THE Asia-Pacific region posted groundbreaking growth in 2012, welcoming 350 million international visitors to the region, according to preliminary statistics by PATA.
These figures translate into more than five per cent growth year-on-year, adding over 18 million foreign visitors and marking the third consecutive year of positive growth.
In terms of volume, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan attracted more than one million additional arrivals last year, but the good progress award would have to go to Myanmar, Japan, Cambodia, Laos and Taiwan, all of whom boasted year-on-year increases of at least 20 per cent.
South-east Asia came out tops in annual percentage growth as a sub-region, having witnessed a 9.9 per cent hike or more than eight million additional arrivals last year, bringing total international inbound to almost 89 million arrivals.
In particular, Myanmar arrivals skyrocketed 52 per cent to break the one million mark. Cambodia and Laos boasted 24 per cent and 22 per cent increases respectively, pushing past the three million mark.
North-east Asia maintained four per cent growth in 2012, with almost 8.5 million more international arrivals year-on-year.
International arrivals to Japan recorded 35 per cent growth to overcome damage wrought by the March 2011 disaster and move once again into record arrivals territory.Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea added 20 per cent, 16 per cent and 14 per cent growth respectively.
Interestingly, China was one of the five reported contractions for the year with a 2.2 per cent fall or a decline of around three million international arrivals, which includes domestic travellers. However, foreign arrivals alone showed an increase of 1.6 per cent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, South Asia saw 6.6 per cent growth, adding over half a million international arrivals. The number of visitors to Sri Lanka rose by almost 18 per cent, busting the one million mark, while India welcomed 6.6 million arrivals, a year-on-year gain of close to 340,000.
Martin Craigs, CEO, PATA, said: “Asia and the Pacific continues to add substantially to the global international arrivals count. We expect that to continue for some time yet. The players shift and change of course and we can expect some movement in terms of generating and receiving markets. But across the region we expect substantial gains in both the volume and the value of these movements for some time yet.”