The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to release its latest quarterly updated international visitor arrivals (IVAs) forecast current to May 6, 2022, based on the data provided by 39 Asia Pacific destinations. In line with the start of the region’s travel recovery, aggregate numbers into the 39 Asia Pacific destinations are projected to have step-wise annual increases beginning in 2022 and continuing to 2024 across all three of the mild, medium, and severe scenarios.
IVA recovery rates (above the 2019 baseline level) for visitors into and across the Asia Pacific are predicted to reach between 25-48% of the volume last received in 2019, with the numbers reflecting the range of potential outcomes from a severe to a mild scenario. This is a solid improvement over the 16-18% range of 2021 – the trough year for most Asia Pacific destinations – and heralds the beginning of a continued growth trend to 2024.
The number of foreign arrivals into and across the Asia Pacific is still projected to either reach parity with the 2019 position (medium scenario) or be well above it (mild scenario) by 2024. Even so, the severe scenario reminds us that a possibility still exists for conditions to deteriorate once again – with multiple influencing factors including the ongoing pandemic continually evolving, the Ukraine/Russia crisis, escalating jet fuel prices, limited air capacity and routes, plus industry-wide staff shortages.
While annual growth is predicted to occur for each of the 39 destinations covered between 2022 and 2024, there will of course be some variations. This is illustrated by the differences in relative positions for each of the three destination regions of Asia Pacific, as well as under each of the three scenarios within each of those regions.
At the individual destination level, recovery rates vary broadly in 2022 and are predicted to range from less than 15% to almost 99%, while in 2024, they range from 86% to 120% under that same scenario. Overall, however, projections are now for the Asia Pacific to reach an IVA count in 2024 of 510-832 million, depending on which scenario plays out over that period.
Similar variations are apparent across the source market regions relevant to the Asia Pacific, although in general, the trend is back towards the same inbound structure of 2024, at least under the medium scenario.
As PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera observes “While a positive turning point is predicted to occur in 2022 for all the 39 Asia Pacific destinations covered in these updated forecasts, many market variables are currently influencing travel and significant challenges still lay ahead. While the momentum for international travel demand is obviously increasing, multiple challenges need to be navigated by the global travel and tourism sector.”
“From emerging new strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to escalating jet fuel prices, the spectre of rising inflation to the current geopolitical conflicts, these variables are concerns in the face of global pent-up demand to reconnect and travel.”
Ms Ortiguera concludes by reminding the travel and tourism sector that “Safety, wellness and smooth travel experiences are top of mind as needs for post-pandemic travellers. It’s important to provide clarity in processes and deliver good customer support in the face of ever-changing circumstances. Recognition should go to all the travel and tourism staff that are enabling efficient and great travel service delivery and experiences in the face of all these challenges. We need to respect and applaud their efforts as the backbone of the industry through these challenging times.”
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