Latest figures released August 28th 2009 by the Pacific Asia Travel Association indicate that the numbers of international visitor arrivals to Asia Pacific* fell by an estimated six percent in Jan-June 2009 compared to H1 2008. The extremely challenging operating environment continued to dampen tourism demand and the month of May confirmed the second major flu outbreak this decade. The travel and tourism sector in Asia Pacific immediately felt the impact with a steep 10 percent decline in visitor numbers. There was, however, a slight improvement in June.
All five sub-regions of Asia Pacific posted declines in visitor numbers for the first half year of 2009, with South Asia recording the largest fall at 8.1 percent. In the Americas, visitor volumes fell by 7.7 percent while Southeast Asia reported a 5.7 percent decline in arrivals. This latter figure is influenced largely by double-digit reductions in the markets of Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The largest sub-region in Asia Pacific, Northeast Asia, registered the smallest rate of decline at 5.2 percent, but lost more than five million international arrivals in volume terms. Visitor arrivals to China PRC, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Japan were down but Chinese Taipei and Korea ROK bucked the trend with double-digit growth at 10 percent and 15 percent respectively. The Pacific recorded a year-to-date visitor number decline of 6.6 percent, hurt by steep falls in arrivals to Hawaii (-10 percent) and Guam (-15 percent).
According to PATA Chairman Mrs Phornsiri Manoharn, "At the midway point of 2009, Asia Pacific has lost six percent in international arrivals which in real terms equates to almost 10.5 million fewer visits to our shores, reflecting the extremely challenging operating environment. There is however some cause for cautious optimism for the second half of the year as the global economy is currently showing more stability with some signs of nascent growth."
* 41 destinations as measured and reported in the PATA Annual Tourism Monitor
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. In partnership with private and public sector members PATA enhances the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region.
PATA provides leadership and counsel on an individual and collective basis to nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies; international airlines, airports and cruise lines as well as many hundreds of travel industry companies across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to nearly 40 PATA chapters worldwide and participate in a wide range of PATA and industry events. PATA's Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) offers unrivalled data and insights including Asia Pacific inbound and outbound statistics, analyses and forecasts as well as in-depth reports on strategic tourism markets.
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