- Visitor arrivals: 3.5 million, +16.7% year-on-year;
Visitor arrivals to Philippines up 16.7% in 2010
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AirAsia exploring future opportunities in Northeast Asia: Chinese affiliate enticing, but difficult
AirAsia is doubling down its focus on North Asia with a regional office in Hong Kong overseen by former AirAsia executive Kathleen Tan, who is widely credited for AirAsia's strong Chinese relations and growth in China: AirAsia is the largest non-greater China airline company in the country. Across North Asia the opportunities are large, but the challenges equally big. A China-based AirAsia affiliate would appear to be a long term ambition.
More immediately, AirAsia is regaining a local Northeast Asia presence with the launch of AirAsia Japan Mk II in 2017. Although delayed from initial 2015 start-up projections, AirAsia Japan gives the group relevance in a large domestic market and significantly growing short haul international market.
Elsewhere in Northeast Asia the opportunities are mixed. Korea and Hong Kong are becoming saturated and remain protectionist. Macau and Taiwan are unlikely to be big enough to support a local AirAsia unit.
China is not the only game in town: Asia’s other aviation growth markets
China captures headlines and imaginations in terms of market growth potential, and rightly so - it will generate 100 million tourists annually by the end of this decade. But there are other markets in Southeast Asia that show high potential and remarkable promise for future growth opportunities.
The large aircraft order book hovering over the region has attracted significant attention from the global industry in recent years. Much of this is directed at short haul markets, as new LCCs expand and regional commerce develops. While the rate of growth has been slowing, the order book suggests at some point the rate of LCC growth in Southeast Asia will re-accelerate. Southeast Asian LCCs currently have over 1,100 orders, including almost 90 widebody aircraft. LCCs currently account for about 75% of orders among Southeast Asian airlines but only about 33% of the active fleet. Even when factoring in replacements the size of the LCC fleet should more than double over the next decade.
Three Southeast Asian markets recorded double-digit passenger growth in 2015 – Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia – while another three experienced high single-digit growth – the Philippines, Laos and Myanmar. Indonesia and Malaysia have struggled recently but should see faster growth rates again in the medium to long term. Indonesia, with its 200 million population, is perhaps the quiet medium term performer. Thailand and Vietnam, for now, remain the hottest markets in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is also intriguing, but much smaller.