Intra-Asia travel remains dominant force in region, shows PATA study

Asia continued to dominate the supply of international visitor arrival numbers (IVAs) into Asia-Pacific in 2018, generating close to 63% of the 696.5 million IVAs into the region, according to data from the Annual Travel Monitor 2019 Final Edition released by PATA.

In percentage growth terms between 2017 and 2018, Africa outbound into Asia-Pacific had the strongest annual increase at over 13% year-on-year, followed by Europe at almost 11% and then Asia at 7.3%. The nondescript ‘Others’ category increased by 7.5% in 2018, year-on-year.

Intra-Asia travel remains dominant force in region: PATA

By annual increase in the absolute volume of foreign arrivals over that same period, these positions changed somewhat, with Asia generating close to 30.3 million additional foreign arrivals, followed by Europe with more than 8.5 million and then the Americas with just over 5.9 million.
Africa generated a volume increase of just under half-a-million IVAs.

Out of Africa, it was North Africa that generated the largest volume of additional foreign arrivals into Asia-Pacific between 2017 and 2018.

Across the Americas, North America produced the strongest annual incremental increase in foreign arrivals into Asia-Pacific in 2018, generating almost 4.2 million of the 5.917 million increase in arrivals from the Americas between 2017 and 2018 (70.8%).

In Asia, North-east Asia as an origin market showed the strongest increase in absolute numbers out of this region between 2017 and 2018.

The collective markets of Europe added more than 8.5 million IVAs into Asia-Pacific between 2017 and 2018, with West and East Europe supplying the bulk of that additional volume between those two years.

Additional IVAs into Asia-Pacific from the Pacific between 2017 and 2018 were mostly out of Oceania.

At the individual origin market level, those with the strongest annual percentage growth rates into Asia-Pacific in 2018 were ranked as:

All told, 46% of the 245 origin markets (including ‘Others’) covered in this report had annual growth rates in excess of 10%, while 66% grew by five per cent or more between 2017 and 2018.

For the absolute volume increase between 2017 and 2018, the strongest source markets into Asia-Pacific were ranked as:

Interestingly, each of these top five origin markets are within the Asia-Pacific region. Intra-regional travel remains very strong.

Of the source markets covered in this report, 12 (about 5%) generated annual volume increases of more than one million each, while 20 (about 8%) produced more than half a million additional IVAs into Asia-Pacific between 2017 and 2018.

Early 2019 data for foreign arrivals into 37 Asia-Pacific destinations shows strong early performances from a number of destinations including:

While Europe’s Greece and Bulgaria both represent extra-regional increases into Asia-Pacific in early 2019 over early 2018, the remainder in this group are all from within Asia-Pacific.

While only two origin markets have so far added more than one million additional IVAs into Asia-Pacific between early 2018 and early 2019, just under 10% of these 232 markets had already generated more than 100,000 additional arrivals into the region over these periods. Included among these are:

PATA’s CEO Mario Hardy said: “Asia-Pacific is still the major generator of arrivals into Asia-Pacific, with Asia especially playing a lead role in that regard. Outside of Asia-Pacific, Europe is an important contributor, with both West and East Europe in particular, supplying significant numbers of additional arrivals in early 2019.”

“Nothing remains the same however and various tumultuous activities that are currently playing out globally and in the Asia-Pacific region will undoubtedly affect the origin and distribution of international arrivals by the end of the year.

“It remains imperative therefore that the international tourism sector remains agile and able to shift its marketing focus to areas of higher potential as these interventions peak and then ultimately fade. The provision of appropriate and timely intelligence as to what these areas of higher potential may be has never been more critical and could easily spell the difference between growth and contraction for players in this field and at this time.”

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