Asia-Pacific destinations could see foreign visitor arrivals grow an average of 5.5% per annum between 2018 and 2023 to close to 900 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2023, according to projections by PATA in its Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2019-2023 released last week.
Looking at 40 destinations within Asia-Pacific, the report said the overall annual growth rate for international visitors is estimated to have been around 7.8% in 2018, generating an inbound volume of around 688 million for the year – almost 50 million more foreign arrivals than in 2017.
Asia will continue its strong growth momentum with an expected annual average growth rate for foreign visitor arrivals of 6.2% between 2018 and 2023, while the Pacific and the Americas follow with average growth rates of 4.4% and 3.1% per year respectively, over the same period.
Driven by its strong average annual growth rate, Asia is expected to receive the bulk of the foreign arrivals between 2018 and 2023. After capturing a relative share of close to 74% of foreign arrivals in 2018, the proportion into Asia is expected to increase to over 76% by the end of the 2023 forecast period.
The impact on the Americas and the Pacific is a slight contraction in their respective relative shares from 22.4% in 2018 to just under 20% in 2023 for the former, and from 4% to 3.8% for the latter, even as their respective numbers of foreign arrivals increase.
Asia will also be the strongest generator of foreign arrivals into Asia-Pacific over the forecast period, improving its relative share of arrivals from 63.9 percentage points in 2018, to over 66 percentage points in 2023.
Intra-regional travel flows remain important for both the Americas and Asia, with the former destination region seeing over three-quarters of its foreign arrivals originating within that region in both 2018 and 2023.
Similarly, for Asia, where intra-regional travel flows will increase in relative terms, from almost 94% in 2018 to over 94% by 2023.
The Pacific destination region differs, in as much as more than half of its inbound international visitor arrivals originated in Asia in 2018 with that proportion forecast to increase to around 57% by 2023. Even so, the intra-regional flows from the Pacific to the Pacific remain significant at over 30% in 2023.
PATA CEO Mario Hardy commented: “Asia continues to be the engine of growth for foreign arrivals into Asia-Pacific, with intra-regional flows in particular, remaining important. This intra-regional activity is true for the Americas as well, but less so for the Pacific which is rapidly becoming more popular with Asian markets.”
He added: “In developing a service mindset we need to ask ourselves are we preparing to welcome 898 million foreign arrivals into Asia-Pacific in 2023, or should we think of that instead, as one very special visitor, 898 million times. Your perspective on that can make all the difference.”