ASIA reigns as the driving force in global tourism, with a seven per cent rise in outbound trips this year and a predicted six per cent growth next year, according to the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report.
Both China and Japan reported double-digit growth in outbound travel and had the most frequent travellers worldwide. During the first six months of this year, the number of outbound trips from China grew by 20 per cent. Japan, having recovered from its tsunami crisis last year, registered a 13.7 per cent growth for the first nine months of 2012.
Outbound trips from South Korea increased by 6.7 per cent, while most markets in South and South-east Asia lost momentum. India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore reported less than five per cent growth. The report also forecasts that only Indonesia and the Philippines will exceed 10 per cent growth this year.
However, the outlook for most Asian markets remains positive, with only one-third of Asians saying the global financial crisis would affect their travel plans, while two-thirds said it would have no impact at all.
Next year, 29 per cent of Asians intend to travel more, while only 16 per cent aim to travel less. A little over 50 per cent said they would undertake the same amount of trips.
Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin said: “Over the coming years Asia will continue to be one of the main forces driving international tourism. Despite the economic uncertainty threatening major markets such as China and other countries in North-east Asia, travellers from those countries will play an important role in global tourism.”