News / Asia

Asia-Pacific Tourism Industry Stages Economic Recovery

Multimedia

Audio
Ron Corben

Travel and tourism, vital elements in the Asia-Pacific region's economy, have been staging a recovery since late 2009, with growth strongest within the region. But, while travel experts are upbeat, they say it could take a year before the industry fully recovers from the global economic slowdown.

The Asia-Pacific travel industry is on the rise after two years of hard times caused by soaring fuel prices and the global economic slump.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) says the recovery had gathered momentum, with international visitor arrivals in the region increasing three percent in November compared with a year earlier.

PATA spokesman John Koldowski, says the travel industry may have to wait until 2011 for a full recovery. But he says airlines, hotels and tourist attractions expect a successful Lunar New Year holiday.

"It's going to be a boom; even now if you try to get a flight in or out of somewhere [in the region] you have to be very, very cautious - very, very flexible," Koldowski explained.  "The capacity at that point in time is limiting. As you know, we've had air capacity reductions for the last 18 months."

The Lunar New Year begins February 14, and is traditionally a popular time for travel in Asia.  Markets that are showing strong gains include Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau. Arrivals to China, however, are still down from 2008 when Beijing hosted the Olympic Games.

Arrivals to Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives were also higher, but visitor numbers to India remained flat. Southeast Asia led the region's recovery with a boost in arrivals of 15 percent.  The International Air Transport Association recently reported that the Asia-Pacific region has eclipsed North America as the largest aviation market.

In 2009, 647 million people flew in the Asia-Pacific, compared with North America's 638 million.

Brian Sinclair Thompson, Thailand manager for Swiss International, is upbeat over the region's outlook.

"Cautious optimism is once again the buzz word and I think the region - Asia Pacific - is showing the way in terms of the IATA statistics," he said.  "It's set to take over from North America in absolute terms of movement and I think that's a good sign as well that intra-Asia, the demand is definitely coming back."

Sinclair Thompson expects the major carriers to rebuild capacity while low-cost airlines, which continued to grow during the downturn, are still expanding.

Lutzi Matzig, chief operating officer of travel operator Asian Trails, says Thailand began recovering in late 2009, but he says political stability in Thailand is vital to keep the recovery going.

Anti-government protesters in late 2008 occupied Bangkok's international airport for a week, costing the travel industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Thailand, we are up 3.7 percent, so the trend is positive, but no mega increase. But at least it's going in the right direction. December is generally better than a year ago, but at least the trend starts to go up.  This is good," said Matzig.

The region's travel industry, which in some countries makes up more than five percent of the economy, will be banking on a continued recovery of the global economy this year to build on the recent improvement.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More