Figures reported in PATA’s Travel Monitor for the third quarter of 2008 reflect the growing impact of the global economic downturn on travel and tourism across the Asia Pacific region.

But the Monitor, which analyses international arrivals figures obtained exclusively by PATA, also indicates cause for optimism in certain destinations.

For Q3 2008, international arrivals in 35 destinations covered by the PATA Travel Monitor show a decrease of just one percent compared to the same three month period in 2007 whilst figures for the first nine months of 2008 show an increase of three percent over the same period last year.

“Earlier this year we were predicting year-on-year growth for the region at between seven and eight percent. Our report shows that, despite the gloomy global economic outlook, some individual source markets were growing to a number of specific destinations,” says PATA Strategic Intelligence Director John Koldowski. These include travellers from Iran to Malaysia (up 162 percent), Thailand to Macau SAR (up 132 percent) and Russia to the Maldives (up 55 percent).

The PATA Travel Monitor also confirms earlier predictions by the Association’s analysts that some long-haul travel would be sacrificed in favour of short and media haul trips.
International arrivals to Malaysia from Indonesia rose year-on-year by over 45 percent in Q3 2008 and there are also significant ‘near-neighbour’ increases such as China PRC to Macau SAR (up nearly 16 percent) and China to Hong Kong SAR (up over nine percent).
Arrivals in Hawaii were boosted by a significant 34.7 percent of travellers from Canada in Q3 2008.

Some destinations, such as Thailand, have faced additional domestic challenges which further impacted upon arrivals numbers. This latest Travel Monitor does not cover the period when Bangkok’s main international airport was closed. International arrivals to Suvarnabhumi airport in Q3 2008 fell by 16 percent year-on-year but figures for January-September 2008 show modest growth of almost four percent.

Industry planners and researchers seeking more data may contact PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre:

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