MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index shows dramatic expansion of outbound China travelers to Asia Pacific, with a 25.9 percent annual growth rate from 2009 to 2016

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Singapore – 21 June 2016 – China will continue to contribute the largest share of tourists to Asia Pacific in 2016, according to the MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index. 50.4 million tourists from China are projected to travel to destinations across Asia Pacific this year, making up 15.7 percent of total international overnight arrivals in the region at the destination city level[1]. In 2016, Chinese travelers are expected to spend US$45.3 billion in Asia Pacific destinations, making up 18.2 percent of total tourist expenditure in the region.

Four of the top five origin countries with the highest contribution of international overnight arrivals to Asia Pacific destinations are from Northeast Asia – South Korea (32.5 million; 10.1 percent) ranked second after China, followed by Taiwan (22.5 million; 7.0 percent), the United States (20.6 million, 6.4 percent) and Japan (18.0 million; 5.6 percent). The four Northeast Asian markets are expected to contribute 38.4 percent of total international overnight arrivals in the region in 2016.

The dramatic expansion of outbound China tourism to Asia Pacific destinations can be seen in its growth. China propelled from sixth biggest contributor of tourists to Asia Pacific in 2009 (5.8 percent share of total Asia Pacific international overnight arrivals) to reach the top spot in 2012 with a 9.8 percent share. It has retained top position ever since with a 15.7 percent share driven by 25.9 percent compounded average annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2009 to 2016. Japan in contrast has seen its share of tourists to Asia Pacific destinations drop, from top spot in 2009 (9.7 percent share) to fifth spot in 2016 (5.6 percent share) with a 1.1 percent CAGR from 2009 to 2016.

The United States at number four has consistently been the highest ranked non-Asia Pacific origin country since 2009. The United Kingdom is the only other non-Asia Pacific origin country within the top ten at ninth place.

“In the past few years, the mix of tourists in key Asia Pacific destination has changed significantly reflecting the economic rise of China and other emerging Asian economies. Where you might have found tourists from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United States, you are now much more likely to come across travelers from mainland China. The impact of the economic transformation of China and specifically the rise in disposable incomes is the biggest driver of tourism growth globally. While we are expecting similar growth from India and Indonesia in the longer term, as well as other segments such as Halal tourism, Chinese tourists are more concentrated in Asia and impact markets at a larger scale,” commented Matthew Driver, Executive Vice President, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard.

“This growth is very positive for the Asia Pacific tourism industry and there remains a huge opportunity for industry players to tap into it and benefit from it. Like any other important market, players can gain advantage if they identify the relevant segments of the market for their business, understand their unique needs and then design products and services to best cater to their needs, complementing the services they provide to other key traveler segments.”

The top ten sources of tourists to Asia Pacific destinations in 2016 ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:

1.      China – 50.4 million (15.7 percent share)

2.      South Korea – 32.5 million (10.1 percent share)

3.      Taiwan  – 22.5 million (7.0 percent share)

4.      United States – 20.6 million (6.4 percent share)

5.      Japan – 18.0 million (5.6 percent share)

6.      Singapore – 14.3 million (4.5 percent share)

7.      Malaysia – 13.5 million (4.2 percent share)

8.      Australia – 13.3 million (4.2 percent share)

9.      United Kingdom – 12.3 million (3.8 percent share)

10.  Thailand – 10.2 million (3.2 percent share)

Of the top ten Asia Pacific destinations, four have China as their biggest source of tourists, led by Seoul with Chinese tourists projected to make up 50.5 percent of international overnight arrivals, followed by Bangkok at 38.2 percent, Pattaya at 28.8 percent and Phuket at 25.6 percent.

The top ten most popular Asia Pacific destinations for Chinese tourists in 2016 ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:

1. Bangkok – 8.2 million (16.3 percent share of arrivals)2. Seoul – 5.2 million (10.2 percent share of arrivals)

3. Tokyo – 2.7 million (5.3 percent share of arrivals)

4. Phuket – 2.5 million (5.0 percent share of arrivals)

5. Pattaya – 2.1 million (4.2 percent share of arrivals)

6. Osaka – 1.9 million (3.7 percent share of arrivals)7. Singapore – 1.8 million (3.6 percent share of arrivals)

8. Taipei – 1.6 million (3.3 percent share of arrivals)

9. Jeju – 1.5 million (3.1 percent share of arrivals)

10. Bali – 1.4 million (2.7 percent share of arrivals)

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The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:

1. Bangkok – 21.5 million2. Singapore  – 12.1 million

3. Kuala Lumpur – 12.0 million

4. Tokyo – 11.7 million

5. Seoul – 10.2 million

6. Phuket – 9.9 million7. Hong Kong – 8.4  million

8. Bali – 7.8 million

9. Taipei – 7.3 million

10. Pattaya – 7.3 million

The top ten sources of tourists to Asia Pacific destinations in 2016 ranked by total expenditure:

1. China – US$45.3 billion (18.2 percent share)2. South Korea – US$21.0 billion (8.4 percent share)

3. United States  – US$16.2 billion (6.5 percent share)

4. Japan – US$15.8 billion (6.4 percent share)

5. Taiwan – US$13.9 billion (5.6 percent share)


6. Singapore – US$12.3 billion (4.9 percent share)7. Australia – US$11.3 billion (4.5 percent share)

8. United Kingdom – US$10.3 billion (4.1 percent share)

9. Indonesia – US$8.8 billion (3.5 percent share)

10. Malaysia – US$8.7 billion (3.5 percent share)

About the MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index

The first MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index is an offshoot of MasterCard’s annual Global Destination Cities Index.

In recent years, Asia Pacific cities have increasingly dominated the fastest growing and most visited destinations in the world. According to 2015’s MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, five of the ten most visited cities in the world were in Asia Pacific.

The Asia Pacific Destinations Index takes a more in-depth, focused look at these tourism trends, ranking 167 destinations, including island resorts as well as towns and cities across the region, in terms of the total number of international overnight arrivals; cross-border spending; and the total number of nights spent at each destination. These 167 destinations are drawn from 22 countries across Asia Pacific and represent 90 percent of all international overnight arrivals within the region.

Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the destinations, using custom-made algorithms.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on MasterCard volumes or transactional data.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardAP and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media Contacts

Georgette Tan, MasterCard,, +65 6390 5971

Samantha Yong, Weber Shandwick,, +65 6825 8053

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[1]   Total number Chinese tourists arriving at the 112 Asia Pacific destinations (excluding China destinations, Hong Kong and Macau) and staying at least one night.