NEW YORK – Following years of rapid growth, Asia Pacific's travel market has reached a significant milestone. According to a new report from travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, APAC surged past Europe to become the world's largest regional travel market in 2012, with US$326 billion in gross travel bookings.
In another significant sign of the rapid changes taking place across APAC, Japan has ceded its position to China as the largest APAC travel market. With double-digit gains through the forecast period, China will account for nearly a third of the regional travel market by 2015.
"Not only is China the largest APAC market, it is now the second-largest travel market worldwide, exceeded in gross travel bookings only by the U.S.," says PhoCusWright research analyst Chetan Kapoor. "Yet the Chinese traveler population is more than double that in the U.S., and China is the only major market projected to sustain double-digit growth through 2015, making it the market to watch."
While the vast majority of APAC's travel bookings are still made offline, the region's online travel penetration is expected to jump from 24% in 2012 to 31% by 2015. The explosive popularity of web-enabled mobile devices is a significant driver of online travel growth across the region.
PhoCusWright's Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview Sixth Edition provides sizing and projections for the region's total and online leisure/unmanaged business travel markets from 2011-2015, including analysis by segment and country market. The report analyzes competitive dynamics throughout the region, with insight into gross bookings and growth rates in Australia-New Zealand, China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia. For the first time, the report also sizes mobile travel in three major markets: China, Japan and India.