Published on : Tuesday, July 10, 2018
The steep increase in tourist numbers in the region far exceeds the international average of 6% and has made Southeast Asia earn more than the $131.1 billion. Many other countries in the region saw double-digit growth, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia.
The reason for this rapid growth could be due to countries beginning to understand the importance of tourism as a contributor to socio-economic development.
The UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “It is also a reflection of growing regional integration and air connectivity…[and] reflects strong demand from Northeast Asian source markets, particularly China and the Republic of Korea, but also from Australia, Russia and Western European markets.”
Vietnam saw the largest increase in the number of arrivals, with a 25.2% growth in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year.
Pololikashvili said that visa exemptions for major European markets and a new tourism law last year as possible reasons for tourist growth.
Cambodia’s huge temple complex Angkor Wat continues to attract tourists, and in 2016 contributed $2.4 billion towards the country’s economy. China also surpassed Vietnam as the number-one source of visitors to Cambodia, with 1 million Chinese tourists flocking to the Kingdom in 2017.