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 November 17, 2010
PATA: Visitor Arrivals Growth Momentum Remains Robust In August

 The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released preliminary figures for international visitor arrivals into Asia and the Pacific for the month of August1, indicating a year-on-year growth of 10%. Travel sentiment generally remained very robust across the region, as a stabilising global economy together with increased airline seat capacity and frequency supported the demand for travel during the northern hemisphere summer holiday period. Nevertheless, August growth was slower than the 14-16% level seen in the previous three months, largely due to its comparison with the post-recession rebound of August last year. To date, visitor arrivals have grown by a very positive 12% during the first eight months of the year. All sub-regions benefited from the continued strong demand for travel though growth in the Pacific sub-region was a little more subdued.

International arrivals growth to South Asia2 was a strong 14% in August, supported by double-digit increases in inbound numbers to the Maldives (+27%), Nepal (+24%) and Sri Lanka (+36%). Arrivals to India grew at a more moderate pace of nine per cent, but remained significant in volume terms as the destination accounts for 70% of the total inbound visitors to the sub-region. South Asia continued to lead other Asia and the Pacific sub-regions with arrivals growth of 13.9% for the first eight months of this year.

Northeast Asia3 was the second fastest growing sub-region behind South Asia, registering a year-on-year increase in arrivals of 11%. There were generally across-the-board double-digit increases in arrivals to the sub-region's destinations, with the sole exception of China which welcomed six per cent more visitors, including arrivals from Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR. Foreign arrivals to China (excluding those from the two SARs) surged 17%, significantly reinforcing what was a very impressive month for the sub-region as a whole. Growth for the first eight months for Northeast Asia was a robust 12%.

Travel demand to Southeast Asia4 grew by 10%, down from the 16% level seen in July. Only Myanmar reported stronger arrivals growth this month than the last. Growth for the other destinations in the sub-region was, however, generally lower compared to last July's, though many still reported double-digit rates of growth. Indonesia and Malaysia were the exceptions with arrivals growing at a subdued four per cent and three per cent respectively for the month. In spite of a slight slowdown in August, growth in arrivals to Southeast Asia was still a strong 13% for the first eight months of the year.

The Pacific5 recorded an eight per cent improvement in arrivals compared to the previous August with Australia and New Zealand reporting increases of nine per cent and four per cent respectively. The island destinations of the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Northern Marianas, New Caledonia and Palau also recorded arrivals growth for the month. Overall, international visitor arrivals to the Pacific were up by five per cent for the first eight months of 2010.

Said Kris Lim, director, Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC), PATA: said: "The growth momentum remains strong and the immediate outlook remains very positive. Early indications have suggested another strong performance in September as key destinations such as China, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore have continued to report strong inbound growth.

"It is worth noting however that growth in the last quarter of the year is expected to be slower than what we have seen so far this year. This is because the results going forward will be measured against the higher travel base of last year when the economic recovery in Asia and the Pacific began to kick in strongly," added Lim.

1 Results are preliminary, estimates used for missing data. All comparative figures are year-on-year unless otherwise stated.

Asia & the Pacific include the following sub-regions but exclude North America (Canada, Mexico and USA) for the purposes of press releases:
Northeast Asia = China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea (ROK), Macau SAR and Mongolia
Southeast Asia = Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
South Asia = Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
The Pacific = Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu

2 Excludes Pakistan; no data at the time of reporting
3 Excludes Mongolia; no data at the time of reporting
4 Excludes Lao PDR and Philippines; no data at the time of reporting
5 Excludes Fiji, Marshall Islands, Niue, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; no data at the time of reporting