Record Arrivals In Asia Pacific Region Expected Through 2020

Open Jaw

Preliminary data for 36 Asia Pacific destinations indicate a strong performance in 2015 with foreign arrivals growing by around 5.2% to reach a combined inbound total of more than 455 million.

Overall, 29 of the 36 destinations for which preliminary 2015 data are available reported positive growth with 10 of those destinations falling within the double-digit range.

The Pacific region led the way with annual growth of over 7% to reach almost 27 million foreign arrivals. This was followed by the Americas – excluding the U.S. – with growth of 9% to reach almost 54 million arrivals.

Asia in total grew by 4.5% year-on-year but there were large variations within the region. Northeast Asia reported 3.5% growth; there was 6.7% growth in arrivals for Southeast Asia and a high of 8.2% for South Asia.

At the individual destination level Japan had an especially strong year, growing by just over 47% year-on-year and setting a new record for foreign arrivals of more than 19.7 million. It appears that the easing of visa requirements had a positive impact on foreign inbound tourism for Japan. All told, the majority of source markets into Japan grew at double-digit rates in 2015 with only a few, such as Russia (-15%) actually declining.

In similar fashion, Chile and Thailand both reported strong annual gains - achieving growth of 23% and 21% respectively. Thailand was close to receiving 30 million foreign visitors in 2015, falling short of that milestone by less than 100,000 arrivals.

Sri Lanka also performed strongly in 2015, growing by almost 18% between 2014 and 2015 and nearing the 2 million milestone for the first time (1.798 million).

Supporting these gains across the wider Asia Pacific region was the continued expansion of scheduled air seat capacity – 8.7% annual growth in 2015 for Asia Pacific as compared to a global average of 6.7%.

The 38 Asia Pacific destinations for which PATA produces 5 yr. annual forecasts are expected to collectively continue with the overall growth momentum of the last few years and pass 550 million foreign arrivals in 2016 before progressing towards, and then exceeding, 600 million foreign arrivals in 2018.


Each year between 2016 and 2020 is predicted to set new records for foreign arrivals which will reach a near-term collective record high of close to 650 million by 2020.

“It is heartening to see that the momentum of the Asia Pacific tourism sector will continue until at least the end of this decade and that it continues to play a significant role as both a receiver and generator of international visitors,” says PATA CEO Mario Hardy.

“The region’s identity as the engine of growth in international tourism is well justified.”

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