HONG KONG —
Asia continues to be the driving force in global tourism.
According to the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report, this year the number of outbound trips from Asia rose by 7%, due in part to rising wages.
The most frequent travelers came from China and Japan, both countries reporting double-digit growth in outbound travel. During the first six months of this year the number of outbound trips from China grew by 20%. Japan has recovered from the market collapse following last year’s tsunami and during the first nine months of 2012 registered 13.7% growth.
Outbound trips from South Korea increased by 6.7%, while most markets in South and Southeast Asia lost momentum. Accordingly, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore reported less than 5% growth. This year, only Indonesia and the Philippines will exceed 10% growth.
These are the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which is compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin.
The outlook for most Asian markets is positive, so there is good reason to be optimistic about tourism next year.
Only one third of Asians said the global financial crisis would affect their travel plans, while two-thirds said it had no impact at all.
Year-on-year data shows that Asia has recovered slightly. Last year, 36% said the recession would influence their travel plans. This year that figure is down by 4%. Next year, 29% of Asians intend to travel more than in 2013, while only 16% aim to travel less. A little over 50% said they would undertake the same amount of trips. Accordingly, the ITB World Travel Trends Report forecasts outbound travel from Asia to grow by 6%.
In terms of tourism, Japan has largely recovered from the effects of last year’s tsunami and reported strong growth during the first half of this year. However, since news emerged of its island dispute with China the momentum has been lost somewhat. Nonetheless, the Japanese are still optimistic about their travel plans for 2013. Only 28% said the financial crisis would affect their travel decisions next year, compared with 33% in 2012. 21% expect to travel more in 2013, while 54% aim to undertake the same amount of trips. Overall, in 2013 outbound travel from Japan is forecast to grow by around 3%.
China has also shown itself to be one of Asia’s strongest markets and its citizens’ travel intentions bear this out. 38% (4% more than in 2012) plan to travel more next year. 49% said they would undertake the same amount of trips. As a result, outbound travel from China is forecast to grow by 12%.
By contrast, South Korean travel demand appeared to tail off slightly, due in part to declining confidence in purchasing power. Thus, many South Koreans prefer cheaper holidays in Southeast Asia. A similar trend has emerged in Taiwan. By contrast, the economic situation in Hong Kong remains stable, with travelers increasingly discovering new destinations or repeatedly visiting the same ones in their region.
Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin, said, “Over the coming years Asia will continue to be one of the main forces driving international tourism. Despite the economic uncertainty threatening major markets such as China and other countries in Northeast Asia, travelers from those countries will play an important role in global tourism.”
Launched by the consultancy IPK International and sponsored by ITB Berlin, every year at the World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, tourism experts and scientists from around the world present current statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.
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