Asia Pacific a hotspot for International Tourism

Asia and Pacific continued as a hot spot for international tourism in 2012, attracting what is expected to be in excess of 350 million international visitors, expanding its collective inbound count by more than five per cent and generating more than 18 million additional foreign visits, year-on-year.

Preliminary statistics released by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) states that 2012 has become the third consecutive year in which foreign arrivals growth has remained positive for the region.

Of the 40 separate destinations covered, only five reported contractions for the year. Most of those were relatively marginal for the region as a whole.

The only exception was China, which, with a contraction in growth of 2.2 per cent, is estimated to have lost around three million international arrivals (foreign and compatriot) from its 2011 total international inbound count.

Southeast Asia was the strongest performer in 2012 in annual percentage growth terms,with a gain of 9.9 per cent for the year. This equated to an increase of more than eight million additional arrivals over previous year and pushed ASEAN aggregate international inbound count to almost 89 million.

According to PATA statistics, after several years of strong double-digit growth rates, South Asia is now settling back somewhat, but still returning strong gains; 2012 for example saw growth of 6.6 per cent and an increase of well over half-a-million additional international arrivals.

Sri Lanka, with a growth of almost 18 per cent saw its foreign arrivals count pass one million mark, while Maldives fell just short of it. India remains the titan in South Asia, however, with more than 6.6 million arrivals.

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