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Asia Pacific drives growth in global tourism

July 23, 2014

Published on Jul 23, 2014

Asia Pacific leads regional tourism growth in 2014, and drives summer bookings

The Asia Pacific (APAC) region has driven growth in global tourism arrivals through early 2014, with South Asia and North East Asia among the top performers.

Travel Daily AsiaOverall international tourism arrivals in the APAC region grew by 6% through the first four months of the year, outpacing the global average with South Asia and North East Asia showing the strongest sub regional growth at 8% and 7% respectively.

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 5% January to April 2014. Destinations received an estimated 317 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2014, 14 million more than in the same period last year. This exceeds UNWTO's long-term trend projection of 3.8% growth in overnight stays for the period 2010-2020.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, said: "The 5% growth in the number of international tourists crossing borders in the first months of 2014 further reflects the impact of the increase in public support to the sector as well as the immense capacity of tourism companies to adapt to changing markets."

By region, the strongest growth was registered in Asia Pacific and the Americas at 6%, followed closely by Europe and Africa at 5%. By sub-region, Northern Europe, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, North Africa and South Asia, were the star performers with arrivals up 8%.

"The encouraging start to 2014 and the overall positive sentiment in the sector raise high expectations for the current peak tourism season, benefiting destinations from both advanced and emerging economies," said Rifai.

Prospects for the current peak tourism season remain very positive with over 460 million tourists expected to travel abroad in the May-August 2014 period.

This will be driven by strong growth in outbound travel from emerging markets – namely China, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and India. Moreover, demand from advanced markets is strengthening as the economic situation improves, with encouraging growth registered in expenditure from Italy, Australia, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Data on international air travel reservations from business intelligence tool ForwardKeys supports this outlook, with an estimated 8% y-o-y growth in reservations from Asian source markets between May and August.

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