With more than 22 million international tourists, Bangkok has emerged as the top destination for global tourists in Asia in 2018, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData analysis reveals that Bangkok, Singapore and Tokyo were the top three destinations for global tourists and accounted for more 40% of the international tourist visits among the top 10 Asian destinations last year. Bangkok also emerged as the most affordable destination in terms of the average daily rate (ADR) during the year.
Aditi Dutta Chowdhury, Economic Research Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Travel and tourism is thriving as a key sector of economic growth worldwide. Asia has emerged as a hot spot for leisure, medical and cultural tourism with seven Asian cities featuring in the top 10 most visited cities in the world in 2018.”
The major tourist feeder markets for Asian cities are China, Europe and the US, along with India.
Chowdhury adds: “Tourism friendly visa policies, strong promotional efforts, weaker currency and low-cost connectivity have made these cities as preferred international destinations.”
Cities from Thailand outnumbered their counterparts in Asia
Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya together hosted 42.28 million international visitors in 2018. China, Russia and Europe were the main source markets of Thailand destinations.
Chowdhury continues: “Tourism in Thailand has experienced massive drop from China due to the weakening of Chinese Yuan against Baht. In addition, the boat accident in Phuket in 2018 made the tourists sceptic over security. The Maya Bay will remain closed till 2021 amid environmental concerns on rising tourist visits.”
Meanwhile, along with Bangkok Airways, Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched ‘Fly me to Thailand’ promotion offering privileges, gift cards, discounts and special deals in terms of booking hotels and other leisure services for Asian tourists which is expected to attract the tourists from the region.
Tokyo exhibited steady growth during 2014-18
Among the top ranked cities, international tourist arrivals in Tokyo exhibited sharpest growth of 60.5% during 2014-18, primarily due to visitor friendly environment, along with the measures taken to relax visa requirements for foreign visitors from Asia and other regions. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has set a target to host 25 million inbound tourists by 2020, of which 60% will be repeat visitors.
Vietnam and Cambodia new hot spots for globetrotters
With emerging security concerns and rising cost of travel in Thailand, international tourists are opting for other exquisite low cost destinations to meet their wanderlust. With beautiful natural spots and rich food, cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Phnom Penh in Cambodia are fast emerging as the new hot spots for the globetrotters.
Chowdhury concludes: “The Asian tourist destinations are extremely vulnerable to climate changes. Rising sea level due to global warming, frequent irrational weather and tourism beyond its capacity can make the Asian tourist destinations unsustainable in the near future.”