Like it or not China drives Asia’s tourism

BANGKOK, 1 June 2017: Greater China will remain the main source of Asia Pacific arrivals growth through 2021 with Russia also showing strong promise, according to latest findings in the PATA Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2017 to 2021.

Released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Wednesday, the report identifies China and the Russian Federation as the key source markets to watch over the next five years.

Other key takeaways include estimates of tourism receipts, income and price variations.

Credit PATA

But the core message is that the major international visitor-generating markets will continue to be China in Asia, and the US and Mexico in the Americas.

Greater China – comprising China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR will generate more than 261 million international arrivals to the 39 Asia Pacific destinations covered in the report, an annual growth rate of 7.9% year-on-year and an incremental increase in absolute volume of over 19 million arrivals.

While annual percentage growth from Greater China into Asia will expand by a little under the average (7.8%), the destinations of Asia will capture 95% of the volume increase between 2016 and 2017 from these origin markets.

The Americas will capture around 3.4% of that volume increase and the Pacific the remaining 1.6%.

Arrivals from Europe and Africa will each grow by 3.5% in 2017 year-on-year. While Africa is expected to generate just over three million arrivals in total during 2017, Europe will generate around 67.7 million arrivals to the destinations of Asia Pacific in that year.

Credit PATA

From within the European origin markets the Russian Federation is expected to deliver the largest volume of additional arrivals into Asia Pacific in 2017, adding over 373,000 additional arrivals between 2016 and 2017 and doubling its collective inbound count to almost five million in that latter year.

The UK and Germany remain the principal generators of arrivals from Europe, delivering 14.9 million and 11.3 million arrivals respectively into Asia Pacific in 2017. France will deliver 7.1 million arrivals in 2017, ahead of the Russian Federation.

Australia is by far the largest generator of international arrivals from the Pacific into Asia Pacific destinations in 2017, delivering over 12 million arrivals during the course of the year, close to 620,000 more than in 2016.

By 2021 it will still be Greater China that generates the largest number international arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations, with mainland China and Hong Kong SAR specifically generating 164.6 million and 131.6 million arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations respectively in that year. The US and the Republic of Korea will follow and are expected to generate 47.9 million and 29.7 million arrivals respectively. Canada will rank fifth as an origin market, generating 25.4 million arrivals in 2021.

The strongest growth in additional arrivals between 2016 and 2021 will come from – in order of volume increase – China, Hong Kong SAR, Korea (ROK) the US and the Russian Federation. Together these five origin markets will deliver 383 million international arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations in 2021, an increase of more than 112 million over the volume delivered in 2016.

Arrivals from the Americas are expected to expand with an Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) of 2.3% per annum, between 2016 and 2021, while Europe will grow by 3.1% per annum. While these rates are lower than the overall AAGR of 5%, they never the less contribute to a substantial volume of arrivals into Asia Pacific, generating over 116 million and 76 million arrivals respectively in 2021.

These lower than average AAGRs however mean that, in relative terms, the share of foreign arrivals from the Americas and Europe will decline from 17.5% to 15.0% in the case of the Americas and from 11% to 10.2% in the case of Europe.

Asia dominates in terms of generating international arrivals into Asia Pacific in 2021 and the relative share of arrivals from this region will rise from 64.2% in 2016 to 67.9% by 2021 on the back of an AAGR of 6.1% between 2016 and 2021 and an absolute increase volume of arrivals of almost 133 million over that same period.

Revenue generated by foreign arrivals in 24 destinations for which revenue data was available, indicates total receipts from international tourism will increase from USD692.4 billion in 2016 to USD729.2 billion in 2017 and up to USD806 billion by 2021.

While destinations in the Americas held a 42.4% share of tourism receipts from among these 24 destinations, that relative performance will drop marginally to 41.7 percent in 2017 and then fall to 39.1% by 2021. Asia, on the other hand, can expect an increase from USD372.7 billion to USD398.7 billion between 2016 and 2017, increasing to USD511.9 billion by 2021. This moves the relative share position of Asia in terms of receipts from international tourism from 53.8 % in 2016 to 54.7% in 2017 and 57.7% by 2021.

“The strength of Asia in 2016 as both a receiver and a generator of international visitors into Asia Pacific – and the receipts that they generate – is very clear and that momentum is set to continue until at least 2021. This expansion is not, however, equal and there are subtle changes and shifts occurring within those aggregate volumes and receipts as international visitors discover new destinations and turn away from those that do not offer the experiences and memories that they seek and demand in a safe and secure environment,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy.

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