Home Economy Asia-Pacific to see $110 billion surge in tourism: PATA

Asia-Pacific to see $110 billion surge in tourism: PATA


Bangkok : Eighteen Asia Pacific destinations are expected to witness a $110 billion increase in tourism revenue over the next three years, according to a report released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Thursday.

China and Thailand will be among the biggest beneficiaries, gaining $36 billion and $13 billion in increased tourism spending between the years 2007 to 2009, said PATA.

Other markets likely to receive strong receipts growth over the forecast period include Malaysia with close to $11 billion, South Korea with $7 billion, and Macau with $5 billion, the report said.

The forecasts were based on projected tourist traffic in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes both Asia and the Americas, compared with traffic and the average annual income generated in 2005 and 2006, said John Koldowski, managing director of PATA's Strategic Intelligence Centre.

"There has been a dramatic increase in the route network established by low-cost carriers throughout the region which is making it a lot more accessible and cheaper in relative terms for first time travellers, and that's having a stimulatory effect as well," said Koldowski.

Thailand, in particular, is expected to experience a strong comeback over the next three years after a fall in tourism caused by the December 26, 2004 tsunami that killed more than 5,300 people, half of them foreign tourists, in Phuket and Phang Nga – two of Thailand most popular beach destinations.

Results of the most recent Asia Travel Intentions Survey 2007 revealed that nine percent more travellers were looking at Asia as their next travel destination and one in five ranked Thailand as their most likely destination with 84 percent of Swedish respondents most likely to consider the destination for a holiday within the next two years.

"While people were keeping away from Phuket because of post-tsunami fears, they were discovering other parts of Thailand like Pattaya and Hua Hin and so forth," said Koldowski.

He said the impact of Thailand's current political instability caused by the 2006 coup was likely to be minimal on tourist arrivals.

"There was a slight blip but for the grander scheme of things that's going to be hardly noticeable," said Koldowski.