BANGKOK - Updated forecasts from Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for international visitor arrivals into and across Asia Pacific in 2020 indicate visitor numbers are likely to reduce by 32% year-on-year.
Visitors arrivals are now expected to reduce to fewer than 500 million this year, effectively taking the volume back to levels last seen in 2012.
At this stage, PATA says, growth is expected to resume in 2021, returning to forecast levels by 2023 depending on how quickly and completely the COVID-19 pandemic is contained and controlled.
A more optimistic scenario suggests arrivals still falling in 2020 but by 16% year-on-year while a pessimistic narrative predicts a reduction of approximately 44%.
The impacts are expected to be most severe in Asia, especially Northeast Asia, which is now predicted to lose almost 51% of its visitor volume between 2019 and 2020 (most likely scenario), followed by South Asia with a reduction of 31%, and then Southeast Asia with a 22% drop in visitor arrivals.
West Asia is projected to lose almost six percent in visitor arrivals.
Visitor receipts are expected to drop by 27% between 2019 and 2020 under the most likely scenario, reducing to US$594 billion, significantly below the original 2020 forecast of US$811 billion.
Asia is expected to lose more than US$170 billion (-36%), with Northeast Asia predicted to lose more than US$123 billion (-48%) under this most likely scenario, followed by South Asia with a US$13.3 billion loss (-33%) and Southeast Asia with a US$34.6 billion shortfall (-20%).