According to an ITB Berlin/ IPK report, Asian travels within Asia will continue to grow by double digit figures this year, supported by China outbound, Japan’s outbound recovery, the abolition of visas for more countries (Korea, Japan, Taiwan, India, etc.), while low cost airline development continues to stimulate travel in most Asian countries.

The recent strengthening of the Euro versus the dollar and Asian currencies is likely to further stimulate travels to Asia and particularly Southeast Asia.

Indonesia is now expecting 15 million international visitors in 2017, up by 20% over 2016. So far, the country has enjoyed a growth in arrivals of 15% for the first five months of 2017. Thailand was Southeast Asia’s no.1 tourism destination with 32 million foreign arrivals in 2016. During the first half of 2017, the country recorded 4 to 5% more travellers, equivalent to 18 million arrivals. While Malaysia’s tourism authorities target an 18% growth in arrivals in 2017, helping the country to jump from 26.8 million to 31.7 million international arrivals, growth should be more moderate around 10%. This will help Malaysia pass the 30-million mark.

Some 24 million visitors arrived in Japan in 2016, blowing Prime Minister Abe’s original goal of 20 million by 2020, the year Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics, out of the ballpark. From January to May, Japan already received 11.41 million international travellers compared to 9.73 million for the same period of 2016. This represents a jump of 17.3%.

Photo : Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, Buthan