International visitor arrivals into Asia between January and September showed a collective increase of 5.5 per cent year-on-year, according to preliminary results released today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA ).
Although South Asia recorded a year-on-year seven per cent increase above the Asia average, growth was still relatively sluggish compared to the double-digit growth rates during the corresponding periods of 2010 and 2011, it said, adding that all the destinations showed slowing growth rates with India (up by six per cent) and the Maldives (up by three per cent) registering below the sub-region's average rate. “The slowdown can in part, be attributed to the sluggish arrivals pattern from the main source market of Europe due to the prolonged economic crisis there. Even so, source market data for four reporting destinations within South Asia - excluding India - still showed that Europe remained the highest traffic-generator for the sub-region during the first nine months of the year, followed by Northeast Asia.
During the first nine months of the year, the 4.7 percent collective growth rate for Northeast Asia was somewhat lower than the Asia average however this percentage increase translated to around 7.8 million additional international visitor arrivals to the sub-region, it added. Intra-regional flows remained the key force behind this growth in both volume and percentage gain terms for the period. China (down by two per cent) and Macau SAR (up by one per cent) saw relatively weak results while the remaining destinations, Japan (up by 41 per cent), Chinese Taipei (up by 24 per cent), Korea (ROK) (up by 19 per cent) and Hong Kong SAR (up by 16 per cent), performed strongly with each destination posting double-digit growth over the period.
“Although arrivals growth rates into Asia have slowed a little, they are still robust,” chief executive of PATA Martin J Craigs said, adding that it is particularly pleasing to see destination Japan recovering its arrivals numbers. “Myanmar, however, has been the story of the year.”Growing at an average rate of 10 per cent during the three quarters of the year, seven reporting destinations in Southeast Asia collectively showed buoyant increases in visitor arrivals from Northeast Asia with more than 1.3 million additional visitors arriving from that sub-region. Fast growing intra-ASEAN travel demand also boosted growth for the period, it said, adding that most destinations in the sub-region posted softening growth rates compared to the corresponding period last year, with the exception of two significant destinations, Cambodia (up by 24 per cent) and Myanmar (up by 43 per cent).