ITB 2018

South East Asia smiles again

Everything points to 2018 being another bumper year for the region.

March 09, 2018
All smiles in Malaysia and other South East Asian destinations
Photo: fvw

Record-breaking performances by key destinations in South East Asia are fuelling expectations of further growth in 2018, but also awareness of a risk of overtourism.

Visitors to Thailand reached an unprecedented 35 million last year, leading tourism minister Weerasak Kowsurat to say at ITB that he is taking preventive action now. “It’s not about how many tourists or how much money they bring,” he said. “We want to see a bigger smile from hosts and guests.”

Singapore, meanwhile, notched up a healthy increase in German arrivals, prompted by a rise in cruise visitors, although as many as 40 per cent of last year’s 342,000 travellers were on business or stopovers. However, with extra flights boosting air capacity by 27 per cent, officials expect another good year.

Indonesia is similarly upbeat, targeting a rise in German travellers from 264,000 to 304,000.

Malaysia is on boosting visitor figures this year by restoring direct flights from Germany, and again in 2019 when it will be the ITB partner country. “We think the new flights will also open doors for us to eastern Europe,” said Rosnah Mustafah, deputy director of the Malaysia Tourism Promotions Board.

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