Asia projected to see half a billion visitors per year

Per the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) latest tourism forecast, Asia will experience an annual growth rate of approximately 5.8 percent over the next five years, meaning more than half a billion people will travel to regions of Asia every year by 2021.

This growth increase is in terms of international arrivals and will bring the country’s total arrivals to 573 million in five years, a 140 million increase from 433 million in 2016. For comparison, the entire Russian population is 143 million.

By 2021, more than three quarters of international arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations will be Asian nationals. In 2016, a whopping 82.6 percent of arrivals into Asian destinations were from other Asian countries.

“The importance of the Asia Pacific region, both as a receiver and a generator of international arrivals, has been evident for some time,” said PATA’s CEO Mario Hardy. “The momentum certainly appears to be holding over the next five years.”

PATA also released the forecast for the entire Pacific region, including the Americas. By 2021, the total inbound count is anticipated to be near 758 million. Asia’s 5.8 percent growth rate is higher than the 5 percent growth forecast for the wider region.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association also predicts that intra-regional flows between Northeast and Southeast Asia will keep on dominating the growth pattern. Travel between Northeast Asia destinations is expected to pass 300 million arrivals in five years’ time.

“With the maturing of many Asian source markets, destinations beyond the Asia Pacific region are also being increasingly explored,” Hardy said. “However, these destinations need to be ready to deliver a service that the increasingly sophisticated Asian traveller has already experienced in Asia and is now seeking in destinations further afield.”