Vietnam leads Asia Pacific’s hotel demand recovery

ASIA PACIFIC Demand for guestrooms rose 51% in Vietnam in July year over year, leading a strong month of hotel industry recovery across Asia Pacific.

International inbound tourism growth hit 15% for the region as a whole in July, according to new data from Pacific Asia Travel Association. For the first seven months of 2010, international visitor arrivals to the region grew by 12% year-on-year.

Arrivals to the Northeast Asia subregion expanded by 15% for the month, slightly slower than the robust growth of 19% seen in May and June. Japan led the way for the subregion, with arrivals growth of 39% for the month, following a year-to-date expansion of 36% for the first seven months of the year. This robust growth has helped Japan inch closer to the pre-recession level of 2008, and August and September results could come very close to equaling the year-to-date peak.

Strong demand growth was also seen for Hong Kong (32%), South Korea (24%), Taiwan (23%) and Macau (23%). Mainland China saw its overall arrivals, including traffic from Hong Kong and Macau , grow by 7% in July, with foreign arrivals growing much more strongly at 19%. Overall, international visitor arrivals to Northeast Asia recorded a growth of 12% for the first seven months of 2010.

Growth in international arrivals to Southeast Asia remained strong at 15% in July, boosted by double-digit growth in arrivals to Vietnam (51%), Singapore (24%), Thailand (14%) and Indonesia (11%). Significantly for Thailand, this was its first month of positive growth in arrivals since April, heralding a positive scenario as it heads into its traditional high season. The smaller destinations of Myanmar (40%) and Cambodia (22%) also recorded significant growth in July. For the first seven months of the year, arrivals to the Southeast Asia bloc increased by 13% year-on-year.

Arrivals to the destinations that make up South Asia grew by 11% for July, comparatively slower than the average 15% growth seen in the first six months of the year, but strong nevertheless. International arrivals to India grew 4%, however, while arrivals to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal continued to record impressive growth rates of 50%, 29% and 26% respectively. During the January-to-July 2010 period, international visitor arrivals to the subregion rose by 14%.

In the Pacific, international arrivals continued to gain momentum after suffering through the ash cloud-related slumps of April. Following a strong 10% expansion in June, arrivals to the subregion posted double-digit growth of 10% in July. Australia, with 11% growth for the month, led the subregion’s strong performance. While weak economic sentiment continues to negatively impact travel from Europe and the Americas to Australia , arrivals from Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia picked up strongly. Growth in arrivals to New Zealand was moderate at 4%, while most of the smaller destinations showed positive growth in July. Overall, the subregion recorded an average growth rate of 5% for the first seven months of the year.