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Asia Pacific Region Continues to Lead Global Travel Recovery, with Strong Future Forecasts

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According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer reveals that emerging destinations are taking the lead in the global recovery of the travel industry, with Asia and the Pacific currently at the forefront.  The region has “once again shown resilience and a strong capacity for recovery,” posting 14% growth in international arrivals through August 2010. Compared with the pre-crisis year of 2008, the region has already gained an extra 10 million international tourist arrivals. WTO adds that most destinations have registered double-digit growth rates, many even above 20%.

These numbers are higher than expected. In March of 2010, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) had forecasted tourism demand to continue with an  average +2.7 annual growth rate across the Asia Pacific region through 2012. PATA also cited this expected growth to be uneven, with South Asia leading at +4.9% annually, followed by Southeast Asia at +4.8% and the Pacific at +4%, with Northeast Asia expected to linger closer +2.2.% growth.

ABACUS International, a  consortium of Asia’s leading airlines, has also stated in a recent release that growth in the Asia Pacific region is expected to continue.  The company said “optimism and confidence is growing among Asian travel agents,” according to their latest Asia Travel Sentiment Survey, with 62 percent of travel agents anticipate a promising industry outlook for the next half year.

“Asia certainly remains the most dynamic region, best demonstrated by international arrivals to Asia Pacific surging 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, and the expected US$5.2 billion profits from Asia-Pacific carriers in 2010 which surpasses the peak in 2007,” said Abacus International President and CEO, Mr. Robert Bailey. Mr. Bailey refers to 2010 statistics from PATA  and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IATA announced in September that international premium air traffic growth remained strong in July, increasing 13.8 per cent year-on-year for the month “despite rising uncertainties about some economies.” Premium routes linked to Asia showed year-over-year high-end demand growth of 23.9 per cent, mostly driven by business travel.

Mr. Bailey continued, “Asia’s growth continues to be fuelled by China and India, and there is no doubt that the growth of these two markets has assisted in the travel industry’s uptick. The importance of the Indo-China region cannot be underestimated, with this region contributing to Abacus’ better-than-expected bookings growth.”

Looking even further ahead, Amadeus released a global travel prediction report, The Travel Goldrush 2020, which cited Asia representing one third of world travel spending by 2020 – up from 21% today. They suggest Asia will account for nearly 22% of global arrivals by 2020 (up from 18% in 2008) and the region’s residents will account for 32% of travel spending by 2020.

The following include references aforementioned in the above article.

Read the full WTO release, International Tourist Arrivals back at pre-crisis peak level.

Read the full PATA release, International visitor arrivals to Asia Pacific destinations forecast to grow.

Read the full Abacus International Release, As Asia Travel Industry Recovers, Travellers Get Smarter – Abacus International Survey Reveals ‘Promising’ Outlook For Travel Industry In Asia

Download the full Amadeus report, Travel Gold Rush 2020

Photos Courtesy of: © Kristen Gill – ATTA Member

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