International visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region increased 6% year-on-year in August 2011, according to the latest data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). The growth rate marks a slight slowdown compared to the 7% increase seen in July 2011, but South and Southeast Asia continued to demonstrate strong double-digit growth.
In August, travel to Southeast Asia grew 15%, up from 11% in July. Thailand (+35%), Vietnam (+29%), Cambodia (+21%), Singapore (+18%) and the Philippines (+11%) all reported stronger international arrivals growth in August compared to July. Growth for Myanmar and Indonesia however, was lower than the previous month.
South Asia was the second fastest growing sub-region in August 2011. With the exception of India, which saw a 5% increase in arrivals, South Asian nations achieved across-the-board double-digit growth. Arrivals to India remained significant in volume terms however, with the country welcoming an additional 20,000 visitors in August 2011 compared to August 2010.
Northeast Asia registered a year-on-year increase in arrivals of 4% during August. This set a new monthly arrivals record for the sub-region, reaching an inbound volume of more than 20 million international visitors in a single month.
Nonetheless, China saw a minor drop of 1% and Japan struggled with a 32% decline in international arrivals during the month, as the negative impact of the 11 March disasters continued. PATA noted that the share of international visitor arrivals into Northeast Asian destinations has been changing in the past few years, with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan gaining at the expense of China and Japan.
Arrivals into the Pacific region remained level in August following three consecutive months of contraction, although the key markets of Australia and New Zealand achieved growth of 3% and 5% respectively. The overall result however, was impacted by a 4% decline in visitors to Hawaii.
Bill Calderwood, PATA’s interim CEO, said; “International arrivals momentum into the Asia Pacific region continues to hold at a relatively strong rate. Many destinations are performing above that 6% aggregate average. A few Asia Pacific destinations are facing difficulties with contracting numbers of visitors.”
For the first eight months of 2011, South Asia has seen a 14% increase in international visitors, while Southeast Asia experienced a 12% rise. Northeast Asia and the Pacific grew by 4% and 1% respectively.