Travel TrendsChina tops the region with 161 million international arrivals.

Asia Pacific saw record international arrivals of nearly 700 million last year: PATA

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Asia Pacific also saw the most number of international visitors in 2018 in the last five years.
Asia Pacific also saw the most number of international visitors in 2018 in the last five years.

Last year saw the highest number of international arrivals in the past five years at 699.6 million. The annual growth rate, too, was the highest at 7.7%, with 2015’s 3.9% being the slowest annual growth rate within the same period. 

Asia-Pacific destinations received almost 700 million international visitors in 2018 – a 7.7% increase over 2017, according to a report released by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). 

The report titled “Annual Tourism Monitor 2019 Early Edition” covers 47 destinations across the Asia-Pacific region. 

Last year saw the highest number of international arrivals in the past five years at 699.6 million. The annual growth rate, too, was the highest at 7.7%, with 2015’s 3.9% being the slowest annual growth rate within the same period. 

In terms of the top five Asia-Pacific destinations by volume of arrivals, China leads with 161 million, representing 22.6% of the total visitor volume into and across the region. 

The report also looked at the top five destinations that showed the strongest percentage growth in arrivals between 2017 and 2018. On this list, mainstays like China and Japan are surprisingly nowhere to be found. Instead, Nepal ranks at the top with a 24.8% annual growth rate between 2017 and 2018. 

Over the longer term, China once again tops the list of international visitor volume gain between 2014 and 2018. The tourism juggernaut gained 32.42 million in four years, with Japan and Thailand close behind at 17.78 million and 13.47 respectively within the same time period. 

Dr Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA, pointed out that “2018 continued to demonstrate volatility in markets and destinations, some caused by external factors, including politics, but others by changes in consumer wants, needs and basic preferences. While growth out of many traditional markets begins to waver or stagnate, at least into some destinations, newly emerging markets appear and offer opportunities for those agile enough to not only recognise them but also to be able to change their marketing and promotional efforts at a moment’s notice and capture those fleeting.”

Dr Hardy concluded that, “As an important global industry sector, we need to change even faster and get ahead of that curve, if we are to remain viable and significant into the future. To do that efficiently, like all industry sectors, we need faster and better information upon which to act, leveraged by technology. It is no longer ‘business as usual’.”


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