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Q1 Increase of Visitor Arrivals in Asia Pacific

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According to preliminary data compiled by PATA, and using estimates for missing data, travel demand in Asia Pacific picked up strongly in the first quarter of 2010, registering a 10% increase from the same quarter in 2009.

International visitor arrivals to South Asia grew by 17% year-on-year in the first quarter. All the destinations in the sub-region rebounded strongly from the relatively poor first quarter of 2009, which, in the cases of India and Sri Lanka, were severely impacted by the lingering effects of the Mumbai attacks and the civil war, respectively. Arrivals growth was also very strong for Nepal (+30%), the Maldives (+21%) and Bhutan (+57%) during the first three months of this year.

The destinations of Southeast Asia also reported strong growth with a collective gain of 16% year-on-year in the first quarter. This was boosted by double-digit growth in international arrivals to Cambodia (+10%), Indonesia (+15%), Myanmar (+39%), Singapore (+20%), Thailand (+28%) and Vietnam (+36%). Thailand recorded a 28% gain in arrivals January to March however it is expected that this early recovery will be severely impacted by the tensions and unrest in April and May, especially in Bangkok and its immediate surrounds.

Within Northeast Asia, China (PRC) reported a 4% increase in international arrivals in the first quarter of 2010 with the sub-region as a whole, growing by 8% year-on-year for the period. This strong sub-regional performance was also supported by the SARs of Hong Kong (+17%) and Macau (+12%), Chinese Taipei (+28%) and Japan (+29%). The turn-around for Japan was particularly solid given that it came from a 19% slump in calendar year 2009. Korea (ROK), on the other hand, recorded a 1% decline in arrivals in the first quarter of the year, reversing the positive trends seen in 2009.

International arrivals to the Pacific grew by 6% during the first quarter of 2010, dominated by a 6% increase in visitor numbers to the higher volume destinations of Australia and New Zealand. A number of the smaller Pacific island destinations also recorded improvements in arrivals numbers, notably Niue (+79%), Fiji (+26%), Papua New Guinea (+22%), Tuvalu (+7%), Palau (+6%) and Northern Marianas (+2%).

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