foreign arrivals into specific destinations, within the sub-region were very strong. Korea (RoK) for example saw a gain of 19 per cent for the month. Macau SAR saw an 18 per cent increase. Hong Kong SAR expanded by 17 per cent, while Chinese Taipei reported a 10 per cent gain.At the other end of the spectrum, however, China saw another relatively passive month of weak demand (+0.5 per cent). Foreign inbound traffic into Japan (-25 per cent) continued to improve progressively but still very slowly. Year-to-date growth in arrivals to the sub-region remains somewhat slower at four per cent following a very strong increase of 12 per cent in the January to September of 2010. The downward shift reflects some softening in travel demand to the sub-region that can be attributed – at least in part – to the continuing uncertainty associated with radiation in Japan.Travel demand to the Pacific remained sluggish during September with arrivals to the sub-region growing by only one per cent. Growth for the sub-region was supported by the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand which saw an increase of 26 per cent in foreign arrivals.
On the back side of that however, the Rugby World Cup also had some role in dampening outbound from New Zealand to Australia, resulting in an overall decline of nine per cent for Australia during September. Most Pacific island nations recorded year-on-year increases in international arrivals for the month of September. The only exceptions were the Northern Marianas (-15 per cent), Samoa (-14 per cent), Guam (-6 per cent) and the Cook Islands (-1 per cent).
According toPATA CEO Martin Craigs, “International arrivals momentum into the Asia-Pacific region continues to hold at a relatively strong average rate of around six per cent. “The rising tide is not, however, lifting all boats equally,” he said, adding that a few Asia Pacific destinations are facing difficulties and experiencing contracting numbers of visitors.