Asia hotel prices down 2 per cent in 2014

Hotel prices in Asia decreased by 2 per cent on average in 2014, despite the 3-per-cent average increase worldwide, according to the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI).

Asia was the only region where hotel prices contracted.

"More than 1.1 billion travellers ventured abroad in 2014, up nearly 5 per cent over the previous year, with the size of the global domestic travel market estimated to be four to five times this total," said Johan Svanstrom, president of the brand.

"Tourism is a fiercely competitive and resilient industry with countries vying to attract valuable visiting travellers by improving infrastructure, expanding hospitality and entertainment options and relaxing visa requirements. Travel opens up both world and minds - so go explore," he said.

Global hotel prices have now experienced five years of steady price rises since they plummeted during the financial collapse in 2008.

The global HPI stood at 113 at the end of 2014, 13 points higher than at its launch in 2004 and on a par with its 2008 level but still four points lower than its peak at 117 in 2007.

"Although the index rose again last year, it is still way behind its peak of seven years ago, which is great news for consumers," Svanstrom said.

"Each year is unique in the travel industry, and 2014 was no exception, bringing its own opportunities and challenges. Global events, such as the Winter Olympic Games and World Cup, predictably attracted travellers to new destinations. Yet unforeseen tragedies, including the Ebola outbreak, the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and the loss of MH17, left their own mark."

Of the six regions, the index rose in four, was unchanged in one and fell in another. With a strong economy and rising dollar, North America led the way with a rise of 5 per cent, 2 percentage points better than its 2013 result.

Two regions reported 4-per-cent growth - the Caribbean and Europe - and the Middle East showed its fastest rate of growth for seven years, as many countries reported record visitor numbers for 2014.

Latin America registered a 2-per-cent index rise. World Cup host Brazil exceeded expectations when it came to its hospitality industry, and the event was a unique opportunity for the country to showcase some of the top-class accommodation and services it has to offer.

The Pacific showed no growth in its index in 2014 but the continued weakness in the Australian dollar should mean that the region will attract more visitors this year.