PATA: 2012 Was a Record Year for Asia/Pacific Tourism


PATA: 2012 Was a Record Year for Asia/Pacific Tourism

PATA: 2012 Was a Record Year for Asia/Pacific Tourism

March 7, 2013, BANGKOK: Asia and the Pacific continued as a hot spot for international tourism in

2012, attracting what is expected to be in excess of 350 million international visitor arrivals, expanding

its collective inbound count by more than 5% and generating more than 18 million additional foreign

visits, year-on-year. This is according to preliminary results released today by the Pacific Asia Travel

Association (PATA).

This is 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%, is estimated to have lost around three million international arrivals

(foreign and compatriot) from its 2011 total international inbound count.

The picture is quite different for foreign arrivals to China however (i.e. excluding compatriot arrivals).

The year 2012 saw an increase of 1.6% in that inbound volume, year-on-year.

Southeast Asia was the strongest performer in 2012 in annual percentage growth terms, with a gain

of 9.9% for the year. This equated to an increase of more than eight million additional arrivals over the

previous year and pushed the ASEAN aggregate international inbound count to almost 89 million.

Within this sub-region, Myanmar had a staggering increase of almost 52% in arrivals, while Cambodia

and Lao PDR reported gains of 24% and 22% respectively. All three destinations created new records

with Myanmar breaking the million arrivals mark (in total) for the first time. Cambodia and Lao PDR

both also broke the three million mark. They were not alone either as every destination within the

ASEAN region set new highs in terms of international arrivals.

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% and an increase of well over

half-a-million additional international arrivals. Sri Lanka, with growth of almost 18% saw its foreign

arrivals count pass the one million mark, while the Maldives fell just short of it. India remains the titan

within South Asia however, with more than 6.6 million arrivals and a year-on-year gain of close to

340,000 additional foreign arrivals, some 59% of the total additional increase in the arrivals volume to

the sub-region.

Even with the contraction in total international arrivals into China, Northeast Asia still maintained a

growth rate of almost 4% for the year. It dominated the visitor increase count by receiving close to 8.5

million additional international arrivals year-on-year.

Japan turned in the strongest percentage growth with a gain of 35% for the year, a performance that

saw the destination recoup the losses in visitor arrivals following the tsunami of 2011 and move once

again into record arrivals territory. Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR and Korea (ROK) also added to

the sub-regional performance with growth increases of 20%, 16% and 14% respectively.

After a somewhat mediocre performance in 2011 (+0.3% growth), the Pacific bounced back strongly

in 2012 to post a collective gain across eighteen destinations of 6%. This in turn equated to an

increase of better than 1.1 million additional international arrivals to the sub-region, which now

collectively boasts an international inbound volume tantalisingly close to 20 million.

The Northern Marianas (+17.4%), Vanuatu (15.1%) and Guam (+12.8%) reported the strongest

percentage gains, while Hawaii, Australia and Guam posted the greatest gains in additional arrivals

for the year.

/more follows,

Across the Asia/Pacific region, preliminary figures suggest that the top five destinations, by growth in

international visitor arrivals, were: Myanmar, Japan, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Chinese Taipei; each

had a year-on-year increase of 20% or better.

In volume terms, there were six particularly significant outcomes with Hong Kong SAR, Thailand,

Japan, Singapore, Korea (ROK) and Chinese Taipei each securing in excess of one million additional

arrivals in 2012; the SAR of Hong Kong saw 6.7 million additional international arrivals.

Martin J Craigs, CEO of PATA, said: “Asia and the Pacific continues to add substantially to the global

international arrivals count. We expect that to continue for some time yet. The players shift and

change of course and we can expect some movement in terms of generating and receiving markets.

But across the region we expect substantial gains in both the volume and the value of these

movements for some time yet.”

The PATA CEO added: “How we measure and determine the impacts of this growth in traffic is

becoming more important, however. That is why PATA is working to promote the concept of the

Complete Visitor Economy throughout its membership and across the wider industry”.


Asia/Pacific international visitor arrivals (IVAs) trends:

Monthly change, year-on-year (%), Jan-10 to Dec-12

Source: relevant NTOs/NSAs; compiled by PATA


IVAs % change (y-o-y)










































1 Asia/Pacific is defined as including the following sub-regions for the purposes of press releases:

Northeast Asia = China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea (ROK) and Macau SAR

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, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue,

Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu

Results are preliminary; estimates are used for missing data. All comparative figures are year-on-year unless otherwise stated.

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Media Contact:

Parita Niemwongse

PATA Communications,

Bangkok, Thailand.

Tel: +66 2 658 2000


Online newsroom:

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Prepared by:

PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC)

About PATA

Since its foundation in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), a not-for profit membership association, has achieved

international acclaim by acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia

Pacific region.

The Association provides aligned advocacy, leadership and events to its members, comprising 90 government, state and city

tourism bodies, nearly 30 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 57 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel

industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond.

Thousands of travel professionals belong to dozens of local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry

training and business development events. PATA’s ‘Next Generation’ mPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and

insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s headquarters

is in Bangkok.

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