Travel energy and economic power is flowing east. In the most recent figures from the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) Fact and Figures 2014 Report the stats show Asia and the Pacific just enjoyed their fourth consecutive year of robust growth.
Asia and the Pacific welcomed 248 million international tourists in 2013, 15 million more than in 2012. This represents an increase of 6% compared to 2012, making it the fastest growing region last year in relative terms. In terms of tourism earnings, the region recorded US$ 359 billion, up US$ 30 billion from 2012 (+8% in real terms). While arrivals in the region accounted for 23% of the world’s total, receipts in the region accounted for 31%.
As in 2012, South-East Asia was again the fastest growing subregion both in the region and in the world in 2013, with an increase of 11% in international tourist arrivals on the back of buoyant intraregional demand. Thailand reported strong growth (+19%), welcoming 27 million tourists, 4 million more than in 2012. Among the smaller destinations, Myanmar has seen a
surge in tourist arrivals in the last few years and recorded an extraordinary 52% increase in 2013. Timor-Leste (+42%) and Cambodia (+18%) also enjoyed high growth rates, as well as Vietnam (+11%), the Philippines (+10%) and Indonesia (+9%).
South Asia (+6%) also showed solid growth last year as Sri Lanka welcomed 27% more tourists and Maldives 17%. The subregion’s largest destination India (7 million arrivals) posted 4% growth.
North-East Asia, the largest subregion in Asia and the Pacific with over half of all international arrivals in the region, saw a 4% increase last year. Japan (+24%) led this growth, reporting over 10 million arrivals for the first time ever. Taiwan (pr. of China) (+10%) and the Republic of Korea (+9%) also experienced robust growth, as did the two Chinese Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong (+8%) and Macao (+5%). China itself, however, the region’s top destination, saw a decline of 4% in arrivals compared to 2012.
Key Figures from the 2103 data shows just how large the world tourism market is and just how important the Asian region has become.
- International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew by 5% worldwide in 2013, reaching a record 1087 million arrivals, after topping the
1 billion mark in 2012.
- International tourist arrivals worldwide are expected to increase by 3.3% a year from 2010 to 2030 to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, according to UNWTO’s long term forecast Tourism Towards 2030.
- International tourism receipts reached US$ 1159 billion worldwide in 2013, up from US$ 1078 billion in 2012.
- Asia and the Pacific recorded the strongest growth with a 6% increase in arrivals, followed by Europe and Africa (both +5%).
- China has consolidated its position as the number one tourism source market in the world, spending US$ 129 billion on international tourism.
- By UNWTO region, prospects for 2014 are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (5% to 6%), followed by Africa (4% to 6%).