BANGKOK, May 10, 2016 — Destinations across Asia Pacific in aggregate welcomed 570 million foreign arrivals in 2015, setting a new record for international arrivals into the region. Aggregate annual growth was 4.1 percent, with eight of the 11 Asia Pacific sub-regions producing annual growth rates above that of the Asia Pacific average, ranging as high as 8.7 percent for Oceania and eight percent for Southeast Asia.
These are just a few of the top-level findings contained in the PATA Annual Tourism Monitor 2016 (Early Edition) released today.
Additional analysis shows that, in volume terms, the incremental increase in absolute numbers was close to 22.5 million additional foreign arrivals over that of 2014 with Asia receiving three-quarters of that gain. The Americas* captured 21 percent of the additional volume, followed by the Pacific with a four percent share.
Of the 40 destinations covered in this report, 29 reported positive gains in 2015 over those of 2014, with nine of those showing double-digit growth rates. Myanmar led the way with an impressive increase of almost 52 percent followed by Japan with just over 47 percent year on year. Chile recorded growth of 23 percent and Thailand enjoyed an annual gain of more than 20 percent.
PATA CEO Mario Hardy pointed out that ‘a number of changes throughout the year were instrumental in producing such strong gains for a number of destinations, including the relaxation of visa requirements and of course additional capacity into certain destinations’.
He added, “The modification of visa regulations to allow for online visa processing and in a few destinations, the more complete liberalisation of the process itself, has validated those actions with stronger arrival rates. This has occurred without any compromise of the safety and security of those destinations. There is a lesson there for all of us that security and ease of access can work well together if given a chance.”
At the individual origin-destination level a number of other strong performances become obvious, with, for example a doubling of arrivals between 2014 and 2015 that include:
- Vietnam into Macao SAR (+226 percent)
- Saudi Arabia into Mexico (+148 percent)
- China into Palau (+121 percent)
Such performances extended in many cases into the actual increase in annual arrival numbers as well. For example:
- Hong Kong SAR into China (+3.3 million)
- China into Thailand (+3.3 million)
- Korea (ROK) into Japan (+1.2 million)
Eight origin-destination Asia Pacific pairs increased their respective activities by more than one million additional arrivals between 2014 and 2015.
Mario Hardy added, “Figures such as these show clearly that the dynamics of travel to and within the Asia Pacific region are changing. We need to be extremely flexible in dealing with these changes if we are to capitalise fully on these opportunities.”
Note to Editors:
* For the purposes of share distribution, arrivals to Guam and Hawaii have been removed from the USA total and kept in the total for the Pacific sub-region.
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 97 government, state and city tourism bodies, 27 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 63 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 43 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which includes ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, WEF, UNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney and London.
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