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Year-on-Year Increase for Visitor Arrivals to South Asia

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The latest figures released by PATA show that the numbers of international visitors to the Asia Pacific region fell by an estimated 6% in July 2009 compared to July 2008, an improvement over the months of May and June which recorded year-on-year reductions of 10% and 8% respectively.

More importantly, international arrivals to South Asia showed a year-on-year increase of 2% in arrivals for July 2009, a result partly boosted by increased travel demand to Sri Lanka (+28%) and Nepal (air only, +10%).

 India, a dominant destination for foreign arrivals into South Asia, also reported its second straight month of improvement, albeit marginally. Similarly, arrivals to Southeast Asia appeared to also be on the mend as the year-on-year rate of decline slowed to less than minus 3%, due mainly to the much improved but still negative results from Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

International arrivals to Northeast Asia were down by about 6% in July, depressed by the double-digit declines for arrivals to Hong Kong, Macau and Japan. The overall rate of decline for Northeast Asia was mitigated by a smaller fall in travel demand for China (minus 3%) together with increased demand for Korea (ROK) and Chinese Taipei, where growth for the month was recorded at 7% and 13% respectively.

The Pacific recorded an aggregate international visitor number drop of 5% in July, a result driven in part by a steep fall in arrivals to Australia (–12.8%).

John Koldowski, Director of PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC), said, “These latest results confirm that the prevailing depressed market conditions are still having an impact on international travel flows and, while the global economy appears to be showing signs of renewed activity in some areas, it is doing so at a sluggish pace. The reality is that there is no quick fix for the travel and tourism industry. We are still fighting to get back to ground zero.”

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