Asia Travel Booms

J.L. Erickson U.S. travelers are heading to Asia in record numbers - more than any other overseas region - with more than 4.5 million Americans visiting Asia in 2004 and China seeing the largest increase of more than 90 percent. The boom, seen in the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce

By: J.L. Erickson

U.S. travelers are heading to Asia in record numbers - more than any other overseas region - with more than 4.5 million Americans visiting Asia in 2004 and China seeing the largest increase of more than 90 percent.

The boom, seen in the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, is being fueled by a favorable exchange rate as well as new properties and routes being rolled out by the tourism industry in the region where the national tourism organizations have partnered with top travel suppliers to promote and brand the region.

And the growth remains strong this year: Latest figures compiled by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) show that the 36 Asia Pacific countries/destinations for which year-to-date arrivals data is available have shown a collective gain of 10.4 percent over 2004, or an additional 12.5 million arrivals.

According to Asia tourism industry experts, China in particular is drawing growing interest because of an economic expansion driving hotel companies to build new properties to accommodate Americans, and airlines are adding more routes from the United States.

Meanwhile, the region’s national tourism organizations have partnered with top travel suppliers to promote and brand the region. A new Web site www.seeyouinasia.com - lists everything from special hotel, airline, cruise and package offers to destination guides.

“We expect the Web site’s range of special values, travel tips and destination information to generate widespread interest among American travelers,” said Paul Cohen, president of Partner Concepts, the Annapolis, Maryland, travel marketing firm that manages the “See You In Asia” campaign.

The cornerstone of the campaign is expected to be a 32-page print supplement appearing in the Sept. 16 issue of USA Today, as well as the Sept. 18 issues of the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

>