Dominating the economic narrative at the start of this year has been China’s slowdown. Chinese manufacturing and exports continue to perform badly, and GDP growth in 2015 was probably closer to 5% than the much-doubted official rate of 6.8%. However, even within this gloom, Asia-Pacific delivered the most striking tourism numbers in 2015, and will likely continue to see some of the most dynamic changes in 2016 according to EyeforTravel’s Full Year Round-Up and Forecast 2016 report.
In 2015, countries across region experienced notable, and often record breaking, growth:
EyeforTravel’s Head of Research, Alex Hadwick, is optimistic about 2016 given these numbers: “Although the past is not necessarily a guide for the future, after such strong figures we are unlikely to see a collapse in demand. We expect that countries in Asia-Pacific will continue to see some of the more dramatic growth rates globally in both inbound and outbound travel.”
The report highlights India and Japan in particular as countries to watch in 2016. It expected the former to continue its outbound travel growth trajectory, with a forecast of 10% growth in outbound travel in 2015. Even though the report notes that inbound growth to Japan is likely to fall back from 2015 levels, 2016 is still predicted to see 25-30% more tourists entering Japan in 2016.
As regards, the elephant in the room – China – Alex Hadwick said that “as we predicted at the start of 2015, China is facing some economic headwinds that mean the primary beneficiaries of outbound travel were regional tourism hotspots. We don’t expect this dynamic to change. We also expect a softening of the rate of outbound growth as the purchasing power of the yuan declines and consumer sentiment remains below recent levels. Nonetheless, wage growth data remains positive and a general transition to a services economy is by no means a bad thing for tourism. Indeed, the Chinese government is actively supporting the tourism industry as part of its ‘One Belt One Road’ policy, so I think that as industry we don’t need to buy into the bearish sentiment surrounding China just yet.”
For more head over to the report: http://www.eyefortravel.com/mobile-and-technology/eyefortravel-full-year-round-and-forecast-2016
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