Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011
Data source: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

The tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific is thriving, with the region accounting for 22% of inbound tourism arrivals in 2010. Noticeably, in 2010, China placed third in inbound tourism arrivals and fourth in inbound tourism expenditure in the world.

Inbound tourism arrivals

In 2010, international tourism recovered more strongly than expected from the shock it had suffered in 2009 from economic recession and the global financial crisis. The estimated worldwide number of inbound tourism arrivals in 2010 was 940 million, up 6.6% over 2009 and 2.5% more than the pre-crisis peak in 2008. While some destinations are still struggling to come out of the crisis, the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific has been buoyant.

The Asia-Pacific region had an increase in inbound tourism arrivals of 13% between 2009 and 2010, making the region a leader in the global recovery of tourism. In comparison with other regions across the globe, Asia and the Pacific had the second highest growth in inbound tourism arrivals in 2010 over 2009. The Middle East was the fastest growing region (up 14.1%) in 2010, following a significant drop (of 4.3%) in 2009; Asia and the Pacific posted only a modest drop of 1.7% in 2009. Inbound tourism arrivals were up 7.3% in Africa, followed by Americas (up 6.6%) and Europe (up 3.3%). Europe is recovering at a slower pace than other regions, mainly due to the uneven economic recovery. In 2009, Africa was the only region where inbound tourism arrivals increased (by 4%). The African increase was partially boosted by the worldwide exposure created by the FIFA World Football Cup, which was hosted by South Africa.

In Asia and the Pacific, for the first time ever, inbound tourism arrivals surpassed 200 million in 2010. Overall, the Asia-Pacific regional share of world arrivals rose by 1.2 percentage points in 2010, for a 22% share among the world’s regions. The successful marketing stories of India and Malaysia, the massive rail expansion in China, the new resort developments in Singapore and Macao, China and the revitalized policy of Japan towards tourism, as well as the “visit year” campaigns in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, have helped buoy Asia-Pacific tourism. ASEAN has also adopted a long-term tourism strategy to help the development of the tourism sector in the subregion.

Figure IV.8 – Inbound tourism arrivals, world and Asia-Pacific, 1995 to 2010

Figure IV.8 – Inbound tourism arrivals, world and Asia-Pacific, 1995 to 2010

Figure IV.9 – Inbound tourism arrivals growth, world and regions, 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010

Figure IV.9 – Inbound tourism arrivals growth, world and regions, 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010

Within the Asia and the Pacific, all subregions except the Pacific recorded double-digit percentage increases in inbound tourism arrivals in 2010. East and North-East Asia was the bestperforming subregion (up 14%). South-East Asia was the subregion least affected by the world financial crisis, recording a slight increase in arrivals in 2009, and a further 12% in 2010. Inbound tourism arrivals in South and South- West Asia also increased by 12%, with growth of the major destination, India, being moderate at 8%. Sri Lanka posted a remarkable 46% increase in arrivals in 2010, partially owing to the end of the civil war. The Maldives (21%) also attracted large increases in inbound tourism arrivals. The growth in arrivals in the Pacific was a modest (6%), and just below the world averages. While Australia (5%) and New Zealand (3%) posted moderate growth rates, many of the smaller destinations in the Pacific recorded double-digit increases, including Fiji (17%) and Papua New Guinea (18%).

Inbound tourism expenditure

Worldwide, inbound tourism expenditure reached US$919 billion in 2010, up from US$851 billion in the previous year, corresponding to an increase by US$68 billion. Thus, the recovery in inbound tourism expenditure (1.1%) lags behind that of inbound tourism arrivals (6.6%). Such a gap is typical in periods of recovery when, following major shocks, volume (arrivals) tends to recover faster than income, as competition toughens and suppliers make serious efforts to contain prices, with tourists also tending to travel closer to home and for shorter periods of time. In Asia and the Pacific, inbound tourism expenditure grew to US$249 billion in 2010, up from US$203 billion in 2009. In real terms growth is estimated at 13%, which is equal to the growth in inbound tourism arrivals for the region. In relative terms, inbound tourism expenditure in 2009 was approximately 1.1% of GDP.

Powering the growth in inbound tourism

Tourism in Asia and the Pacific has grown vigorously for a variety of reasons. The resurgence in economic growth and international trade, and in particular intraregional trade, has resulted in an increase in demand for business travel. Middle-class incomes are rising in many countries, associated with the popular enthusiasm for “rising Asia”, and boosting demand for travel within the region. Travel restrictions and visa requirements are continuing to be eased or reduced by Governments. The high level of investments – new resorts, hotels, attractions and airline services – that are coming on stream induce a “bandwagon” effect, bringing with them the need for marketing efforts to ensure that new products and services are seen and experienced. The 2010 outlook for Asia was generally positive and would not have repelled Asian travellers (often first-time) who are notoriously sensitive to bad news.

Inbound tourism – Arrivals (Millions)
Inbound tourism expenditure (Billion US$)
1 France (77.8) United States (103.1)
2 United States (59.8) Spain (52.5)
3 China (55.7) France (46.3)
4 Spain (52.7) China (45.8)
5 Italy (43.6) Italy (38.8)
6 United Kingdom (28.1) Germany (34.7)
7 Turkey (27.0) United Kingdom (30.4)
8 Germany (26.9) Australia (30.1)
9 Malaysia (24.6) Hong Kong, China (23.0)
10 Mexico (22.4) Turkey (20.8)`
Source: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, Interim Update, April 2011

The most significant change among the top ten   by inbound tourism arrivals in 2010 was the rise of China to 3rd most popular destination – having overtaken Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom during the past few years. In terms of inbound tourism expenditure, China also moved up the rankings to the 4th slot. Among the top ten countries by inbound tourism arrivals, the Asia-Pacific is represented by a few countries other than China: Turkey-7th and Malaysia-9th; for receipts by: Australia-8th; Hong Kong, China-9th; and Turkey-10th

Outbound tourism departures

The Asia-Pacific region is a growing source of outbound tourism departures. Between 2005 and 2009, the median increase in outbound tourism departures was 5.5% per annum. Many countries experienced a very large increase in outbound tourism departures – including the two most populous nations (China and India) which experienced a more than 50% increase in tourism departures between 2005 and 2009. In the region, the three largest sources of outbound tourism departures are China; Hong Kong, China; and Japan. In fact, Hong Kong, China has by far the most outbound tourism departures.

For most countries in the region, the inbound tourism arrivals outweigh departures. However, for the high-income countries and areas of Australia; Hong Kong, China; Japan; New Caledonia; and the Republic of Korea the outbound tourism departures were higher than inbound tourism arrivals. Other than the highincome countries, all countries with more departures than arrivals were in the South and South-West Asia subregion (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka).

Figure IV.10 – Outbound tourism departures, average annual growth, 2000-2005 and 2005- 2009

Figure IV.10 – Outbound tourism departures, average annual growth, 2000-2005 and 2005- 2009

Rank Outbound tourism expenditure
1 Germany (77.7)
2 United States (74.6)
3 China (54.9)
4 United Kingdom (48.6)
5 France (39.4)
6 Canada (29.5)
7 Japan (27.9)
8 Italy (27.1)
9 Russian Federation (26.5)
10 Australia (22.5)
Source: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, Interim Update, April 2011

China has more than doubled outbound tourism expenditure in the last five years (2005 to 2010) with a 2010 outbound tourism expenditure of US$55 billion. China has shown by far the fastest growth in the region with regard to outbound expenditure on international tourism in the last decade. Ranking as the world’s seventh largest source market in 2005, it is now the third largest in terms of outbound tourism expenditure. Overall, the region is increasing its position as both a top global destination and source market. The regional outbound expenditure on tourism in 2010 amounted to 24% of the world outbound expenditure, up from 20% in 2005.

1 Aggregates for this chapter are calculated by UNWTO, using UNWTO country groupings. Please refer to technical notes page 277 for further details on the regional and subregional composition.
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