APAC attracts more travellers from around the world

According to the UNWTO, Asia-Pacific recorded a 6% rise in international tourism in 2018, a trend which continues in 2019

In the first half of 2019, Asia–Pacific continued to see strong tourism growth, with a year-on-year rise of 6% over the previous half, according to the September barometer of the UNWTO. South Asia and Northeast Asia reported 7% growth.

Confidence in global tourism performance remains positive yet cautious and with signs of moderate growth for the remainder of the year according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index.

The World Tourism Organisation reported 6% growth for Asia and the Pacific in 2018, reaching 343 million international tourist arrivals, equivalent to 25% of the worldwide total.

Results in 2018 were driven by South-East Asia (+7%) where most destinations posted strong growth, particularly Vietnam, a rising star in the region. China but also India stimulated total arrivals to the region. Indonesia and Cambodia enjoyed double-digit increases in arrivals while Thailand and the Philippines also recorded strong growth thanks to Chinese travellers.

International arrivals in North-East Asia increased 6% last year, led by South Korea which was rebounding from a weaker 2017. Japan continues its stellar tourism performance of the last six years by recording a growth rate of almost 19%. The country is now the third most visited destination in Asia.

Macao (China) and Hong Kong (China) also reported solid results. Meanwhile, mainland China, the region’s largest destination recorded a 2% growth in the first three quarters of 2018. The opening of the Hong-Kong- Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in October 2018 is expected to enhance connectivity and boost tourist flows between the three cities of the Greater Bay Area.

South Asia (+5%) also enjoyed a strong year, with Nepal profiting from higher inbound from India, China and European source markets thanks to a number of promotional campaigns. Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives all reported sound results.

Singapore attracted approximately 18.5 million visitors in 2018, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. This number was a rise of 6.2% over 2017, which was likely due to an increase in arrivals from Asia, USA, and the United Kingdom. Top three markets included visitors from China, Indonesia, and India, due to strong travel demand and increased flight connectivity. Indian travel also escalated due to new cruise offerings from top cruise lines. Overall, 14 out of Singapore’s top 15 markets were able to log growth in 2018 and are expected to continue doing so through 2019. Speaking monetarily, increase of tourism receipts was largely due to growth in entertainment, gaming and sightseeing.

Tourism Australia reports modest growth for the first half of 2019, with y/y change up to the end of July of 2.9%. 9.36 million travellers entered the country in the first seven months; a rise of 260,500. While on the surface, the figures appear to be low, the fact that the average stay in Australia is 32 nights gives the nation a major advantage when it comes to earnings through tourism. 63% are return visitors, and on average, visitors spend over AU$5,000, amounting to a total of over AU$44bn.

Results among Asia’s top tourism earners were solid, according to UNWTO. China recorded a 30% increase up to September, rebounding strongly from a decline in 2017 as a weaker Yuan has made the destination more affordable. Japan and Macao also led results with a 19% and a 16% increase in tourism earnings respectively. Thailand recorded an 8% increase, following several years of double-digit figures.