Tourism Officials Optimistic

Tourist arrivals in the Asia Pacific were up slightly for the month of October against the same month one year earlier. Still, for the first 10 months of the year, figures were down 4%.

“October marks the third straight month of above the line gains for international visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region,” says Kris Lim, associate director of the Strategic Intelligence of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

“The growth rate of 2.2% achieved in October is by far the best year-on-year improvement in a very depressed year. For the first 10 months of the year, we are still some 4% off the pace in terms of arrivals growth compared to 2008 levels, and about 3% off vis-à-vis 2007.”

Southeast Asia led the pack, with 7% growth. Northeast Asia and the Pacific were up 3%. In South Asia, growth was up 2%. The Americas experienced negative growth of minus 3%.

Malaysia registered the region’s strongest growth, at 14%. In Northeast Asia, Taiwan and Korea were right behind, with 13% each. Thailand, the Maldives, and Nepal all experienced 11% growth. Arrivals in Hong Kong were up 9%.

They were up 8% in New Zealand and 7% in Sri Lanka. Australia was up 6%, Macau was up 5 %, and Indonesia was up 3%. China experienced moderate 1% growth. But it wasn’t all good news. Japan was down 11%, Guam 9%, Canada 7%, and Hawaii 0.3%.

Tourism officials are optimistic that thing are on the mend. They expect further gains to be registered during the last two months of the year. “We are expecting stronger gains for the remaining two months of the year, and the latest November results from a number of destinations support those expectations,” Kim says.

“Growth in arrivals is in the double-digit range for Chinese Taipei, Korea (ROK), Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam in November.”

Pictured: Perhentian Island, Malaysia

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