Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan on international tourists’ radars

International tourists’ interest in Asia has been growing exponentially. Source: Shutterstock.

INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS have got their eyes on six Asian countries and for various reasons.

Japan has always been an easy favorite, with various publications and travelers praising its people, its food, its history, its culture, its natural beauty, its efficiency, and its safety.

JW Magazine has even called the East Asian country “one of the greatest places on Earth”.

In the past decade or so, Japan’s neighboring country South Korea is noticeably rising up the ranks thanks to the Korean Wave. Korean entertainment, coupled with the magic of social media, has been opening the eyes and ears of potential travelers.

And the country is continuing to reap the rewards.

In just the first two months of 2018, over two million tourists visited South Korea. But that could also be attributed to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Indonesia, on the other hand, has been facing issues stemmed from overtourism at some of its popular destinations such as Bali. Bali accounts for almost half of the country’s tourist arrivals every year.

Originally known for its majestic temples and coral reefs which snorkelers and divers love, the Indonesian island is now marred by a great disturbance of plastic waste in its waters and riddled with cases of tourists smuggling drugs and basically misbehaving.

So much so that the tourism board is now working on spreading out the crowd to other places like Lombok and Kalimantan.

That having said, three other Asian countries’ tourism numbers are expected to rise.

For example, the Philippines reported a 10.96 percent growth in tourism arrivals for 2017, according to Forbes.

“That translates to 6.6 million tourists, with over 675,000 of them coming from Europe,” Forbes wrote. This is despite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing war on drugs, which has spurred safety issues.

The country is also gearing up to receive more tourists now that Qatar Airways, which flies from major European cities, have opened up regular flights to Cebu and Davao. Last month, the Philippines announced that they’re working on upgrading the most basic of all travel infrastructure needs: the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Meanwhile, Malaysia is expected to receive more tourists this year, having allocated RM30 million to boost the nation’s medical tourism industry.

This is in tune with Germany’s Condor Airlines launching direct flights between Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur last year, making it easier for Europeans to seek affordable healthcare alternatives.

The Southeast Asian country hopes to achieve the ambitious goal of 36 million tourist arrivals by 2020.

Super skyscraper Taipei 101 stands tall and proud at sunset. Source: Shutterstock.

And finally, Taiwan.

Tourism arrivals for the small island nation have been picking up of late. The country received 10.73 million tourists in 2017, a ginormous jump from a mere 3.71 million a decade ago.

Taiwan’s tourism board has also been pulling out all stops to promote the country: pledging to ban plastic bags, disposable utensils, and disposable beverage cups; allowing same-sex marriages, a landmark ruling that cemented its reputation as a beacon of liberalism; working with Taiwan’s Chinese Muslim Association (CMA) to push halal tourism; and launching a visa waiver program, just to name a few.

With all these efforts in place, tourism growth is imminent for the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan in the coming year.