Visitor arrivals to the Pacific region grew by 3.7 per cent in 2016, when compared to the same period in 2015.
These figures were released by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation this week following the completion of its annual review of visitor arrivals for 2016.
The results are in line with global tourist arrival figures which grew by 3.9 per cent with the Asia Pacific region recording an increased growth of 8.4 per cent for the same period.
In the region, SPTO member countries Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu all received more tourists when compared to the same period the previous year.
Fiji maintained its supremacy as the lead tourism destination in the region with 40 per cent market share, followed by French Polynesia at 9.5 per cent share, PNG at 8.8 per cent, Cook Islands and Samoa each with 7.2 per cent, and Palau at 6.8 per cent share. The remaining 20 per cent was shared among all the other destinations in the region.
Visitors from Australia and New Zealand continued to dominate the arrivals in the region, accounting for 52 per cent of the total visitor arrivals in 2016. Of this, Australia accounted for 31.2 per cent and New Zealand 20.6 per cent. New Zealand is noted as recording the fastest growth by 13. 6 per cent during the year. Leisure tourists dominated the region at 66.2 per cent of the market share.
Visitor arrivals by sea reached an estimated 1,059,152 in 2016 with cruise arrivals accounting for 99.8 per cent. This brings total visitor arrivals (both air and sea) to the region to 3,089,681 in 2016.
For 2017, tourist arrivals to the Pacific ACP and SPTO member countries is forecasted to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2017 based on a positive global outlook and continued growth in tourist arrivals from the region’s traditional and emerging source markets.
For global tourism 2017 outlook, The UN World Tourism Organisation Tourism Barometer has projected international tourist arrivals worldwide to grow by 3-4 per cent in 2017. The Asia and the Pacific and the African Regions are projected to grow at 5-6 per cent.
Since the Pacific ACP and SPTO member countries are under the Asia and the Pacific Region, the forecasted growth is expected to have a positive impact on tourism traffic to the region.
On destinations, major drivers of the forecasted growth would come from Fiji, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
– with SPTO