Asia-Pacific Growth

PATA's annual Travel Mart opens amid record travel to Asia

By: J.L. Erickson

Amid record international travel to Asia this year, the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s annual Travel Mart 2005 opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with more buyers and sellers than last year and representing more than six-dozen countries.

The Mart included special workshops on Russia, China and India three of the key markets expected to drive much of the tourism growth in Asia Pacific for decades to come.

In particular, China and India travelers through the region are expected to be strong through at least 2007.

“India is considered to hold significant potential as an outbound tourism market because of its expanding middle class and its population size, which is comparable to China’s,” said John Koldowski, PATA director of the Strategic Intelligence Center.

PATA’s Asia Pacific Tourism Forecasts 2005-2007 predicts all Asia Pacific destinations will experience growth from India, particularly Cambodia (an average annual growth rate of 15 percent), Hong Kong SAR (15 percent), Australia (13 percent) and Macau SAR (12 percent).

PATA officials also predicted strong growth in international travel from China to Malaysia (36 percent), Korea (30 percent), Lao (20 percent) and Hawaii (20 percent). Koldowski predicted that Chinese travelers would take around 32 million outbound trips in 2005, 3 million more than 2004.

“Chinese travelers are becoming more intrepid while the number of destinations with approved destination status (currently 108) is increasing rapidly,” he said.