International visitor arrivals into Asia between January and September 2012 showed a collective increase of 5.5% year-on-year, according to preliminary results released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
During the first nine months of the year, the 4.7% 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. Intra-regional flows remained the key force behind this growth in both volume and percentage gain terms for the period. China (-2%) and Macau SAR (+1%) saw relatively weak results while the remaining destinations, Japan (+41%), Chinese Taipei (+24%), Korea (ROK) (+19%) and Hong Kong SAR (+16%), performed strongly with each destination posting double-digit growth over the period.
Although South Asia (+7%) recorded a year-on-year 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. All destinations showed slowing growth rates with India (+6%) and the Maldives (+3%) registering below the sub-region’s average rate. This 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.
Growing at an average rate of 10% during the three quarters of the year, seven reporting destinations in Southeast Asia1 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. Nevertheless, 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 (+24%) and Myanmar (+43%).