International arrivals in Asia/Pacific destinations grew by a collective seven per cent year-on-year during the first two months of 2012, according to preliminary data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) today.
According to PATA, Southeast Asia is the fastest growing destination, followed by South Asia. However, both sub-regions generated a somewhat slower growth as compared to last year while North America and Northeast Asia saw an encouraging recovery after a relatively sluggish growth in 2011.
North America gained a positive momentum reporting six per cent year-on-year growth – an outstanding performance compared to the two per cent year-on-year increase in the corresponding period last year. Both Canada and the US showed healthy results of nine per cent for February 2012.
Northeast Asia has seen an upward growth trend since the last quarter of 2011, posting an aggregate six per cent increase for the first two months of this year. Intra-regional flow between China, and Hong Kong and Macau was the main contributor to this volume gain for the sub-region.
South Korea has reported remarkable gains of almost 29 per cent and 22 per cent for January and February respectively, inching closer to the one-million-visitor mark per month for the first time.
Growth in international arrivals in South Asia was up by almost 10 per cent after the first two months of the year – January saw a robust 12 per cent increase year-on-year, but this was followed with a somewhat slower seven per cent increase in February.
The political situation in the Maldives has had a negative impact on its tourism industry. In February, among a total of four reporting destinations from the sub-region, only the Maldives recorded a decline of five per cent –– the first negative result since September 2009.
Sri Lanka (up by 27 per cent) and Nepal (up by 14 per cent) maintained their strong pace of expansion, leading the sub-region in terms of growth while in terms of volume gain, India remains the top destination with an additional 40,000 international arrivals added during the January-February period of 2012, relative to the same period last year.
Southeast Asia reported a growth of 14 per cent and 11 per cent in January and February 2012 respectively. Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam all showed healthy expansion in foreign arrivals for both months while Thailand registered a somewhat slower growth of eight per cent and two per cent for the respective months. Thailand was however, still recovering from the floods of 2011 and this is reflected in these figures. Overall, the sub-region registered a 13 per cent increase in foreign arrivals for the first two months of 2012.
Foreign arrivals to the Pacific increased by four per cent for the first two months of the year. Growth was robust at six per cent in January, but much lower at two per cent in February. Australia saw an increase of two per cent while New Zealand saw a decline of two per cent while travel demand to most reporting Pacific Islands has held up well.
Growth for the sub-region was supported by intra-regional flows from Australia and New Zealand and some recovery from Japanese travellers to a number of Pacific destinations including Hawaii and New Caledonia.