PATA Releases International Visitors Results for September

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released its initial results of the number of international visitors arriving at Asia/Pacific destinations for September 2011. The report also shows that the first nine months of 2011 produced positive levels of growth in many Asia Pacific sub-regions, including a 14 percent increase in South Asia, a 12 percent increase in Southeast Asia, a four percent increase in Northeast Asia, and a one percent increase in the Pacific.

South Asia produced an 11 percent increase in September, adding approximately 60,000 more international visitors to the sub-region, compared to the previous year. There were also a larger number of arrivals from Asian origin markets, such as China and India, compared to a downturn in arrivals from the UK and Italy to the area. Southeast Asia showed a slower growth rate of 9 percent in September, mainly because of a negative performance by Vietnam. But other destinations in the region produced strong growth rates, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

There was a moderate show of growth in Northeast Asia with international arrivals in September. Specific destinations, such as Korea, with a gain of 19 percent, Macau SAR with a gain of 18 percent, and Hong Kong SAR with a gain of 17 percent, showed that foreign arrivals were strong in certain areas of the sub-region. China produced a weak demand for the month of September, while Japan continues to improve, but slowly. The downward shift in travel to the country can be attributed partly to the uncertainty surrounding the possibility of radiation in Japan. Travel to the Pacific only grew by one percent in September. There was a 26 percent increase in foreign travels to New Zealand, supported by the Rugby World Cup, but a decline of 9 percent for Australia in the same month.

The PATA CEO, Martin Craigs, said, “International arrivals momentum into the Asia/Pacific region continues to hold at a relatively strong average rate of around 6 percent. The rising tide is not, however, lifting all boats equally. A few Asia Pacific destinations are facing difficulties and experiencing contracting numbers of visitors.