Asia-Pacific countries have been a magnet for tourists over the years. They are incredibly diverse and culturally rich, with many incredible sights to explore. Before the pandemic, the Asia-Pacific tourism sector was thriving, attracting visitors from around the world year after year.
According to Statista (2023), the volume of inbound travellers is expected to grow throughout 2023 and 2024, rising by 94% compared to the previous year. Regarding tourism growth throughout APAC, Trip.com data analyses the booking trends to popular destination spots, including Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, and has consistently had high search figures for this region.
Recently, Trip.com Group has strengthened its partnerships with stakeholders to position Japan as a top destination, with Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Bo, meeting the commissioner of Japan in March 2023. Japan has consistently been ranked among the top five destinations globally in terms of bookings and search volumes since entry restrictions were eased in Q4 2022. According to Trip.com data, global hotel bookings for arrivals between 15 March and 30 June increased by 237% YoY. Global flight bookings also increased by 317% (2022-2023) for travellers during the same period. The most popular European flight routes were from London to Tokyo and Paris to Tokyo.
The best time to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka is between March-April for cherry blossom season in Japan, to witness the world-famous flowers bloom in top tourist spots. Japan’s unique blend of fascinating culture, incredible landscapes and delicious food makes for a sought-after destination for travellers. According to Trip.com data, the top three cities visited in Japan were Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Osaka, known for famous landmarks such as Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium Dotonbori and Tennoji Park, is part of a long list of must-visit landmarks. The ancient city of Kyoto was the traditional home of the Japanese royal family, drawing tourists with its rich history and stunning architecture.
The South Korean government has recently promised to boost exports and attract tourists (Reuters 2023). It has set the goal of attracting 10 million foreign visitors this year. The number of foreign tourists reached a record 17.5 million in 2019, generating revenue estimated at $20.7 billion, according to the Korea Tourism Organisation.
Trip.com data reveals that global hotel bookings for arrivals between 15 March to 30 June, increased year-on-year (2022-2023) by more than half (51%). Flight bookings from Europe (UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany) increased by 456% year-on-year (2022-2023) for arrivals during the same period. The most popular flight routes were from London to Seoul, followed by Paris to Seoul.
The capital, Seoul, is the most popular visited city, according to Trip.com data, boasting jaw-dropping skyscrapers and grand palaces, and offering a mix of ancient landmarks and attractions of historical and cultural significance. The Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the finest examples of classic Korean architecture, destroyed and rebuilt several times since 1395.
Jeju Island is the second most popular destination, also favoured among locals. One of Netflix’s biggest K-dramas, ‘Our Blues’ brought international recognition to the volcanic island, with its windswept coastline and mountainous horizons. Seogwipo on the south side of Jeju Island is for tourists wanting a more relaxing trip, with its volcanic coastline famous for its sea views and scuba diving.
Following China’s decision to reopen borders in December 2022, Hong Kong was one of the cities which led the surge as one of the top five tourist destinations for outbound visitors from mainland China. Trip.com data shows that the most popular attractions within Hong Kong for its customers include Hong Kong Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360 – a cable car experience across the rolling green hills – and The Jurassic Dinosaur Adventure Park.
Trip.com data shows global hotel bookings for arrivals between 15 March to 30 June increased year-on-year by 13% from 2022 to 2023). Flight bookings from Europe (UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany) increased by a huge margin of 1,362% year-on-year from 2022 to 2023, for arrivals between 15 March to 30 June. The most popular flight route was from the UK – Hong Kong, followed by Germany – Hong Kong, and the top five destinations for tourists were mainland China, Singapore, the UK, America and Canada.
Over time, the Asia-Pacific region has transformed into a major travel hub for all types of tourists. The past decade has also experienced a dramatic increase in domestic and international tourist arrivals, and the region has gained a reputation as an in-trend destination for its attractions and natural landscapes.