The tourism industry is a primary financial sector for most of the Southeast Asian countries.
Nepal, the Maldives and the island country of Sri Lanka saw substantial increase in visitors in comparison to previous years. However, travel figures to India remained flat. Southeast Asia had the best rate of recovery with a fifteen percent increase in the number of people arriving here.
China did post remarkable growth due to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but post games the stats are the same as for the rest of the region. Another observation is that during the pause in growth that the industry was experiencing, the international airlines reached stagnancy, while the low cost no-frills airlines saw a surge in their growth.
Thailand was largely affected by the political anti-government demonstrations at Bangkok airport, in late 2008, driving back the 3.7 percent growth achieved up until then.
A potential boom in visitors is expected in the regions of Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong and South Korea. Other booming tourism numbers are forecast for the Maldives and Sri Lanka followed by Nepal, the Himalayan Kingdom.
Analytics by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveal that North American tourism trade fell to 638 million in comparison to the Asia- pacific visitors of 647 million.
The non-profit organization in the travel trade PATA, or the Pacific Asia Travel Association, has some interesting statistics for the domestic travel industry. Its spokesperson, John Koldowski, forecasts 2011 to be the time when the industry affects a full recovery. However, a word of caution: even with a confirmed flight, given the nose-dive in the number of people travelling, tourists to the region need to travel with buffer time for travelling to overcome any delays or cancellations or combining of flights in or out of these domestic regions.
Brian Sinclair Thompson, at Swiss International, concurs that the Asia- Pacific region is on the threshold of a tourism trade re-growth with global visitors as well as intra-Asia travelers. He expects the major international airlines to streamline and to rework capacities, while the low-cost airlines continue in their expansionist modes.
The tourism industry is vital to the economy of most of the countries around the Indian Ocean and the China Sea and contributes close to 5 percent of the GDP. Revival in the tourism industry in these parts will find resurgence in the economy of the region.
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