Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2012
 
   
G. Economy
 
G.7. Tourism

Tourism is a very important economic sector in the Asian and Pacific region as it generates employment in many related sectors (from construction to agriculture or telecommunications) and contributes to the overall economic growth. In some countries, the role of tourism in national economy is vital. Tourism also has impacts on society and the environment. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socioeconomic progress. Over recent years, the region has become a major tourist destination. It is important to develop the tools for managing tourism properly in order to enhance its benefits and restrict any negative effects.

Among the world’s regions, the Asian and Pacific region has become a major tourist destination over recent decades, and many countries have seen large increases in tourism arrivals in recent years.

Although Europe remains the region that receives the largest number of tourism arrivals, with 44.5 per cent of total tourism arrivals worldwide, Asia and the Pacific receives the second largest number of tourism arrivals, with 28.4 per cent of the world’s total. In 2011, 283.9 million arrivals were recorded, which is an increase of 21.5 million tourism arrivals from 2010. Between 2005 and 2011 the average annual growth in tourism arrivals was 6 per cent. Within the region in 2011, East and North-East Asia had the highest number of arrivals thanks to China, followed by South-East Asia.

Several countries reported double-digit figures in the growth rate of tourism arrivals between 2010 and 2011, including Bhutan (61 per cent), Sri Lanka (31 per cent), Myanmar (26 per cent) and Nepal (22 per cent). Both the Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, China, posted an 11 per cent increase in arrivals. In absolute terms, Thailand recorded the largest increase, with over 3 million more tourism arrivals for each year between 2010 and 2012. The Russian Federation also saw large increases, with 2.6 million more tourism arrivals in 2011 than in 2010, and over 3 million more in 2012 than in 2011. Turkey also had an increase of 2.6 million tourism arrivals between 2010 and 2011 because the severe depreciation of the Turkish lira in 2011 made Turkey more attractive for tourists.

Figure G.7-1
Inbound tourism arrivals, world regions, 1995-2011

Figure G.7-1 Inbound tourism arrivals, world regions, 1995-2011More modest growth was seen in China, with a 3 per cent increase. The Pacific saw only a slight increase of 1 per cent between 2010 and 2011, with Australia, the largest destination, recording zero growth, and New Zealand a modest 3 per cent. In 2011, Japan recorded a 28 per cent drop in tourism arrivals and a decrease of 18 per cent in inbound tourism expenditure.

Asia and the Pacific has the secondhighest inbound tourism expenditure of any region in the world.

In 2011, Asia and the Pacific earned $362.6 billion in inbound tourism expenditure, which is $51.8 billion more than in 2010 and equal to 28.9 per cent of the total global inbound expenditure. Europe remained the region with the highest inbound expenditure, with 40 per cent of the world’s total. Between 2010 and 2011, all world regions had positive growth in their inbound expenditures, with the exception of Africa, where a reduction of $1.8 billion, or a 4 per cent decrease, was recorded.

Although Japan and Mongolia faced a decrease between 2010 and 2011 in their inbound expenditures, in 2011 East and North-East Asia was the subregion that generated the highest inbound expenditure, equal to 43 per cent of the region’s total. This subregion is followed by South-East Asia with 24 per cent, where Myanmar observed an impressive growth in inbound expenditure of 222 per cent between 2010 and 2011, while Timor-Leste experienced a reduction of 19.2 per cent during the same time period. The most probable reason for the impressive growth in Myanmar is related to reform changes occurring in the country.

Asia and the Pacific has become an increasingly important outbound tourism market.

The Asian and Pacific region is an increasingly important outbound tourism market. Although Europe was the largest source of outbound tourism departures in 2011, with 45.3 per cent of the world’s total, Asia and the Pacific was the world’s second largest source region, with 34.3 per cent.

At the subregional level, East and North-East Asia was the major source of outbound tourism from the region, partially because of the growing size of the prospering middle class in China. In 2009, South-East Asia was the second largest source of outbound tourism from the region. In Japan, there was little growth in outbound tourism between 2010 and 2011, mainly due to the impact of the earthquake and tsunami and the resulting economic slump.

Figure G.7-2
Outbound tourism departures, world regions, 1995-2011

Figure G.7-2 Outbound tourism departures, world regions, 1995-2011In 2011, the economies in the region with the largest number of outbound tourism departures were Hong Kong, China (84.8 million); China (70.3 million); Japan (16.9 million); India (14.0 million) and the Republic of Korea (12.7 million). Economies that registered impressive growth in their outbound tourism departures between 2010 and 2011 were Cambodia (41 per cent), Armenia (27 per cent), China (22 per cent) and Macao, China (21 per cent), whereas Turkey (-4 per cent) and Thailand (-1 per cent) observed a reduction in the same period of time. With rising levels of disposable income, Cambodia, Armenia, China and Macao, China, have shown rapid growth; however, the large majority of outbound tourism takes place within travellers’ own regions. The drop in outbound tourism from Turkey is certainly explained to a large extent by the severe depreciation of the Turkish lira against all major trading currencies but also compared with the currencies of developing economies. The persistent flooding during the 2011 monsoon season is the most likely reason for the drop in outbound tourism from Thailand.

In 2011, Asia and the Pacific ranked second in the world in outbound tourism expenditure, after Europe.

In 2011, the Asian and Pacific region generated $314.6 billion in outbound tourism expenditure, which was 28.3 per cent of the global total, and an increase of $43.9 billion from 2010. After Europe (41.5 per cent of the global total in 2011), the region ranked second in outbound tourism expenditure. East and North-East Asia had 45.4 per cent of outbound expenditure from the region, followed by South-East Asia with 16.7 per cent.

China has become a leading country in outbound expenditure, spending $79 billion in 2011, an increase of 32 per cent, or an additional $19 billion, from the previous year and equal to 1.1 per cent of its GDP. Other countries with impressive growth rates in their outbound tourism expenditures between 2010 and 2011 are Azerbaijan (107.7 per cent), Kyrgyzstan (42.2 per cent), Pakistan (35.1 per cent), Bhutan (34.9 per cent), India (30.1 per cent), Mongolia (26.6 per cent) and Cambodia (24.3 per cent). Tajikistan (-48.0 per cent), Nepal (-20.5 per cent), Samoa (-18.3 per cent) and Timor-Leste (-11.8 per cent) registered decreases in their outbound tourism expenditures during the same period of time.

Box G.7-1
The role of tourism in development

The Group of 20 recently recognized the role of travel and tourism as “a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development” and made the commitment to “work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth.”a

“The future we want,”b the outcome document of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20), emphasized the significant contribution that well-designed and wellmanaged tourism can make to advancing the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The document states that tourism “has close linkages to other sectors, and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. We recognize the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities by supporting their local economies and the human and natural environment as a whole. We call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building in developing countries in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.”

____________________
a tSee G20 Leaders Declaration of the Los Cabos Summit, Los Cabos, Mexico, 19 June 2012. Available from www.g20.utoronto.ca/2012/2012- 0619-loscabos.html.
b tSee General Assembly resolution 66/288, annex. paras. 130 -131.

Further reading

United Nations World Tourism Organization. Compendium of Tourism Statistics, Data 2007-2011, 13th Edition. Madrid, 2013.

–––––––. “Positioning tourism in economic policy: evidence and some proposals”, paper presented at the 2nd T.20 Ministers Meeting, Republic of Korea, October 2010. Available from http://dtxtq4w60xqpw.cloudfront.net/sites/all/files/docpdf/t20korea.pdf.

–––––––. Tourism and the Millennium Development Goals. Madrid, 2010. Available from www.unwto.org/tourism&mdgsezine/.

United Nations World Tourism Organization and Tourism Australia. Key Outbound Tourism Markets in South-East Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Madrid, 2013.

Technical notes
Tourism defined

Tourism refers to the activity of visitors, and a visitor is classified as a tourist (or overnight visitor) if his or her trip includes an overnight stay, or as a same-day visitor (or excursionist) otherwise.

Indicators

Inbound tourism – arrivals, and outbound tourism – departures (thousands) Inbound tourism (arrivals): Comprises the activities of a non-resident visitor within the country of reference on an inbound tourism trip. The corresponding expenditure of such a visitor is identified as inbound tourism expenditure. Data for inbound tourism of most countries in Asia and the Pacific relate to arrivals of nonresident tourists at national borders, except for data for Australia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam, which relate to arrivals of non-resident visitors at national borders.

Outbound tourism (departures): Outbound tourism comprises the activities of a resident visitor outside the country of reference (either as part of an outbound tourism trip or as part of a domestic tourism trip). The corresponding expenditure of such a visitor is identified as outbound tourism expenditure. Departures data measure the flows of resident visitors leaving the country of reference. Departures are not necessarily equal to the number of arrivals reported by international destinations for the country of reference. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values. Missing data are imputed.

Inbound and outbound tourism expenditure (million United States dollars) The 2008 International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics consider that “tourism industries and products” includes transport of passengers. Consequently, a better estimate of tourism-related expenditure by inbound and outbound visitors in an international scenario would be, in terms of balance of payments, the value of the travel item plus that of the passenger transport item. Nevertheless, users should be aware that balance of payments estimates include, in addition to expenditures associated with visitors, those related to other types of travellers (these might be substantial in some countries; for instance, long-term students or patients, or border and seasonal workers). Inbound expenditure: Tourism expenditure refers to the amount paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables, for own use or to give away, for and during tourism trips. Inbound tourism expenditure refers to the tourism expenditure of a non-resident visitor within the economy of reference. Expenditures associated with the activities of international visitors have been traditionally identified with the travel item of the balance of payments: in the case of inbound tourism, those expenditures associated with inbound visitors are registered as “credits” in the balance of payments and refer to “travel receipts.” Outbound expenditure: Tourism expenditure refers to the amount paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables, for own use or to give away, for and during tourism trips. Outbound tourism expenditure refers to the tourism expenditure of a resident visitor outside the economy of reference. Expenditures associated with the activities of visitors have been traditionally identified with the travel item of the balance of payments: in the case of outbound tourism, those expenditures associated with resident visitors are registered as “debits” in the balance of payments and refer to “travel expenditure.” As in the case of inbound tourism, balance of payments data are used. Aggregate calculations: Sum of individual country values. Missing data are imputed.

Inbound and outbound tourism expenditure (percentage of GDP) Inbound expenditure: The tourism expenditure of a non-resident visitor within the economy of reference. Percentage of GDP is based on GDP in current United States dollars. Reflects the weight of expenditure by inbound visitors as a part of the total value of economic activity in the economy of reference. From the perspective of international trade, this indicator captures the economic importance of foreign revenue inflow associated with expenditures by such visitors. Outbound expenditure: The tourism expenditure of a resident visitor outside the economy of reference. Percentage of GDP is based on GDP in current United States dollars. Reflects the importance of the spending abroad by outbound visitors, expressed in terms of the national economy. From the perspective of international trade, this indicator captures the economic importance of domestic revenue outflow by means of such visitors. Indicator calculations: Percentages of GDP is based on million United States dollar values from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) divided by GDP in current United States dollars. Aggregate calculations: Weighted average using GDP in current United States dollars as weight. Missing data are not imputed.

Source

Source of tourism data: UNWTO. Data published by UNWTO originate from official sources and correspond to those published by the International Monetary Fund (and provided by central banks). Data obtained: 28 May 2013.

 
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