News / Asia

Asia-Pacific Tourism Industry Stages Economic Recovery

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid