As per Mastercard’s 2019 Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI), the five most popular destinations in Asia Pacific — Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Seoul, attracted 22 per cent of all overnight visitors to the region’s top 161 cities and regional centres in 2018.  The report also states that these five cities are  capturing more than 25.2 per cent of total international travel spending in the region.

In 2018, Asia Pacific hosted 342.2 million business and leisure trip making visitors, an increase from 159.1 million in 2009, which indicates a 8.9 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the nine-year period. During the same period, travel spending in Asia Pacific more than doubled, rising from US$ 117.6 billion to US$ 281.1 billion.

Some of the key trends highlighted by Mastercard’s 2019 APDI include:

  • Mainland China continues to exert the greatest influence over travel patterns and expenditure flows.
  • Japan is now the hottest destination in Asia.
  • Vacation destinations prevail over the fastest rising cities.
  • South Korea and Japan are noteworthy as the next biggest Asian origin markets. Another promising source market is India. In 2018, India waved off 14.9 million outbound travelers, of which 49.3 per cent, visited destinations in Asia Pacific.

Rupert Naylor, senior vice president, data and services, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, “While the world’s economic, geopolitical, technological and societal landscapes have all changed dramatically since Mastercard launched this research ten years ago, one thing has remained constant: the desire of ever-growing numbers of people to explore the world beyond their own borders.

“With the top 20 cities attracting nearly half of all international overnight arrivals to the 161 destinations ranked in the APDI, it is important to understand not only how continuously rising travel numbers impact cities and destinations for the better, but also the challenges they pose. This equips governments, merchants and the global travel industry with the information and insights they need to better serve their residents and visitors.”

Aneri Shroff