Figures just published by PATA show record numbers of international visitors to the Asia Pacific region.
PATA's Annual Travel Monitor 2007, published by the Association's Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC), states that almost 376 million IVAs (international visitor arrivals) were recorded last year - up from around 347 million in 2006.
The strongest year-on-year growth performance in 2007 was in Southeast Asia, a region which includes traditional tourist and traveller hotspots such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, with a 12.2 per-cent increase. However, all destination sub-regions in Asia showed encouraging levels of growth.
The Americas topped the 90 million mark (90.29m) for the first time. Only the Pacific sub-region struggled to maintain momentum with IVAs showing a modest 0.8 per-cent rise at 18.672 m.
The top ten performing destinations in 2007 were led by Papua New Guinea, although the recorded growth of 34 percent against 2006 is off a relatively small numeric base. Interestingly, four Pacific island nations make the 2007 top ten.
PATA's Strategic Intelligence Director John Koldowski is full of praise for destinations across the region. "We've witnessed some very imaginative and inventive promotional campaigns from NTOs, airlines, hotels and tour operators - all keen to grab a bigger slice of the Asia Pacific travel cake - and these campaigns are reflected in some very positive numbers.
"Macau SAR and Malaysia have produced exceptional results, attracting around 27 million and 21 million IVAs respectively. The challenge, of course, is to maintain momentum in the face of some extremely challenging economic conditions and there is ample evidence that the travel and tourism industry can adapt to this new world financial order," adds John.
It's not all good news for Asia Pacific destinations however. Sri Lanka for example, showed an alarming dip in arrivals with an 11.7 per-cent decrease on 2006, reflecting increased regional competition and certain domestic issues which influenced traveller choice.
PATA's Annual Travel Monitor has long been regarded as the definitive reference for industry business planners and forecasters. With the global credit crunch forcing travel sector operators world-wide to rework their numbers, the value of this quantitative report from PATA's Strategic Intelligence Centre has been greatly enhanced. More than ever this report is now helping planners to better understanding cyclical trends, to make more accurate predictions and to produce more realistic business forecasts.
"The Annual Travel Monitor sits above the revenue models operated by hotels and airlines, for example, because it offers quite simply the broadest and deepest ranges of statistical data essential to industry planning and forecasting," says Oliver Martin, Associate Director - SIC at PATA.
"The ATM provides our company with a wealth of insights on the macro tourism market in Asia Pacific. The quality of the data produced by PATA is unmatched," says Greg Klassen, VP - Marketing for the Canadian Tourism Commission.
About PATA 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 PATA's private- and public-sector members, it enhances the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel and tourism to, from and within the region.
PATA provides leadership to the collective efforts of nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, more than 55 international airlines and cruise lines, and hundreds of travel industry companies. In addition, thousands of travel professionals belong to more than 30 PATA chapters worldwide.
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.