Inbound arrivals to increase across APAC: PATA

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released its latest quarterly international visitor arrivals (IVAs) forecast current to May 6, 2022, based on the data provided by 39 Asia-Pacific destinations.

In line with the start of the region’s travel recovery, aggregate numbers into the 39 Asia-Pacific destinations are projected to have step-wise annual increases beginning in 2022 and continuing to 2024 across all three of the mild, medium, and severe scenarios.

Recovery for international visitor arrivals across Asia-Pacific is predicted to reach between 25-48% of 2019’s

IVA recovery rates (above 2019 baseline level) for visitors into and across Asia-Pacific is predicted to reach between 25-48% of the volume last received in 2019, with the numbers reflecting the range of potential outcomes from a severe to a mild scenario. This is a solid improvement over the 16-18% range of 2021 – the trough year for most Asia-Pacific destinations – and heralds the beginning of a continued growth trend to 2024.

The number of foreign arrivals into and across Asia-Pacific is still projected to either reach parity with the 2019 position (medium scenario) or be well above it (mild scenario) by 2024.

A possibility exists for conditions to deteriorate once again – with multiple influencing factors including the ongoing pandemic continually evolving, the Ukraine-Russia crisis, escalating jet fuel prices, and limited air capacity and routes, plus industry-wide staff shortages.

While annual growth is predicted to occur for each of the 39 destinations covered between 2022 and 2024, there will be some variations illustrated by the differences in relative positions for each of the three destination regions of Asia-Pacific, as well as under each of the three scenarios within each of those regions.

At the individual destination level, recovery rates vary broadly in 2022 and are predicted to range from less than 15% to almost 99%, while in 2024, they range from 86% to 120% under that same scenario. Projections are now for Asia-Pacific to reach an IVA count in 2024 of 510-832 million, depending on which scenario plays out over that period.

Similar variations are apparent across the source market regions relevant to Asia-Pacific, although in general, the trend is back towards the same inbound structure of 2024 under the medium scenario.

PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera observed that while a positive turning point is predicted to occur in 2022 for all the 39 Asia-Pacific destinations covered in these updated forecasts, many market variables are currently influencing travel and significant challenges still lay ahead.

Even with the momentum for international travel demand increasing, she pointed out, multiple challenges need to be navigated by the global travel and tourism sector, such as emerging new strains of Covid, escalating jet fuel prices, rising inflation, and geo-political conflicts.

Safety, wellness and smooth travel experiences are top of mind as needs for post-pandemic travellers, therefore it is vital to provide clarity in processes and deliver good customer support in the face of ever-changing circumstances.

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