side from Japan, growth in arrivals to destinations in this region have all been recording positive growth. However, it was evident that slower growth into most of these destinations “was in part caused by the decline in the number of outbound trips from Japan,” the association said.
“Positive growth in foreign arrivals continues for many Asia/Pacific destinations. The March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant safety issues are still impacting Japan’s tourism sector,” said recently Kris Lim, PATA’s director of the Strategic Intelligence Centre.
The latest results however showed some small signs of recovery with lower negative growth of inbound and outbound travellers when compared to previous months. “We believe that Japan will gradually see more improvement through the second half of the year,” Lim added.
Any improvement will unquestionably be beneficial to Macau’s tourism industry. Even though visitor arrivals on package tours increased 2.2 % year-on-year to 582,596 in May, the total number in the first five months dropped 1.6 %, the statistics bureau said. The fewer number of outbound Japanese tours may be the main cause behind this fall.
According to official figures, 13,724 Japanese tourists visited Macau in May, a significant drop of 39.4 %. From January to May, the number of outbound tours from Japan to the SAR plunged 25.5 % to 84,086.
However, Macau is also luring fewer tourists from other regional markets, such as Malaysia and Thailand. The number of tours from those two countries declined 24.7 percent and 21.4 percent, to 40,865 and 445,932 respectively.
On the other hand, more and more tourists from South Korea are coming to Macau. The figures released yesterday showed an increase of 54.4 percent in the first five months of 2011, to 109,159. In May alone, over 21,000 South Korean tourists entered Macau. Overall, up until May more than 2.5 million tourists came to the SAR travelling on tours, the majority from mainland China.
Globally, the number of Macau residents travelling on package tours in May went down by 10.1 percent year-on-year to 17,180. Despite the appreciation of the Yuan against the Pataca, mainland China is still the dominant market, grabbing over two thirds of the total. However, most residents still prefer to travel on their own. Almost 48,046 did so – up 30 percent year-on-year – mostly to mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
However, the number of residents travelling to Japan collapsed in recent months. In May alone, only 334 residents visited the ‘land of the rising sun’, a drop of 91.2 and 68.6 percent in the number of tours and individual travel, respectively.