According to figures published by the UNWTO in June, Asia and the Pacific (+8%) recorded the highest growth across world regions this January-April 2018 period, after a 6% increase in 2017. Results in Asia were driven by South- East Asia (+10%) where most destinations posted strong results, particularly Vietnam (+28% through May) which has seen a surge in international tourists in recent years. Philippines enjoyed a 15% increase in arrivals this period and Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia all 14% growth.
South Asian destinations (+9%) also enjoyed a strong start of the year, with Sri Lanka (+15%), Nepal (+13%), Maldives (+11%) and India (+9%) all reporting robust growth.
International arrivals in North East Asia increased 6%, led by Japan (+15%), which has become a major destination in the region following six straight years of double-digit growth.
Macao, China (+9%) and Hong Kong, China (+7%) also reported solid results, while data from China, the region’s largest destination is still pending for 2018.
The continuous growth of Chinese outbound travel is an asset for all of Asia, the continent being well-placed to reap the benefits of China’s continuous travel boom. In addition, increased air travel competition, good value for money in services, easier visa entry facilities to an increasing number of Asian countries and quickly expanding transportation infrastructures are also stimulating travel demand in the region.
INDIA’S INBOUND TOURISM BOOM: +15.6% IN 2017
India’s Minister of State for Tourism, KJ Alphons, told us his country is experiencing a boom in domestic and international tourism, with 10.2 million visitors received in 2017, up 15.6% on 2016, and that the introduction of e-visa has been the biggest game changer for the Indian Tourism Industry: “We now have a more liberalised e-visa regime is in place. The window period for application under the e-visa scheme has been increased from 30 days to 120 days to allow tourists plan their trip better. The stay duration has also been increased from 30 days to 60 days with double entry on e-tourist and e-business visas and triple entry on e-medical visas. This will bring cheer to citizens from 163 nations around the world planning to visit India.”
The e-visa facility is now gives entry through 24 airports as well as five seaports (Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai and Chennai) to tap cruise tourists from different countries. The requirement of doing bio-metric visas for cruise passengers in the five seaports has been deferred till 2020.
Photos: Chinese tourists visiting Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia.