PATA Managing Director-Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) Mr John Koldowski said: "If we can get through December with no new external shocks to travel and tourism, I am confident that we will break 300 million this year."
Mr Koldowski said the main drivers for the record-breaking growth were pent-up demand from last year, competitive fares by low-cost carriers, the further easing of outbound regulations by China (PRC), the strong Euro, and robust economic performances in Asia Pacific source markets.
The year 2003 was one of the worst ever for travel and tourism in Asia Pacific, largely due to four external shocks - SARS, terrorism, global economic doldrums and conflict in Iraq.
"With all the pent-up demand carried over from 2003, we were expecting a bounce-back year," said Mr Koldowski. "However, this is much more than a bounce back - this is aggressive, strong growth."
He added: "By the year's end, we will probably see record arrivals for South Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. This is real growth, not artificial gains due to a comparatively poor 2003."
The December edition of Issues & Trends compares year-on-year statistics back to the year 2000 and shows stunning results. Mr Koldowski said: "We are seeing year-to-date growth rates of 20, 30, and 40% in some cases, and that is on large volumes as well."
For example, Macau SAR has seen a 45% gain in IVAs in the first nine months of 2004, lifting its actual count from 8.4 million for the same period in 2003 to almost 12.2 million this year.
Mainland China continues its travel revolution. In the January-September period, IVAs soared to almost 80 million compared to 66 million for the same period in 2003.
PATA's SIC compiles arrivals data from more than 40 destinations in the Asia Pacific region, making it a valuable and credible source of Asia Pacific travel and tourism statistics and analysis.
Flagship publications based on this data include the PATA Annual Statistical Report and the PATA Quarterly Statistical Report. The PATA SIC also provides IVA forecasts up to three years ahead in its Asia Pacific Tourism Forecasts series.
Travel industry issues and trends receive in-depth coverage in PATA SIC's monthly newsletter Issues & Trends. E-mail: publications@PATA.org.
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is the recognised authority on Asia Pacific travel and tourism. PATA provides leadership and advocacy to the collective efforts of nearly 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, more than 55 airlines and cruise lines, and hundreds of travel industry companies. In addition, thousands of travel professionals belong to dozens of PATA chapters worldwide.
PATA's mission is to enhance the growth, value and quality of Asia Pacific travel and tourism for the benefit of its membership. PATA is a not-for-profit organisation.
Find out more about PATA at www.PATA.org.
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