• South-East Asia’s most tourism-friendly destinations

    Ramesh Tiwari
    January 8, 2018
    South-East Asia’s most tourism-friendly destinations

    By Tiffany Misrahi —-

    With over 104 million international arrivals in 2015 and an average growth of 8%, South-East Asia’s travel and tourism industry has incredible potential to help generate growth, create jobs and enable regional development.But which countries are best positioned to benefit most from the industry? You might not be surprised to find out that beautiful natural sceneries like Halong Bay and iconic cultural landmarks like Angkor Wat aren’t the only factors that determine whether a destination is competitive.

    Every year, we release the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which ranks countries based on a range of policies in place to enable the sustainable development of the sector. The report looks at factors such as how easy it is to do business in a country, specific travel and tourism policies, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources.

    So which are the most competitive countries in South-East Asia? And more importantly, what do they all have in common?

    The majority of nations in the region rely on rich natural resources and good prices to appeal to tourists. They also tend to be internationally open, through their visa policies. Governments in the region realize the strategic role tourism plays in creating jobs and support the sector proactively. Still, a large infrastructure (air, road, tourism service infrastructure) and ICT readiness gap remains between the most advanced in the sub-region, especially Singapore and to a lesser extent Malaysia and Thailand versus the rest. At the same time, a handful of countries in the area continue to have declining security perceptions resulting from political developments in recent years, leaving tourists with a sense of unpredictability.

    While the best-performing countries have many features in common, they each have their own specificities that set them apart.

    Looking at the results, you’ll see that Singapore leads the way, ranking 13th globally. It excels in 8 of the 14 pillars thanks to its strong business environment (2nd), safe and secure environment (6th), capable human resources (5th) and world-class air transport infrastructure (6th). Singapore is also the most open economy in the world, which is supported by extremely strong travel and tourism policies (2nd).

    To continue enhancing its competitiveness, Singapore, should focus on enhancing its limited digital marketing and online presence to increase interest in digital demand on both natural and cultural resources associated with Singapore.

    Malaysia took the second regional spot, ranking 26th globally. While it dropped one position in the rankings, Malaysia effectively improved its performance in absolute terms, rising from 4.41 in 2015 to 4.50 in the current edition of the report. The country continues to be an attractive destination thanks to its price competitiveness, its strong air connectivity and its beautiful natural resources. Malaysia has made big improvements in its ICT readiness (up 15 positions), its tourism service infrastructure (up 22 positions) and in opening up to the world (up 11 positions).

    To further enhance its competitiveness, the government could further prioritize the travel and tourism industry (55th) and invest in the development of its cultural resources and business travel, while addressing environmental sustainability (123rd) and preserving its beautiful natural environment.

    Vietnam made significant progress, rising eight places in the global rankings to reach 67th position. The country, which is already endowed with exceptional natural and cultural resources, has significantly benefited from improvements to its human resources and labour market. Vietnam has also made exceptional improvement to its ICT capacity and usage (up 17 positions).

    Still, Vietnam could better seize the momentum by focusing more on its environmental sustainability policies. The lax regulations, high levels of emissions, deforestation and limited water treatment are depleting the environment and should be addressed, perhaps at a multilateral level, to build the foundation for a more sustainable development of the region.  ( Source : World Economic Forum )

    Photo : A beautiful scenery of Vietnam  – WEF

    Jan. 9, 2018

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
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      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
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      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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