The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said that in spite of political instability and threats of terrorism including global health problems and natural disasters, people continue to travel for business and leisure. Southeast Asia is the fastest growing market in terms of international tourism and their contributions to GDP. Tourists from China and South Korea are the main contributors in boosting the earnings of Asian countries through tourism.
Market research firm Euromonitor International released a report early this year that revealed that Hong Kong and Bangkok have received the most travellers compared to other destinations all over the world. MasterCard Asia Pacific Destination Index 2017 also revealed that Bangkok is the most visited city in the Asia Pacific region. However, in terms of tourism expenditures, Singapore outpaces Bangkok. From 2015 to 2016, Singapore enjoyed an 18% increase in visitor spending at US$254 daily.
Aside from tourists from China and Korea, tourism earnings are also boosted by tourists from Taiwan, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. Singapore and Bangkok are the favourite destinations of Chinese tourists as well as Tokyo that is considered as the top destination for outbound Koreans with approximately 3 million arrivals per year.
According to the minister of tourism and sport in Thailand, the flourishing growth of tourism in Asia is just a start. It is expected that tourism rates will further improve due to the formation of the ASEAN Economic Council and infrastructures like high-speed trains and the east-west highways from China to Mekong sub-region.
However, ASEAN countries need to cooperate more to enjoy the full economic benefits from tourism and create real freedom of mobility. Each government in ASEAN has its individual visa requirements unlike the European Union that has a single visa. Different visa policies can affect the free flow of travellers from one region to the other.
In Thailand, Korean business and leisure travellers will enjoy staying in a hotel near Korean town. Shopping centres are within walking distance to the hotel as well as nightlife and entertainment. Many of the embassies are nearby and other popular tourist destinations can be reached through sky train and public metro with stations in Sukhumvit.