With flight schedules resuming normal service and people eager more than ever before to travel, we are expecting record breaking numbers of travellers in 2023/24 to Asia, and in particular the Southeast region.
Asia is now firmly in demand and charging back to full activity. According to economic data from the World Travel & Tourism Council, revenue from inbound travel is expected to soar in the East and Southeast Asia region by at least 71% this year, with further growth spurts predicted for 2023 and 2024.
GlobalData.com estimates the number of visitors to ASEAN nations, which stood at 129 million in 2018, then plunged during the pandemic, will climb back to 155.4 million by the end of this year.
“Of course, we’re delighted with the turnround, not just for Destination Asia, but for all our partners, friends and colleagues in the business who have had to battle their way through some unprecedented challenges. The stunning natural landscapes of Asia from its national parks to beaches, jungle interiors and rugged mountains have been sorely missed and are looking better now than ever before,” comments David Andrews, Destination Asia’s Group Marketing & Communications Director.
Ho Chi Minh City is certainly catching the travel industry’s eye, having scooped three major awards in October, for Asia’s Best MICE Destination – an accolade it has won for three years running – Asia’s Leading Business Travel Destination and Asia’s Leading City Tourist Board. Patrick Chase, Destination Asia Vietnam general manager, remarks, “Now is the time to visit headline destinations like Hoi An as they are still relatively quiet. We are also exploring several other stunning lesser-known regions that are easier than ever to access without being overrun.”
Outside the endless attractions of HCMC and the capital Hanoi, Chase and his team recommend trips to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and eco tours by sampan on the scenic and historic Tam Giang Lagoon. Or, for more hands-on experiences, there’s a secret cocktail-making session in the idyllic resort of Hoi An, and a half day trip to Hoa Binh, where native Muong villagers demonstrate the fascinating 800-year-old art of making Zo paper.
With many of the regional Asian airlines returning to full schedules, it’s just a short flight by air (or a leisurely boat cruise) from Vietnam to neighbouring Cambodia and Laos. In Cambodia, visitors can opt for countryside cycling in Battambang, luxurious glamping at the Banteay Chhmar Temple, or a fascinating discovery of how locals in Kampot make salt and pepper, which are acknowledged as the best tasting in the world.
In Laos, options for exploring off-the-beaten track locations include a five-day trip to the northern hinterland, taking in the extraordinary Plain of Jars which comprises acres of half-buried stone jars, thought to be 2,000 years old and whose origins remain a mystery. There’s also an excursion around legendary Luang Prabang and its surrounds, or a stay at The Nests, so-called because of their unusual but amazingly cosy accommodation in bamboo bubbles high up in the trees. Perched up in the Nests, guests may be lucky enough to see a range of unusual or endangered animals coming out at night.
Each of our teams across the Destination Asia portfolio of countries are ready and on-hand to plan your next journey with you. Get in touch now to discover how we can deliver a truly exceptional experience.
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