Asia is becoming more and more synonymous with growth these days. It’s a region which has largely remained unaffected by the global economic downturn, primarily because of the immense economic potential that its countries, particularly China and India, possess. It’s also a region which presently, with its robust growth, is leading the global economic recovery.
Not surprisingly, this growth is reflected everywhere – even in the travel industry. With many airlines offering cheap flights, even extraordinarily cheap business class tickets, to many destinations across Asia, the prospect of travelling to exotic destinations in the continent is gaining popularity amongst travellers all across the globe. The growth number last year, as far as travel was concerned, was a perfect reflection of this trend. According to a recent report released by PATA, inbound travel to Asia recorded an astonishing 11% year-on-year growth in 2010, with the number of incoming international travellers in December 2010 7% higher than the figure recorded in December 2009.
As for some statistics, the strongest growth was recorded by South Asia (14%) which saw inbound visitor traffic increase to about 8.4 million. Southeast Asia followed closely at 12%, while Northeast Asia, fuelled by strong performances from Chinese Taipei, Japan, Hong Kong, Mongolia, and Korea, recorded a figure of 11%. With 7.3 million additional international arrivals in 2010 as compared to the number in 2009, China witnessed a modest increment of 6%. The Pacific region, unfortunately, with a figure of around 5%, couldn’t get a fair share of the growth cake.
The main factor behind the numbers was, of course, the cost of travel. Cheap airline tickets to popular destinations, along with the option of budget hotels, made travel to and within Asia extremely reasonable. The option of cheap business class flights by many airlines also attracted those who wanted to experience that extra luxury without emptying their pockets. Additionally, the expansion in the networks of low-cost airlines also significantly contributed to this trend.
But with the demand increasing at such a pace, those cheap flights won’t really remain so cheap in the coming years. As analysts suggest, the growth numbers in travel and tourism are only likely to increase further in the subsequent year, which would imply a corresponding increase in the prices. That means you’ll have to pay a lot higher if you’re planning to visit Asia this year. I’d therefore recommend you plan early and buy those tickets as soon as possible, before those prices go up.