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.”
The PATA Annual Tourism Monitor 2016 (Early Edition) is available now at the PATA Store or by contacting the publications team at publications@PATA.org.