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UNWTO maintains tourism growth outlook for 2011 despite Japan disaster

21-Mar-2011 11:53 AM

The following tourism associations and governments have provided an update on the potential effect of the Japan earthquake/tsunami and radiation threats:

  • United Nations World Tourism Organisation: Stated Japanese nationals spent USD25 billion on travel in 2009. UNWTO stated it has maintained its forecast of global tourism growth of 5%;
  • Pacific Asia Travel Association: “The Japanese outbound market has been in decline the past few years. For the next few months, the drop will be much more severe," said Kris Lim, a PATA director. He added that the disaster will accelerate a trend that has seen countries in the region court more visitors from China, which eclipsed Japan as Asia’s biggest economy last year;
  • Association of Asia Pacific Airlines: "Anxiety about possible escalation of the nuclear crisis and simply a fear of the unknown is driving behaviour right now," said director-general Andrew Herdman.
  • Hawaii: Governor Neil Abercrombie predicted the economic consequences will be severe stating: “It’s going to be terrible. It’s going to be rough. It’s something that we have to come to grips with”;
  • South Korea: Korea Tourism Organistation stated 1.9 million Japanese visited South Korea in Jan-2011 comprising 33% of all arrivals. The Finance Ministry stated South Korea’s tourism industry may be hurt because of a possible drop in the number of Japanese visitors after the quake. “Even though there is no assessment yet on how much the number of Japan tourists coming to Thailand will fall, we believe Japan will focus on rebuilding their country more than traveling outside for a while,” Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said;
  • Taiwan: Central Bank Governor Perng Fai-nan said Japanese tourists comprised 19% of arrivals last year, meaning the country may see its travel industry hurt due to the crisis;
  • Thai-Japan Tourist Association (TJTA): Stated Thai tourism could see revenue losses of around THB3 billion (USD99 million);
  • Vietnam: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism stated “the earthquake will definitely affect the number of tourists. They will have to prioritise spending to rebuild their lives.”

Sources:, Dallas Business Journal, Detroit News, Bloomberg, Bernama, Thai News Agency, Dow Jones, Rediff, CNA, People's Daily Online,, Kyodo, New York Post, Xinhua, China Daily, Associated Press, ABS-CBN News, The Hindu, joongang, Gulf News, Kuna, YLE, Novinite, Itar-Tass, PTI, Greekcity, CNA, Trend, ONE News, Airline Routes