Asian Conversations - an online magazine to explore Asia's future

Travel will triumph, again

The financial and tourism hub of Hong Kong pulled in 32.49 million tourist arrivals (20.4m from China and 4.3m from beyond Asia) between January and November 2010. The first 11 months already registered a 9.8% growth in arrivals over 2009 (29.59m). Total visitors to Hong Kong stood at 28.17m in 2007, and 29.5m in 2008.

China welcomed 21.94 million visitors (excluding from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, all vast reservoirs of inflow) in 2009, with 13.78m originating within Asia. The year 2009 saw a decrease in tourist arrivals due to the H1N1 outbreak, but inbound tourism is expected to grow by 8% annually from 2010 to 2013.

By September 2010, Malaysia had recorded 18.23 million arrivals, compared to 23.6m for the entire 2009. More than half the visitors were from Singapore (9.65m), but there has been steady growth in Australian, North American, and European traffic.

Thailand was projected to end 2010 with 15.7-15.8m arrivals. As of September 2010, the figure stood at 11.21m. Previous years have been relatively consistent, with 14.46m arrivals in 2007, 14.54m in 2008, and 14.14m in 2009. The dip in 2009 was due to domestic political unrest.

Vietnam saw 5.05 million arrivals in 2010, a huge growth of 34.8% from 3.77m in 2009. Indonesia too had record arrivals of 7m, up 8.5%. January to November 2010 saw 10.5m travellers visit Singapore, compared to 9.7m arrivals in 2009 (an increase of 8.2%). Japan saw 6.6 million tourist arrivals from January to September 2010. Including predicted figures for October and November, the figure would total 7.96m, a growth of 29.2% over 2009.

India recorded a far more modest 4.93 million arrivals between January and November 2010, compared to 5.11m for all of 2009 (0.8m from USA, 0.75m from the UK). Philippines recorded 2.84m visitors for the year till October 2010, and should surpass its 2009 figure of 3.02m. South Korea noted 4.34m arrivals from just February to July 2010. The figure was 7.81m for 2009. – Kanishk Verghese