The Executive Board of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has released its forecasts of tourism demand across the Asia Pacific region for the next three years. At the aggregate level, international arrival numbers are predicted to increase by an average of around 2.7% each year through 2012. Not surprisingly, these forecasts show a significant slowing in growth rates from the pre-financial crisis level of seven percent per annum.
According to PATA Chairman Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, the three-year projections are very much in line with expectations on how the global economy is expected to perform generally. Overall international arrivals growth to Asia Pacific destinations, for example, are predicted to be marginal at just over 1% in 2010, rising to around 4.5% in 2011 and then stabilising at around 4% in 2012. These forecasts are subject to any further major economic, social or health disasters.
One significant aspect of these forecasts is that the overall growth rates will remain very much lower for the next few years and most certainly lower than has been the case in the recent past. PATA states that this heralds the need for tourism-based businesses to continue to find profits in cost containment rather than in volume growth, at least for the current three-year cycle.
As Mrs Manoharn observes 'These latest authoritative forecasts from PATA reflect the reality of the current market conditions. They point to a gradual and uneven recovery as the region picks itself up from the 3% decline in arrivals in 2009. We have witnessed significant changes in travel trends during the global economic recession. These changes have brought benefits to some and caused difficulties for others and it is clear that the next three years will prove to be both challenging and increasingly competitive for all our members.'