The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) today released preliminary tourism arrival statistics for Asia and the Pacific for calendar year 2010, showing a gain of 11% year-on-year. Compared to the corresponding month in 2009, the number of international arrivals in December 2010 was seven per cent higher.
South Asia reported the strongest sub-regional arrivals growth for the year with an aggregate gain of 14% reaching an inbound volume count of just over 8.4-million. India, which captures 70% of the total foreign arrivals to the sub-region, posted a strong nine per cent increase to set a new record of 5.6-million foreign inbound visits for the year. Sri Lanka (+46%), the Maldives (+21%) and Nepal (+19%) also each set new records in terms of visitor volumes on even stronger growth performances last year.
International arrivals to Southeast Asia were 12% higher for 2010 as compared to a year earlier, reaching a volume count of more than 72-million. All destinations in the sub-region set new arrivals records, with growth in traffic to Vietnam (+35%), Singapore (+20%), the Philippines (+17%) and Thailand (+12%) being particularly impressive.
Northeast Asia posted full-year arrivals growth of 11%, reaching a foreign inbound volume of more than 218-million. The strong full-year performances were driven by solid results from Chinese Taipei (+27%), Japan (+27%), Hong Kong (+22%), Mongolia (+20%) and Korea (ROK) (+13%), with all of these setting new records. Macau posted a strong 2010 year-end result (+15%) but is still a little behind the inbound count of 27-million set in 2007.
Growth in the total international visitor inbound count for China was a more modest six per cent in 2010, however, this translates to an additional 7.3-million additional international arrivals over the 2009 count. Growth in foreign arrivals to China – that is excluding arrivals from Hong Kong, Macau and Chinese Taipei – was a more robust 19% for the year, reaching a volume of more than 26.1-million arrivals, again, another record.
The Pacific recorded an increase in foreign arrivals of five per cent for calendar year 2010. Australia and New Zealand, with record arrivals of 5.9-million and 2.5-million respectively, reported full-year growth of five per cent and three per cent respectively for the year. Growth was particularly strong for a number of the smaller Pacific destinations – albeit off a much smaller numeric base – namely Niue (+33%), Papua New Guinea (+19%) and Palau (+19%).
Said Kris Lim, Director, Strategic Intelligence Centre, PATA: “For the travel and tourism industry in Asia and the Pacific, 2010 has been a very strong year. The results for Asia are particularly impressive, with all three sub-regions recording double-digit growth in arrivals, underpinned by the recovery in the key regional source markets of Japan and Korea (ROK); the continued expansion of the China and India outbound markets; the continually expanding low-cost carrier (LCC) network in Southeast Asia and a number of global events that took place in Asia such as the Shanghai World Expo in China and the Commonwealth Games in India.
“The economic outlook for 2011 remains broadly positive but growth in GDP and trade worldwide is expected to moderate, following a robust recovery last year. The USA and Europe remain relatively weak, which means the bulk of the inbound growth for Asia Pacific could be intra-regional going forward,” added Lim.
 Results are preliminary, estimates used for missing data. All comparative figures are year-on-year unless otherwise stated.
 This may be due in part to a different collection and reporting method that came into effect in 2008
Asia & the Pacific include the following sub-regions for the purposes of press releases:
Northeast Asia = China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea (ROK), Macau SAR and Mongolia
Southeast Asia = Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
South Asia = Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
The Pacific = Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu