âTourism arrivals in Asia Pacific to remain below 2019 levelsâ
In its Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2021-2023 report, PATA said the forecasts covered mild, medium and severe scenarios.
Rudy Santos/File photo

‘Tourism arrivals in Asia Pacific to remain below 2019 levels’

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — International visitor arrivals in the Asia Pacific region are projected to remain below 2019 levels until 2023, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) said.

In its Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2021-2023 report, PATA said the forecasts covered mild, medium and severe scenarios.

“The report shows that even under a mild scenario, the Asia Pacific region in 2023 is likely to still have around four percent fewer arrivals compared to 2019,” PATA said.

It expects international visitor arrivals to reach 677.03 million compared to the 703.35 million visitor arrivals in 2019.

Under the medium scenario, PATA projects foreign visitor numbers in 2023 to only be three-quarters of the 2019 volume at 523.13 million.

In contrast, under the severe scenario, international arrivals are seen to reach less than half of the 2019 volume of international arrivals at 342.84 million.

“The results are very uneven as well, not just under each scenario but also for the major destination regions of Asia Pacific,” PATA said.

Data from PATA show that international visitor arrivals into and across Asia totaled 70.64 million, a sharp decline from the year before.

PATA said international visitor arrivals for this year are only expected to show an increase from 2020 numbers under the mild scenario, with a forecast of 34.18 million arrivals.

“From 2022 onwards, however, annual increases are forecast to gradually improve in volume under each of the three scenarios,” PATA said.

PATA chief executive officer Mario Hardy emphasized that while growth in international visitor arrivals into and across the Asia Pacific remains difficult in 2021, there are promising signs for 2022 and 2023.

“A return to near pre-COVID-19 levels of arrivals, while possible by 2023, appears now to be feasible, at least if conditions as they are now, abate quickly and permanently. Much, however, will depend on events during this present northern winter and the arrival and management of the more traditional flu season,” Hardy said.

“Given the speed with which conditions can change, the PATA forecast report this year does not have the same destination-specific detail as previously published in the past, but rather focuses on regions and sub-regions. They are however more flexible as they will be updated twice over the coming 12 months, to factor in developments, as and when they occur,” he added.

Moreover, Hardy stressed that domestic travel would in many cases, fill some of the void left by the loss of foreign arrivals.

He added that as much care and attention to those travellers need to be given as to those from overseas.

“Furthermore, for both types of visitor, perhaps the future will depend more on length of stay and visitor satisfaction, than on a generic and simple headcount of arrivals,” Hardy said.

“Metrics that track such indicators will possibly become a new standard for determining tourism potential and performance in what is likely to continue being a volatile world,” he added.

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