Asia Pacific arrivals surge

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The Independent Online

International arrivals to Asia Pacific surged 10 percent in the first three months of 2010, according to figures released June 23 by the Pacific Asia Travel Association.

The rise in demand for travel is excellent news for the region, which has been hit hard by the international economic crisis.

South Asia rebounded the strongest, posting a 17 percent year-on-year rise for the first quarter of the year which was led by travel to Bhutan (up 57 percent), Nepal (up 30 percent), and the Maldives (up 21 percent).

Southeast Asia gained 16 percent year on year, with Myanmar (up 39 percent), Vietnam (up 36 percent) and Thailand (up 28 percent), although PATA warned that the Thai tourism industry is expected to be severely impacted by the unrest in Bangkok when figures for April and May are released.

Japan posted a significant turnaround from the tourism doldrums last year, showing a 29 percent rise after an overall decline of nearly 20 percent during 2009.

The rest of North East Asia showed an eight percent growth, with an impressive jump of 28 percent for Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), 17 percent for Hong Kong and 12 percent for Macau.

Australia and New Zealand both reported increases of six percent, while the smaller Pacific island destinations such as Niue, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea also reported an outstanding three months.