PATA: International arrivals increase, but growth slows

Collective international arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations grew by 4% year-on-year during April, according to preliminary data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). In percentage growth terms, the result was relatively constrained across the region compared to the robust expansion achieved during the first quarter of the year. According to officials, a number of factors underlie this result including a comparison with the high numeric base of April 2011, which in turn was influenced by a rebound in travel demand following a number of major natural disasters in the region, and an earlier Easter holiday period in 2012 shifting some visitor volume to March. For the first four months of 2012, Asia Pacific recorded a collective gain of 7% year-on-year. Foreign inbound growth to North America was weak at 0.5%. This softening however, comes on the heels of 12% growth in March where travel demand was supported by the Easter holiday period. Both the US and Canada reported positive growth of 2%, whereas Mexico saw a decline of 6%, largely as a result of diminishing demand in air arrivals from the US and Canada. Intra-regional flows within North American destinations and travellers from Japan and China were the main contributors to growth in April 2012. PATA CEO Martin J Craigsc commented, “Global economic conditions continue to be trying, yet travel demand for Asia Pacific destinations continues to generally remain positive albeit with a wide range of performances at both destination and origin market levels. During the first four months of 2012, Asia Pacific destinations added close to nine million additional international arrivals to the collective count putting the region well on the road to yet another record year in terms of foreign inbound numbers. However, the dynamics of these flows are changing and it will be interesting to see just how these play out in the months ahead.”(