Continued growth fuelled by solid intraregional demand

Latest figures from the UNWTO indicate continuing strong growth in international tourism in Asia in 2018

Statistics released this month indicate a 7% increase in arrivals from January-June 2018, with SE Asia welcoming 9% more tourists.

Growth in Asia and the Pacific in 2017 (+6%) reflected solid intraregional demand, particularly from China, the Republic of Korea and Australia, according to UNWTO.

International tourist arrivals to Asia and the Pacific in 2017 reached 323 million, a 6% increase on the 2016 tourist numbers. The region’s international tourism receipts totalled US$390 bn, an increase of 3%.

Results in North-East Asia, the largest subregion in Asia, were positive overall. Solid growth was recorded in many destinations, led by Japan (+19.4%), which enjoyed its sixth straight year of double-digit figures in arrivals. By contrast, the Republic of Korea suffered a decline, due to fewer arrivals from China.

South-East Asia (+8.6%) enjoyed the highest growth of all Asian subregions in 2017, with an additional nine million international tourists.

This included countries such as Brunei (+18.3%), Cambodia (+11.8%), Indonesia (+16.9%), Myanmar (+18.4%) and the Philippines (+11%).

Growth across destinations was fuelled by robust demand from North-East Asian (+3.4%) source markets. Vietnam (+29.1%) recorded the fastest growth in arrivals, while Thailand (+8.6%), the subregion’s largest destinations, added three million more arrivals. Visa exemptions and improved air connectivity also contributed to the positive results.

Positive results in South Asia (+5.6%) were largely driven by the strong performance of India (+6.7%), the subregion’s largest destination, which benefited from increasing demand from western source markets and simpler visa procedures.

Against a strong first semester in 2018, growth prospects for the remainder of 2018 remain positive overall, although comparatively more moderate, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index Survey.