CHINA will continue to contribute the largest share of tourists to the Asia-Pacific region this year, according to a report by MasterCard.
The MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index revealed that 50.4 million tourists from China are projected to travel to destinations across Asia-Pacific this year to make up 15.7 per cent of total international overnight arrivals in the region.
They are expected to spend US$45.3 billion, contributing 18.2 per cent of total tourist expenditure in the region.
South Korea (32.5 million; 10.1 per cent) ranked second after China, followed by Taiwan (22.5 million; 7 per cent), the US (20.6 million, 6.4 per cent) and Japan (18 million; 5.6 per cent).
China propelled to its lead from 2009, when it was the sixth biggest contributor of tourists to the region, driven by 25.9 per cent compounded average annual growth rate to reach the top spot in 2012. It has held the lead ever since.
Japan in contrast has seen its share of tourists to Asia-Pacific destinations fall from top spot in 2009 (9.7 per cent share) to fifth in 2016 (5.6 per cent share).
Further afield, the US at number four has consistently been the highest ranked non-APAC origin country since 2009. The UK is the only other non-APAC source market within the top ten at ninth place.
“In the past few years, the mix of tourists in key Asia-Pacific destinations has changed significantly, reflecting the economic rise of China and other emerging Asian economies. Where you might have found tourists from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and the US, you are now much more likely to come across travelers from mainland China,” commented Matthew Driver, executive vice president, global products & solutions, Asia-Pacific at MasterCard.
“The impact of the economic transformation of China and specifically the rise in disposable incomes is the biggest driver of tourism growth globally. While we are expecting similar growth from India and Indonesia in the longer term, as well as other segments such as Halal tourism, Chinese tourists are more concentrated in Asia and impact markets at a larger scale.”