Asia Pacific travel sector will get worse before it gets better
Key Asian tourism destinations including Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and India are bracing themselves for a weak 2009, as traveller numbers are expected to drop.
In a recent report from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the tourism body recognised that the tourism sector in the Asia Pacific bore much of the brunt in the last quarter of 2008.
“The slowdown was particularly strong since August following the spike in oil prices and the consequent cuts in airline capacity and increasing transport costs,” noted the UNWTO.
“In the shorter term, overall prospects – against continuing downward revisions in macro-economic expectations and primary generating markets in recession – look quite gloomy.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) too has noted that traffic in and out of the Asia Pacific has dropped more than any other region in recent months.
In comparison, North America traffic figures were doing relatively well due to having entered the downward trend much earlier than the Asia Pacific.
IATA notes that in 2009, “North America [aviation] will be the only region in the black,” whereas the Asia Pacific is expected to see losses more than double from the US$500 million in 2008 to US$1.1 billion.
For these destinations a drop in capacity from carrier will translate to weaker profits across the board, from hotels to attractions as well as restaurants and convention centres.