Asia-Pacific records 6% rise in international tourism in 2018

The World Tourism Organisation reports Asia and the Pacific recorded 6% growth in 2018, reaching 343 million international tourist arrivals. Arrivals in the region account for almost one-fourth of the worldwide total.

Results were driven by Southeast Asia (+7%) where most destinations posted strong growth, particularly Vietnam, which has seen a surge in international tourists in recent years from virtually all world regions. Indonesia and Cambodia enjoyed double-digit increases in arrivals, thanks to continued robust demand from China and India. Thailand, the most visited destination in South-East Asia, as well as the Philippines also recorded strong growth on the back of higher visitor ows from China. Singapore also posted positive growth in 2018 thanks to good performance from several of its source markets.

International arrivals in Northeast Asia increased 6%, led by the Republic of Korea which continues to rebound from a weaker 2017. Japan, which has become the third most visited destination in Asia following six straight years of double- digit gure growth, also showed positive growth in 2018 despite a slight slowdown due to the impact of the typhoon Jebi and the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake which occurred in September 2018.

Macao and Hong Kong also reported solid results. Meanwhile mainland China, the region’s largest destination recorded only 2% growth in the first three quarters of 2018. The opening of the Hong-Kong – Zhuhai – Macau Bridge in October 2018 was expected to enhance connectivity and boost tourist ows between the three cities of the Greater Bay Area.

South Asia (+5%) also enjoyed a strong year, with Nepal profiting from higher inbound from India, China and European source markets thanks to a number of promotional campaigns. Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives all reported sound results.