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ITB Berlin News 2020 #3

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I REGION I ASIA

I REGION I ASIA IASIAAsia - a tourismpowerhouse in 2019UNWTO data show very strong performancewith South and Southeast Asia topping the listWith the coronavirus and ensuing economicdifficulties muddying the waters when it comes to anyprojections, it is more useful to look at overall trendsto date, which can to some extent be extrapolatedfor post-crisis planning.In 2019, Chinese outboundtravel continued to fuel growth inmany destinations in the regionand outside, though Chinesespending on travel abroad was4% lower in real terms in thefirst half of 2019 according toavailable data.South Asia (+8%) achieved,together with South-East Asia,the fastest growth among Asiansubregions though slowerthan the 2018’s remarkableperformance (+19%). Maldivesrecorded double-digit growthcapitalising on the increase invisitors from the Chinese andEuropean markets. Nepal andBhutan continued to show strongresults with Chinese and Indianvisitors up. India, the subregion’slargest destination, showedcomparatively more modestlevels in arrivals but stronggrowth in receipts.South-East Asia (+8%)recorded robust growth in 2019,with many destinations achievingdouble-digit rates. Myanmar ledgrowth benefitting from a surgein Chinese visitors thanks to visafacilitation and enhanced airconnectivity. Cambodia, Laos,Philippines, Timor-Leste andVietnam enjoyed solid results.Among the larger destinations,Malaysia continued to reboundwith an increase in numbersfromshort- and medium-haul markets.Thailand, the subregion’s largestdestination, showed slowergrowth after several years ofsolid performance partly due astrong currency.North-East Asia saw a 2%increase in 2019, weighed downby the decline in arrivals inHong Kong (China). The SpecialAdministrative Region of HongKong suffered a sharp drop inarrivals from mainland Chinaamid protests taking place duringthe second half of the year. TheRepublic of Korea led resultsin North-East Asia, thanks toincreased visitors from China andSouth-East Asian markets.Japan’s inbound tourism grewat a comparatively more moderatepace through November followingseveral years of strong growth.The destination welcomed morevisitors from top source marketsChina, Hong Kong (China) andTaiwan (province of China), butsuffered a sharp decline from theRepublic of Korea.Arrivals in China, the regions’largest destination, were up 7%in the first half of 2019, thoughreceipts declined 12% in realterms in the first half of 2019PHOCUSWRIGHT:APAC ONLINEBOOKINGS STILLON THE RISEAccording to Phocuswright’s Asia PacificOnline Travel Overview 2019, the fact thatAPAC’s hotel sector is quite fragmented,this is a key driver for online agencies.The report, written and researched byMaggie Rauch and Deepak Jain, statesthat tourism infrastructure improvements,more advanced telecommunications anddigital payments access are all fuellingtravel booking growth, and the online shareof travel revenue is advancing quickly.According to the report, the rapid offlineto online migration of hotel bookings inChina and Japan, coupled with mid-40%online hotel penetration in those marketsunderscores the remaining potential of thesegment. These two markets combinedwill account for 74% of APAC online hotelgross bookings. Accordingly, decelerationin those markets will slow the overallsegment's growth through 2022ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 19 TH MARCH 2020 • 29

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