Vital tourism statistics and information on 17 Asian ... - TTG Asia

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Vital tourism statistics and information on 17 Asian ... - TTG Asia

PPS 1789/06/2013(022997)2012/2013ong>Vitalong> ong>tourismong> ong>statisticsong>ong>andong> ong>informationong> on 17Asian countriesPRODUCED BY


Bhutan 5Brunei 9Cambodia 12China 14Hong Kong 16India 18Indonesia 20Laos 22Macau 24Malaysia 26Maldives 28Myanmar 30Philippines 32Singapore 34Sri Lanka 37Thailong>andong> 39Vietnam 42


PPS 1789/06/2013(022997)2 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013TTG Travel Trade Publishing is a business groupof TTG Asia Media2012/2013PRODUCED BYong>Vitalong> ong>tourismong> ong>statisticsong>ong>andong> ong>informationong> on 17Asian countriesEDITORIALKaren Yue Group Editor (karen.yue@ttgasia.com)Gracia Chiang Deputy Group Editor (gracia.chiang@ttgasia.com)Brian Higgs Editor, TTG Asia Online (brian.higgs@ttgasia.com)Linda Haden Senior Reporter (linda.haden@ttgasia.com)Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, Hannah Koh Sub Editors(liang.xinyi@ttgasia.com, hannah.koh@ttgasia.com)Mimi Hudoyo Editor, Indonesia (idmfasia@cbn.net.id)S Puvaneswary Editor, Malaysia/Brunei (puvanes@ttgasia.com)Redmond Sia, Tan Kok Yong Creative DesignersLina Tan Editorial AssistantFive ong>andong> countingWelcome to the 2012/2013 edition of Asian Tourism Guide (ATG).I can’t believe this is the fifth year we’re producing the guide ong>andong> myfirst order of business is to thank you, our readers ong>andong> our advertisers,for supporting this publication, which shows that you see real value init.I would also like to thank our partner in producing ATG, DiethelmTravel Group, particularly former CEO John Watson ong>andong> his successor,Richard Brouwer, for conceptualising this guide together with RainiHamdi, our senior editor, five years ago.Five years is a good time to reassess how we can further strengthenATG to make it more useful to our readers. We have started work onthis ong>andong> early responses from readers tell us to make the guide hong>andong>ierby shrinking it down to a smaller, more compact size. We’ll look intothat of course, ong>andong> welcome more voices from you as we revamp theguide for next year.So this is an open call for feedback.Send your comments, opinions ong>andong> ideas, your ‘ATG Feedback’, tottgnewsdesk@ttgasia.com.In the meantime, the fifth edition of ATG is bursting at the seamswith all the key ong>tourismong> ong>statisticsong> of 17 Asian destinations. We’ve alsointroduced a new section called Diethelm’s Hot Pick – an insider’srecommendation from the local Diethelm office. It features a unique,must-do experience in the destination, be it gourmet, family, shoppingor adventure, to satisfy clients’ increasing demong>andong> for more experientialtravel.Enjoy the fifth edition of ATG.Darren NgManaging directorTTG Asia MediaCONTRIB UTORSSim Kok Chwee, Timothy France,Rosa Ocampo, Prudence Lui, Hong Xu, Jon Dillingham,Rahul Khanna, Rohit Kaul ong>andong> Feizal SamathSALES & MARKETINGMichael Chow Group Publisher (michael.chow@ttgasia.com)Katherine Ng Associate Publisher (katherine.ng@ttgasia.com)Marisa Chen Senior Business Manager (marisa.chen@hk.china.com)Karen Cheung Business Manager (karen.cheung@hk.china.com)Cheryl Tan Corporate Marketing Manager (cheryl.tan@ttgasia.com)Tan Ee Hiang Marketing Executive (tan.ee.hiang@ttgasia.com)Cheryl Lim Advertisement Administration Manager (cheryl.lim@ttgasia.com)PUB LISHING S E RVICESTony Yeo Division Manager (tony.yeo@ttgasia.com)Nancy Lee Desktop Publishing Executive (nancy.lee@ttgasia.com)Carol Wong Senior Circulation Executive (carol.wong@ttgasia.com)TTG ASIA ME DIADarren Ng Managing Director (darren.ng@ttgasia.com)Raini Hamdi Senior Editor (raini.hamdi@ttgasia.com)OFFI CESSINGAPORE 1 Science Park Road#04-07 The Capricorn, Singapore Science Park II, Singapore 117528Tel: (65) 6395-7575 Fax: (65) 6536-0896contact@ttgasia.com; www.ttgasia.comHONG KONG 11/F ING Tower, 308-320 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong KongTel: (852) 2237-7252 Fax: (852) 2806-0646ADVE RTISEMENT R EPR ESENTATIVE SAustraliaZorka SipkovaPublisher’s InternationaléLevel 10, 131 York StreetSydney, NSWAUS 2000Tel: (61-2) 8298-9318 Fax: (61-2) 9252-2022Email: Zorka.Sipkova@pubintl.com.auGermanyWolfgang JaegerIMV Internationale Medien Vermarktung GmbHHauptstrasse 29, 82319 StarnbergGermanyTel: (49-8151) 550-8959 Fax: (49-8151)550-9180Email: w.jaeger@imv-media.comIndonesiaSarah G. HutabaratMedia Mong>andong>iriJl. Dr. Saharjo No. 149/iJakarta 12860IndonesiaTel: (62-21) 835-5510 Fax: (62-21) 829-3563Email: sarah@mediamong>andong>iri.co.idIndiaMeena Chong>andong>/Mohit Chong>andong>Adcom International608, Deep Shikha, Rajendra PlaceNew Delhi 110 008, IndiaTel: (91-11) 2576-7014 Fax: (91-11) 2574-2433Email: adcomint@gmail.comItalyFederica BoniInt’l Sales Dpt, TTG Italia S.p.ARimini Fiera GroupVia A. Nota, 6-10122, Torino, ItalyTel: (39-011) 439-9422 Fax: (39-011) 412-1793Email: boni@ttgitalia.comJapanYoshihiro IgusaPacific Business Inc.Akutagawa Bldg., 7-7 Nihonbashi KabutochoChuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0026JapanTel: (81-3) 3661-6138 Fax: (81-3) 3661-6139Email: igusa-pbi@gol.comKoreaSS Song/BJ KimFirst Media Services Corp.Suite 1235, Royal Building 5, Danju-dongJongno-ku, Seoul, KoreaTel: (82-2) 738-3591/2 Fax: (82-2) 738-7970Email: fmsc@unitel.co.krMalaysiaGerald SawRaffles International Media Sdn BhdNo. 1, Jalan BM 1/6 Taman Bukit Mayang Emas47301 Petaling Jaya Selangor, MalaysiaTel: (6) 019-229-6484 Fax: (60-3) 7886-2372Email: geraldsaw_raffles@yahoo.comThe PhilippinesEduardo S. Bassig63 Labo Street, Sta. Mesa HeightsQuezon City, The PhilippinesTel: (63-2) 448-5848Email: ed_bassig@yahoo.comSpain (Barcelona)Carlos GarciaLuis Andrade Publicidad Internacional S.L.Morales, 21 2˚G, 08029 Barcelona, SpainTel: (34-93) 363-5750 Fax: (34-93) 410-0275Email: cgarcia@luisong>andong>rade.comSpain (Madrid)Luis AndradeLuis Andrade Publicidad InternacionalPlaza Descubridor Diego de Ordás1, Escalera 2, 2-D, 28003 Madrid, SpainTel: (34-91) 441-6266 Fax: (34-91) 441-6549Email: long>andong>rade@luisong>andong>rade.comSri LankaVijitha Yapa/Albadur CaderVijitha Yapa AssociatesInternational Advertising DivisionNo. 3, De Vos Avenue, Colombo 4Sri LankaTel: (94-11) 255-6600 Fax: (94-11) 259-4717Email: vyadvt@gmail.comTaiwanVirginia Lee/ Shirley Shen/ Kitty LuhSpacemark Media Services2nd Floor No. 22-18, Chang An East Road,Section 1Taipei 10442, TaiwanTel: (886-2) 2522-2282 Fax: (886-2) 2522-2281Email: smedia@ms5.hinet.netThailong>andong>Chower Narula/Anchana NararidhWorld Media Co. LtdSuite 40, 9th Floor, RS Tower121 Rachadapisek Road,Dindaeng, Bangkok 10400Thailong>andong>Tel: (66-2) 641-2693-6 Fax: (66-2) 641-2697Email: chower@worldmedia.co.thanchana@worldmedia.co.thUSADebbie Joseph AndersonDestination Marketing Hawaii3555 Harding Avenue, Suite 2CHonolulu, HI 96816, USATel: (1-808) 739-2200 Fax: (1-808) 739-2201E debbieong>andong>erson@dmhawaii.comUK & EuropeSheryl MakinTTG MediaUBM Information Ltd3rd Floor, Ludgate House, 245 Blackfriars Road,London SE1 9UY, Englong>andong>, UKTel: (44-20) 7921 8023 Fax: (44-20) 7921 8034Email: Smakin@ttgdigital.comAsian Tourism Guide 2012/2013 is published by TTG Travel Trade Publishing, a businessgroup of TTG Asia Media Pte Ltd. It is mailed free on written request to readers who meetpredetermined criteria. Paid subscriptions are available to those who do not meet the criteria.MICA (P) 091/02/2012 • PPS 1789/06/2013 (022997)Printed by Times Printers Pte Ltd


PPS 1789/06/2013(022997)4 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Corporate Head OfficeKian Gwan II Bldg., 12/F140/1 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailong>andong>Tel (66-2) 256-0220 Fax (66-2) 251-5305E-mail: info@diethelmtravel.com2012/2013PRODUCED BYong>Vitalong> ong>tourismong> ong>statisticsong>ong>andong> ong>informationong> on 17Asian countriesRichard R. Brouwer | Chief Executive Officer | richard.b@diethelmtravel.comMaarten Groeneveld | Chief Operating Officer | maarten.g@diethelmtravel.comPatama Narintarangkool | Group Managing Director, Finance |patama.n@diethelmtravel.comMartyn Hedges | Head, Business Development | martyn.h@diethelmtravel.comDavid Gostling | Advisor Finance/Special Projects | david.g@diethelmtravel.comCorporate Sales OfficeKian Gwan II Bldg., 14/F140/1 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailong>andong>Tel (66-2) 660-7024 Fax (66-2) 660-7027Insider tips in your hong>andong>Dear travel trade partners,We, at Diethelm Travel Group, are pleased to be associated once againwith TTG Asia’s prestigious Asian Tourism Guide.This, the fifth edition, sees the inclusion of Diethelm’s Hot Pick –based on the themes Gourmet, Shopping ong>andong> Children, these are aselection of our recommendations for destination must-do’s.Having more than 55 years of experience in this varied ong>andong> dynamicregion has taught us the value of harnessing the right facts ong>andong>ong>informationong> ong>andong>, through this well-received guide, we continue toprovide our knowledge as a useful aid ong>andong> reference tool for planningitineraries, events ong>andong> meetings throughout Asia.With the opening of Diethelm Travel Hong Kong this year, ourrespected ong>andong> trusted inbound ong>tourismong> brong>andong> continues to expong>andong>across the region. We now operate in 13 countries, with additionaloffices anticipated in 2013/2014.Asia continues to attract significant visitor numbers, year over year,offering all a wonderful diversity of cultures, cuisines ong>andong> memorablejourneys.Nowhere is there a better example of this than Myanmar, whererecent changes in the political long>andong>scape have released a strong, pentupdemong>andong> for ong>tourismong> in the area. Having a Diethelm Travel presencethere since 1996 has positioned us well to use our local knowledge ong>andong>experience to provide the highest levels of service, in a challengingenvironment, to the many travellers now visiting this magical ong>andong>culturally rich country.Our knowledge of Asia has helped us to better serve our partners ong>andong>customers ong>andong>, with the Asian Tourism Guide now well established, wecontinue to do so through what has become an indispensible resourcefor planning travel ong>andong> touring in the region.Sam Vincent | Key Account Director | sam.v@diethelmtravel.comRafael Domingo | Key Account Director | rafael.d@diethelmtravel.comVictor Mogilev | Market Manager - Russia & CIS | victor.m@diethelmtravel.comRyan Carbarns | Key Account Manager | ryan.c@diethelmtravel.comChavaroon Satarujawongse | Sales Manager | chavaroon.s@diethelmtravel.comBenjawan Phasuniramol | Sales Coordinator | benjawan.p@diethelmtravel.comDiethelm Travel Country OfficesUgen PenjorDIETHELM TRAVEL BHUTANYarkay Complex, P.O. Box 107Norzin Lam, ThimphuBhutanTel (975-2) 336-611 Fax (975-2) 323-894E-mail: ugen.p@bt.diethelmtravel.comPierre JungoDIETHELM TRAVEL CAMBODIANo. 65, Street 240P.O. Box 99, Phnom PenhCambodiaTel (855-23) 219-151 Fax (855-23) 219-150E-mail: pierre.j@kh.diethelmtravel.comJulia ShiDIETHELM TRAVEL CHINARoom 2106, Building III, Soho Xiong>andong>ai Chen88# Jianguo Street, Beijing 10022ChinaTel (86-10) 8580-5403 Fax (86-10) 8580-5363E-mail: julia.s@cn.diethelmtravel.comRichard WillisDIETHELM TRAVEL HONG KONGUnit A-C, 12th Floor, 8 Hart Avenue Tsimshatsui, KowloonHong KongTel (852) 2739-3822 Fax (852) 2739-3299E-mail: richard.w@hk.diethelmtravel.comPuneet KashyapDIETHELM TRAVEL INDIAAB-1, 2nd Floor, Community CentreSafdarjung Enclave, New Delhi – 110029IndiaTel (91-11) 4050-3355 Fax (91-11) 4050-0769E-mail: puneet.k@in.diethelmtravel.comNataly WanhoffDIETHELM TRAVEL LAOSP.O. Box 2657, Setthathirath RoadNamphu Square, VientianeLaosTel (856-21) 215-920 Fax (856-21) 217-151E-mail: nataly.w@la.diethelmtravel.comManfred KurzDIETHELM TRAVEL MALAYSIABox #18, Wisma Selangor Dredging, 5th FloorWest Block, 142-C, Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala LumpurMalaysiaTel (60-3) 2715-7878 Fax (60-3) 2161-6058E-mail: manfred.k@my.diethelmtravel.comHarith PereraDIETHELM TRAVEL MALDIVES4th Floor, Henvery Megma Sikka GoaliMaleMaldivesTel (960) 330-9762 Fax (960) 330-8642E-mail: harith.p@mv.diethelmtravel.comLilli SaxerDIETHELM TRAVEL MYANMAR412, Merchant Street (Corner of 45th Street)Botathaung Township, YangonMyanmarTel (95-1) 861-0458 Fax (95-1) 861-0457E-mail: lilli.s@mm.diethelmtravel.comEric YapDIETHELM TRAVEL SINGAPORE7 Jalan Kilang #07-01 A, 159407SingaporeTel (65) 6278-7223 Fax (65) 6278-6277E-mail: eric.y@sg.diethelmtravel.comHarith PereraDIETHELM TRAVEL SRI LANKALevel 06, Hemas House75, Braybrooke Place, Colombo 2Sri LankaTel (94-11) 231-3131 Fax (94-11) 230-0003E-mail: harith.p@lk.diethelmtravel.comHans van den BornDIETHELM TRAVEL THAILANDKian Gwan II Bldg., 14/F140/1 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330Thailong>andong>Tel (66-2) 660-7000 Fax (66-2) 660-7027E-mail: hans.b@th.diethelmtravel.comRichard R. BrouwerCEODiethelm Travel GroupMartin CookDIETHELM TRAVEL VIETNAMSuite 1701, HCO Bldg.44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street, HanoiVietnamTel (84-4) 3934-4844 Fax (84-4) 3934-4850E-mail: martin.c@vn.diethelmtravel.com


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 5BhutanGeneral overviewOfficial name Kingdom of BhutanCapital ThimphuPopulation 716,896Total area 38,394km 2Currency NgultrumOfficial language Dzongkha; English iswidely spokenBhutan, long>andong>-locked ong>andong> tightly embraced by Asia’s two most populousnations – India ong>andong> China – is probably one of the most desirable destinationsfor many well-travelled individuals. A single-minded focus on“high value, low impact” ong>tourismong> has ensured that Bhutan’s cultural, historicong>andong> natural heritage are not eroded significantly.Steering clear of mass ong>tourismong>, the Bhutanese authorities have peggeda daily “tariff” of US$250 ong>andong> US$200 during the high ong>andong> off-peak travelseason respectively, creating an artificial demong>andong> cap on travel. Havingonly one airline to serve the destination – Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines– also arrests any possible surge in inbound flow.Reports in November 2012 indicated that Air India may be looking toserve Bhutan’s Paro from Indian cities in the future, ong>andong> for a start it hassigned a code-share ong>andong> interline agreement with Drukair.ClimateAverage temperature -16°C to 13°CAverage rainfall 2.2mm to 106.2mmBest time to visitThe autumn months from September-November are themost popular with visitors as clear skies ong>andong> cool weatherprevail. Trekkers are attracted to the ideal conditions inthe mountains ong>andong> this continues into February, whenlow-altitude trekkers ong>andong> bird-watchers gather in Bhutan.However, Bhutan is just as attractive during the othermonths. With low-hanging clouds ong>andong> some precipitation,the mountains ong>andong> deep valleys take on a completelydifferent ong>andong> perhaps more mystical ambience.Throughout the year, temple festivals are staged ong>andong>visitors are able to get up close to these spectacular performances.The peak March-May period is also a goodtime to visit as it coincides with several festivals.BHUTAN•olkataINDIAangon MYANMAR• THAILANDBangkok •• ColomoCHINAVisitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>International arrivals in Bhutan grew 56.7 per cent in2011, achieving an all-time high of 65,756 visitors, excluding35,077 regional visitors (from India, Bangladeshong>andong> the Maldives) who had arrived by road. Of these, 57.4per cent were international leisure tourists, 25.6 per centwere high-end visitors from India, Bangladesh ong>andong> theMaldives who had arrived by air, ong>andong> 15.8 per cent wereMICE visitors.2011’s stellar ong>tourismong> performance was largely drivenby excellent growth in visitors from Thailong>andong> (155.4 percent), China (93.8 per cent), Singapore (71.9 per cent)ong>andong> the UK (57.7 per cent). Other major markets suchas Canada, Australia, Japan ong>andong> the US achieved doubledigitgrowth.Between January ong>andong> October 2012, Bhutan welcomed36,133 international visitors, while 32,662 highendregional visitors swept in between January ong>andong> July,most of whom had arrived by air.With the peak season still ahead ong>andong> additional airservices by Drukair (a second daily Paro-Bangkok serviceong>andong> a twice-weekly Paro-Singapore service), the TourismCouncil of Bhutan’s (TCB) target of 100,000 internationalarrivals in 2012 is within reach.Japanese arrivals are expected to double in 2012 as aresult of a visit by the Bhutanese king ong>andong> queen to Japanin 2011. Between January ong>andong> July 2012, the number ofJapanese visitors is almost equal to that for the whole of2011.Top 10 source markets 2012 (January to October)CountriesArrivalsJapan 6,215USA 4,862China 3,088Thailong>andong> 2,742Germany 2,421UK 2,001Australia 1,601France 1,462Singapore 1,112Malaysia 880Source: Tourism Council of BhutanBumthangTrashi•ParoYangtse• Thimphu •Haa • • angdue Phodrang•PhuentsholingNTO budgetFor 2012, the TCB has a marketing budget of Nu 34.8million (US$670,000) ong>andong> this is projected to increase toNu 48.9 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.Hotel ong>statisticsong>According to TCB, Bhutan has 212 five-star rooms, 196four-star rooms ong>andong> 1,149 three-star rooms in 2012.With its “high-value, low-impact” marketing focus,Bhutan has been very successful in attracting internationalhotel companies such as Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces,Como Hotels ong>andong> Resorts, ong>andong> Aman Resorts.In September 2011, TCB announced that 59 proposalswere received in response to its call (made in December2010) to build high-end hotels around the kingdom, especiallyin the eastern ong>andong> southern regions. These wouldbe hotels of three-star rating or better. TCB is simultaneouslyencouraging 54 two-star ong>andong> 19 one-star hotelsto upgrade their properties to three-star stong>andong>ard. Meanwhile,Bhutanese company – Druk Holding ong>andong> Investment(DHI) – is committed to developing a wellnessresort costing US$35 million ong>andong> it has already lined upan international brong>andong> to operate ong>andong> manage the resort.DHI is partnering Singapore-based Bhutan InvestmentCorporation which is committing funds to the wellnessresort ong>andong> which will also source for investors in the Singaporemarket for future projects by DHI in the ong>tourismong>ong>andong> hospitality industry.The Bhutanese government, together with TCB officials,have identified households in Trashiyangtse to offerfarmstay for visitors who are keen to experience rural living.Some households were given cash grants to re-modeltheir homes. Some of these facilities are already being offeredto visitors.New hotels in 2012• Uma by COMO, Punakha, nine valley view roomsong>andong> two villas• Bhutan Residence, 21 rooms ong>andong> four serviced apartmentsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureDrukair is planning a third weekly service to Singaporein 2013 ong>andong> a twice-weekly Paro-Mumbai service inMarch 2013.Zhemgang District has been named the crown jewel ofBhutan’s protected nature parks by bird-watchers fromaround the world. A bird-watching camp is being developedong>andong> will be completed in 2013.Hot-stone bathing is Bhutan’s equivalent to the Japaneseonsen. Round hot stones from river beds are bakedin log fires ong>andong> dropped into a chamber connected to awooden bath. Bathers are believed to derive relief for jointpains, rheumatism ong>andong> backaches. A medicinal hot-stonebath is being developed in Monggar in 2013. TCB ong>andong>the Ministry of Health are currently working to establishthe framework ong>andong> guidelines for Sowarigpa (traditionalmedicine) spa ong>andong> wellness services. The country’s Lingshiregion produces 94 traditional medicines ong>andong> theministry is of the opinion that it could be sustainablyharvested.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Punakha Dromche (February 15-19)Punakha Tshechu (February 20-22)Chorten Kora (February 25 to March 11)Gomkora (March 20-22)Paro Tshechu (March 23-27)Chukha Yakchoe (March 25-27)Ura Yakchoe (April 21-25)Nimalung Tshechu (June 16-18)Kurjey Tshechu (June 18)Thimphu Drupchen (September 9-13)Wangdi Tshechu (September 12-14)Gangtey Tshechu (September 12-14)Tamshingphala Choepa (September 13-15)Thimphu Tshechu (September 14-16)Tangbi Mani (September 18-20)Jambay Lhakhang Drup* (October 18-22)Prakhar Tshechu (October 19-22)Pema Gatshel Tshechu (November 9-12)Black Necked Crane Festival (November 11)Mongar Tshechu (November 9-12)Trashigang Tshechu (November 10-13)Nalakhang Tshechu (November 17-19)Source: Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators. As most festivals areheld in conjunction with the moon phase, dates may change ong>andong> it is


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8 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Thimphu Dzong, also known Trashichodzong, is the seat of the local governmentprudent to check ith Diethelm Trael at the time of ooking.The amay hakhang Drup festial features a dance item performedy naked men ong>andong> photography is not permitted.Essentials in the cityFood Be sure to sink your teeth into momo kopi, steamdumplings filled with finely-chopped cabbage ong>andong> onions,cheese ong>andong> butter.Tipping policy Although tour prices are all inclusive,the going rate for tipping tour guides ong>andong> drivers is US$5per person per day. Tipping is seldom expected in otherestablishments, some of which already impose a servicecharge which serves as a tipping pool for all employees.Shopping Paro’s Main Street features shops on bothsides, all crammed with brasswares, silk ong>andong> cottonscarves, incense sticks, silver filigree jewellery, gho (Bhutanesenational dress for men) which can be matchedwith elaborately embroidered boots, kira (wrap-aroundsarong worn by Bhutanese women) ong>andong> prayer flags thatone could string across any open space to seek blessingfor loved ones ong>andong> friends.How to maximise two hours of free time Drive out ofthe city to the Zhiwa Ling Hotel ong>andong> feast your eyes onthe most beautifully carved ong>andong> decorated wood panelsthroughout the property. Many have come to regard thehotel as the de-facto National Museum ong>andong> for a goodreason. If richly decorated ong>andong> embellished Bhutanesehouses – even those belonging to the most ordinary villagers– are a feast for the eyes, then the Zhiwa Ling Hotel’sornate facade ong>andong> intricately carved wood panels area banquet.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Drive up to Paro Dzong(also known as Ringpung Dzong), which served in ancienttimes as a fortress ong>andong> whose watch tower, Ta Dzong,later became the National Museum. The National Museumis, however, currently closed after suffering damageduring an earthquake in recent years.Within Paro Dzong’s courtyard are administrativeoffices with the most ornate ong>andong> beautifully decoratedfacades. The living quarters for monks ensure an inconstantmovement of monks ong>andong> novice monks across thecourtyard.The most precious possession within the dzong is theThongdrel, a 20x20m thanka that survived the fire that destroyedthe original dzong in 1907. The Thongdrel is onlyon show once a year during the Paro Tsechu celebrations.Impressive lunch for clients At lunchtime, Bhukari atthe Uma by COMO, Paro serves a spread of internationalcomfort food. Grilled ocean trouts, Indian sets, Bhutanesesets ong>andong> other western options beckon. Bhukari,which means fireplace in Bhutanese speak, takes on acircular pavilion layout with a fireplace as its centrepiece.It affords a sprawling view of the surrounding lush long>andong>scape.As Bhukari’s chef hails from Indonesia, diners areinvited to feast on authentic mee-goreng, a fried noodledish that features freshly pulled noodles.Lunch on your own If one craves for South-east Asiancuisine while in Bhutan, there is Metta Resort ong>andong> Spa tothe rescue.The hotel’s owner, Sharine TTobgay, a Malaysian, isable to whip up bak kut teh (a rich, herbal soup of porkribs), nasi-lemak (coconut milk-favoured rice), bee-hoongoreng (fried vermicelli) ong>andong> Penang-style rendang chicken(thick chicken curry), subjected to pre-arrangementong>andong> availability of the freshest ingredients.TTobgay would even sit down for an animated chatwith diners when time permits. Visit www.bhutanmetta.com.bt for more ong>informationong>.Diethelm Travel GroupDIETHELM’SHOT PICKA real taste of Bhutan atThe BhutaneseThe Bhutanese is an authentic Bhutanese restaurantset in the heart of Thimphu city in Yarkay Complex,hich oasts a great ie of the clock toer hereall entertainment shows are held.Every dish served at The Bhutanese is preparedto order from fresh, high quality local ingredients.Must-eats include the ema datshi, a chilli ong>andong> cheesedish which is the country’s national food; the noshanaezam, a dish of minced eef ong>andong> the kewa, a dishof aked potato.For a complete local dining experience, pair thesedishes with the Bhutanese red rice ong>andong> traditionaluckheat puta.The restaurant is committed to detail as can eseen through its excellent décor ong>andong> service – foodis served in traditional “Tupperware”, hong>andong>wovencontainers called angchung.Diners ill also e serenaded y traditional localartists playing original Dzongkha tunes. This fits inwell with the chorten a shrine uilt inside the restaurantcreating a ery peaceful amience.Late nights Club Insomnia Paro is one of few placeswhere Bhutanese cast aside their traditional gho ong>andong> kira,ong>andong> turn up in funky tees ong>andong> jeans. After a few bottlesof Druk 11000 beer, loud music takes over ong>andong> the dancefloor quickly becomes the most densely populated spotin all of Bhutan. And yes, even this little happy kingdomis not immune to the riveting galloping moves of SouthKorean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style.Electricity 230 volts, AC/50 Hz, two-pin round blade orthree-pin round or flat blade plugs.Visa requirementsOther than Indians, Bangladeshis ong>andong> Maldivian nationals,all visitors to Bhutan require a visa.All visas are issued from Thimphu, ong>andong> only to touristswho are booked with a local licensed tour operator,directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications fortourist visas are submitted by the tour operator.Visa clearance from Thimphu must be obtained beforearrival in Bhutan, ong>andong> the process takes at least 10 days.It is important to note that air tickets to Bhutan cannotbe purchased without visa clearance.At the point of entry ong>andong> following a payment ofUS$20, the visa will be stamped in the traveller’s passport.Two passport-sized photos will also be required.Visas are issued for a 15-day period. Extensions can beobtained in Thimphu at a cost of Nu510 (approximatelyUS$10).Important contactsNTOTourism Council of Bhutan overseas ong>tourismong> developmentin the kingdom ong>andong> performs the following corefunctions:• Formulate ong>andong> implement a national ong>tourismong> policy ong>andong>strategy• Develop, implement ong>andong> monitor guidelines to ensuresustainability of ong>tourismong> activities• Ensure safety, encourage investments in ong>tourismong>, allocatenational resources to support ong>tourismong> as an priorityindustry ong>andong> co-ordinate with ong>tourismong> stakeholders• Marketing ong>andong> promotional activities in internationalmarkets• Develop ong>tourismong> product ong>andong> services ong>andong> human resourcesPriority markets for the ong>tourismong> bureau are the US, theUK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlong>andong>s, Russia, China,Japan, South Korea, Thailong>andong>, Malaysia, Singaporeong>andong> Australia, along with the high-end Indian market.www.ong>tourismong>.gov.btTravel trade associationsAssociation of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO)www.abto.org.btCompiled by Sim Kok ChweeAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 9BruneiGeneral overviewOfficial name Brunei DarussalamCapital Bong>andong>ar Seri BegawanPopulation 408,786Total area 5,765km 2Currency Brunei dollarOfficial language Malay, though Englishis widely spokenBrunei is expected to welcome 269,989 tourists by the end of 2012, ong>andong>grow that figure to 300,936 in 2013.According to Brunei Tourism, eight out of 10 top source markets forthe destination in the first four months of 2012 are in Asia.Malaysia topped the chart with 18,843 tourist arrivals between Januaryong>andong> April. While an exact year-on-year comparison with 2011 is notavailable, NTO data revealed that arrivals from Malaysia in 1Q2011 hadnumbered 22,044.For the same period in 2012, China claimed second spot, contributing10,909 footfalls to Brunei’s total arrivals. In 1Q2011, there were 12,238Chinese travellers to Brunei.Meanwhile, in terms of ong>tourismong> infrastructure, no new hotels are slatedto open in Brunei in 2013.ClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity23˚C to 34˚C3,200mm98 per centBest time to visitBrunei is open to international visitors all year round.There is no seasonality in room rates ong>andong> rooms areeasy to secure at any time of the year, except during ChineseNew Year. During this festive period, travellers areadvised to book accommodation in advance.Visitor arrival ong>statisticsong>While half of Brunei’s top 10 ong>tourismong> source marketsare ASEAN nations, overall arrivals from this region haddipped 9.5 per cent in 1Q2012 over the same period in2011. Nonetheless, the ASEAN bloc still accounts for thelion’s share of tourist arrivals to Brunei.Total tourist arrivals2010 214,290, +36.1 per cent2011 242,061, +13 per cent2012 (Target) 269,989, +11.5 per centAverage length of stay for top 10 marketsThree daysBRUNEIBong>andong>ar Seri Begaan •MALAYSIAINDONESIAContinued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2012 (January to April)Countries 2012China 10,909Indonesia 6,703Philippines 6,495Singapore 4,961UK/ Irelong>andong> 4,377Australia 4,308North America 2,128Thailong>andong> 1,393Hong Kong 759Source: Brunei TourismBong>andong>ar SeriBegawanSarawak,MalaysiaSabah,MalaysiaNTO targetBrunei Tourism is targeting 300,936 arrivals in 2013.Hotel ong>statisticsong>Most hotels in Brunei had maintained their contractualrates in 2012, ong>andong> a majority did not impose peak seasonsurcharges. Published rates are also consistent in mosthotels throughout the year.hotels in Brunei. It opened in March 2011. The BruneiHotel in Bong>andong>ar Seri Begawan reopened a month earlier,after closing its doors for a massive renovation.There were no new hotel openings in 2012, ong>andong> nonehave been sceduled for 2013.Average occupancy rate2011 2012Hotels across Bong>andong>ar Seri Begawan 55% 55%Four-star hotels in Bong>andong>ar Seri Begawan 50% 50%Five-star hotels in Bong>andong>ar Seri Begawan 45% 50%Source: Various trade sourcesAverage room rate (ARR)2011 2012Five-star hotels B$195 B$250Four-star hotels B$120 B$160Source: Various trade sourcesNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureTaman Kulimambang Butterfly Garden, located withinTasek Merimbun Heritage Park in Tutong district,opened in July 2012. The attraction is managed by theBrunei Museums Department ong>andong> houses around 100butterflies of different species.Diving is a new attraction that is being promoted by BruneiTourism. There are more than 10 dive sites in Brunei.There are good, shallow coral dives perfect for inexperienceddivers, as well as more challenging reef ong>andong> wreckdives. Shipwrecks scattered between Brunei ong>andong> the Malaysianislong>andong> of Labuan are mostly in pristine conditiondue to little dive activity.www.ponidivers.comwww.oceanic-quest.comwww.thebananahutbrunei.comKey events ong>andong> festivals 2013Hari Raya at Istana Nurul Iman (2 nd to 4 th day of HariRaya Aidilfitri, in August 2013)Visitors are offered the rare opportunity to stepinto Istana Nurul Iman, the largest residentialpalace in the world, during the Hari Raya Aidilfitrifestive period. The Sultan ong>andong> members ofthe Royal Family will personally greet ong>andong> welcome allguests.Brunei Open (July 25-28)The sporting event began in 2005 as part of the AsianTour golf tournament, ong>andong> is held annually at The EmpireHotel & Country Club’s Jack Nicklaus-designed golfcourse. To date, the Brunei Open has attracted many ofAsia’s top players to the destination.www.bruneiong>tourismong>.travelEssentials in the cityFood Brunei’s traditional ambuyat is made from sagoong>andong> eaten with a bamboo fork called a chong>andong>as. Ambuyathas no flavour on its own ong>andong> so it is usually servedalongside a variety of dips, condiments, meats, soupsong>andong> greens.Quirky Visit a tamu for an authentic Bruneian social experienceong>andong> a full-on feast for the senses. These al frescomarkets have a long history in Brunei ong>andong> are a kaleidoscopeof colours, smells ong>andong> sounds.Tipping policy Tipping is usually not expected in Brunei.Some establishments include a service tax, otherwise, themarket rate is 10 per cent of the total bill if service warrantsit.Shopping Brunei is famous for its high quality Bruneibrocade (kain tenunan) such as the jong saratbrocade. Options are plenty at Arts ong>andong> Hong>andong>icraftCentre at Jalan Residency, Bong>andong>ar Seri Begawan.Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January to April)Countries 2012Malaysia 18,843Continued next columnEstimated room count in BruneiOverall number of rooms 3,000Number of four-star rooms 1,000Number of five-star rooms 650New hotels in 2012, 2013The 112-room Times Hotel Brunei is one of the newestHow to maximise two hours of free time Make a photostop at Istana Nurul Iman, ong>andong> conclude the brief excursionwith a visit to picturesque Kampong Ayer, where traditionalhouses with wooden walkways are built on stiltsong>andong> stong>andong> over water.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Start with some retail


10 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Brunei Tourism/David Kirklong>andong>Brunei’s many beautiful mosques are a draw for touriststherapy at Yayasan Shopping Complex, then sit down forlunch just across the road at Italian restaurant Fratini’s,where verong>andong>ah seats offer great views of Kampong Ayer.After lunch, visit Brunei’s Art Gallery of Bong>andong>ar SeriBegawan ong>andong> the Water Village, as well as the Arts ong>andong>Hong>andong>icrafts Centre, which is just a short stroll from thewaterfront district. There, Brunei’s traditional hong>andong>icraftsbrocades, silverware ong>andong> woven baskets are on display.Recharge with a tea break at Tarindak d’Seni, a restaurantlocated on the first floor of the Arts ong>andong> Hong>andong>icraftsCentre.Impressive lunch for clients Kaizen Sushi Restaurant inKiarong Complex, Bong>andong>ar Seri Begawan serves Japanesecuisine against a great view of Kampong Ayer. The restaurantis spacious ong>andong> tastefully decorated – ideal for abusiness lunch with important clients.Lunch on your own Located within Yayasan Complex,the air-conditioned Nyonya Restaurant serves an extensivevariety of Indian, Chinese ong>andong> Malay dishes that areare excellent value for money.Late nights Nightlife options are scant in Brunei ong>andong>most shopping outlets close by 21.30. Make up for thisby organising a private party in your hotel room, a hotelfunction room or restaurant.Electricity Socket type. Voltage is 240V AC at 50 cyclesper second. Stong>andong>ard three-pin square plugs ong>andong> sockets.Visa requirementsForeigners entering Brunei for employment must havethe appropriate visa ong>andong> employment pass prior to theirarrival. Their spouses ong>andong> children (under 18 years old)are required to obtain dependents’ passes. A 72-hourtransit visa issued on arrival is available at B$5 nett perpassport.Visa requirements by nationalityNationalityVisa requirementUS90-day entry with no visaAustria, Belgium, Bulgaria, 30-day entry with no visaDenmark, Finlong>andong>, France,Germany, Greece, Irelong>andong>, Italy,Malaysia, Malta, Netherlong>andong>s,New Zealong>andong>, Norway, Oman,Polong>andong>, Portugal, Singapore,South Korea, Romania, Spain,Sweden, United Arab Emirates,UKAustralia, KuwaitVisa-on-arrival for visits notexceeding 30 daysBahrain, QatarVisa-on-arrival for visits notexceeding 14 daysCanada, Indonesia, Japan, 14-day entry with no visaMaldives, Peru, Philippines,Switzerlong>andong>, Thailong>andong>, VietnamChinaVisa-on-arrival (14 days) onlyfor tourists hong>andong>led by travelagents. Those on business visitsrequire sponsors or counterpartsin Brunei Darussalam.Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & TradeImportant contactsNTOBrunei Tourism is a department under the Ministry ofIndustry ong>andong> Primary Resources. It is headed by MarianiHj Sabtu, acting director.Brunei Tourism has marketing representation officesin China, Hong Kong, Australia ong>andong> New Zealong>andong> ong>andong>its main target markets are Malaysia, Singapore, China,Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealong>andong>, the UK, WesternEurope, the Middle East ong>andong> other regional markets inASEAN ong>andong> the Far East.Brunei generally targets the mature ong>andong> well-travelledmarket segments, ong>andong> through its promotional activitieswants to project Brunei as a safe, wholesome ong>andong> familyfriendlydestination.Its principal attractions revolve around its natural, cultural,heritage ong>andong> Islamic ong>tourismong> offerings, without forgettingthe opulence of its accommodation ong>andong> the qualityof its world class golf, diving ong>andong> meeting facilities.Tel: (67-3) 238-2822/(67-3) 238-2832Fax: (67-3) 238-2824www.bruneiong>tourismong>.travelTravel trade associationsThe Association of Travel Agents Bruneiwww.bruneitravelagents.org.bnBrunei Association of Hotelswww.hotelsofbrunei.comCompiled by S PuvaneswaryAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


12 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013CambodiaContinued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeFrance 117,408 3.6%Thailong>andong> 116,758 -21.7%Australia 105,010 12.2%UK 104,052 1.0%Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January to August)General overviewOfficial name Kingdom of CambodiaCapital Phnom PenhPopulation 14.7 millionTotal area 181,035km 2Currency Riel, but the US dollaris widely usedOfficial language KhmerBangkok • CambodiaPhnom Penh •Ho ChiMinh City• SingaporeRatanakiri •Siem Reap •Phnom Penh• SihanoukilleCountries Arrivals % ChangeVietnam 520,165 27.3%South Korea 287,210 26.2%China 207,617 31.0%Lao PDR 151,771 90.1%Thailong>andong> 123,227 83.0%Japan 115,440 11.6%US 114,347 12.7%France 82,795 6.5%Australia 74,195 13.2%UK 73,952 4.9%Source: Ministry of Tourism, CambodiaCambodia welcomed 24.5 per cent more international visitors in the firsteight months of 2012. Growing air links ong>andong> the development of qualityaccommodation – especially along the coast – have been instrumental infuelling this strong performance.Cambodia welcomed even more air links in 2012, including Tiger Airways’daily Singapore-Phnom Penh services ong>andong> Condor Airlines’ weeklyFrankfurt-Siem Reap flights. From February 20, 2013, Qatar Airwayswill extend its daily Doha-Ho Chi Minh City service to Phnom Penh.Cambodia’s ong>tourismong> product was strengthened when Cambodia AngkorAir debuted a service between Siem Reap ong>andong> Sihanoukville wherevarious five-star hotels have opened. For the first time, it was possiblefor visitors to Cambodia to combine Siem Reap’s cultural heritage witha beach resort holiday.Tonle Sap Airlines has also been a boon to Cambodia’s ong>tourismong> sector,having launched flights between Siem Reap ong>andong> China’s Beijing, Ningboong>andong> Shanghai, ong>andong> Taiwan’s Taipei ong>andong> Kaohsiung.Tourism earnings is expected to hit US$2.2 billion in 2012.ClimateAverage temperature 27°C to 28°CAverage rainfall 1,000 to 1,500mmAverage humidity 80 to 90 per centBest time to visitDecember ong>andong> January are cool ong>andong> dry ong>andong> are consequentlythe most pleasant time to visit Cambodia. Thedry season continues into April, when Cambodia is at itshottest with temperature of around 34˚C. Although therainy season lasts from May to October, rainfall occursmostly in the late evening ong>andong> during the night ong>andong> donot disrupt travel throughout the kingdom.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Between January ong>andong> August 2012, a total of 2,334,793visitors arrived in Cambodia, representing a growth rateof 24.5 per cent over the same period in 2011. Only 47.7per cent arrived by air through Phnom Penh ong>andong> SiemReap, while half of all arrivals crossed into Cambodia viaits long>andong> borders with Thailong>andong>, Laos ong>andong> Vietnam. Theremaining 2.3 per cent came via a waterway.Relative peace on the Thai-Cambodia border hasgiven visitor arrivals from Thailong>andong> a shot in the arm,growing 83 per cent from 67,340 (January-August 2011)to 123,227 for the same period in 2012. Visitor arrivalsfrom Laos grew by a stunning 90 per cent in this periodcompared to the same period in 2011.Arrivals from the rest of the top ten markets remainedunchanged for the first eight months of 2012.Total tourist arrivals2010 2.51 million, +16.0 per cent2011 2.88 million, +14.9 per cent2012 (January-August) 2.33 million, +24.5 per centTop 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeVietnam 614,090 19.4%South Korea 342,810 18.3%China 247,197 39.2%Japan 161,804 6.6%US 153,953 5.4%Lao PDR 128,525 39.3%Continued next columnNTO budgetThe Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia continues tomarket the destination under the Cambodia-Kingdom ofWonder brong>andong>ing ong>andong> using the tagline Clean city, cleanresort ong>andong> good service. All of the ministry’s marketingactivities ong>andong> operation are funded by a tight budget ofUS$4.5 million in 2012.Hotel developmentsOne of the most important hotels to open in Cambodiain 2012 is the Song Saa Private Islong>andong> Resort, a luxuriousresort developed across two islong>andong>s – Koh Ouenong>andong> Koh Bong. Song Saa in Khmer means “sweethearts”ong>andong> the resort’s over-water, jungle ong>andong> ocean-view villascommong>andong> rates ranging from US$1,595 to US$5,153 pernight in the high season.The resort has been marketed strongly in Europe ong>andong>the US, ong>andong> besides luring visitors to the destination, itdraws attention to Cambodia’s aspiration to becomebetter known as a beach destination that rivals its betterknown neighbours.With direct flights to Sihanoukville from Siem Reap,the resort is just a 15-minute drive from SihanoukvilleAirport ong>andong> a short boat ride away. From Phnom Penh,guests can choose between a three-hour overlong>andong> transferby Song Saa’s fleet of BMW 5 series limousines or booka helicopter transfer operated by Helicopters Cambodia.Adding further to the choice of quality accommodationin Siem Reap ong>andong> Phnom Penh is the Frangipani VillaHotel Group which operates two hotels in Siem Reapong>andong> four in Phnom Penh. These are all in the four-starcategory ong>andong> are tastefully decorated according to variousart-centric themes.New hotels in 2012 / 2013• Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel, 798 rooms• Thansur Bokor Highlong>andong> Resort, 418 rooms• Emario Hotel ong>andong> Resort, room count unknown• Sokha Bokor Hotel, 600 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureSociété Concessionnaire de l’Aéroport (SCA) operatesCambodia’s three international airports in Phnom Penh,Siem Reap ong>andong> Sihanoukville under a 25-year concessionong>andong> in 2011, Phnom Penh ong>andong> Siem Reap airportshong>andong>led 1.84 million ong>andong> 1.82 million passengers respectively.Strong growth trends have continued into 2012 (11per cent growth for Phnom Penh ong>andong> 24 per cent for SiemReap, year-to-date), with Siem Reap’s passenger throughputexpected to surpass Phnom Penh for the first time.SCA will soon begin works to expong>andong> the passenger terminalsof both Phnom Penh ong>andong> Siem Reap airports ong>andong>when completed in 2014 ong>andong> 2015 respectively, both willbe able to hong>andong>le five million passengers per annum.Uniworld River Cruises’ 15-day programme along theMekong River on its luxurious vessel, the River Saigon,has been a great success. The cruise starts from Ho ChiMinh City ong>andong> ends in Hanoi, with various stops in Cam-


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 13bodia such as Phnom Penh ong>andong> Siem Reap. For the 2013season, the company has committed a second ship – theRiver Orchid – to this itinerary. A total of 45 sailings arescheduled for 2013 ong>andong> eight days of each sailing will bespent in Cambodia.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Meak Bochea Day (February 25)Celebrated on the full moon of the third lunar month,faithful Buddhists in Cambodia pay respects to Buddhaon this day with visits to the temples, where they will participatein religious ceremonies.Cambodian Khmer New Year (April 14, 15, 16)Cambodians celebrate the start of a new Buddhist lunaryear with visits to the temples ong>andong> shrines to pay homageto Buddha ong>andong> their ancestors. It is also a time for charitywork ong>andong> get-togethers with family ong>andong> friends.Royal Plowing Day Ceremony (May 9)This ceremony marks the start of the rice-planting seasonin Cambodia. People appointed by the monarch willparticipate in the ritual, during which sacred oxens willplough a selected section of the field. Later, the oxens willbe served a variety of food such as rice, beans ong>andong> grass,ong>andong> what they eat will determine the season’s harvest.Angkor Wat International Half Marathon (December1)This annual event takes participants through the beautifulruins of the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap.www.angkormarathon.org/en/Essentials in the cityFood Many herbs ong>andong> spices such as lemongrass, cilantro,star anise, galangal ong>andong> kaffir lime are key ingredients inKhmer cuisine, but the most distinctive ingredient is thepra-hok, a fermented fish paste, ong>andong> the kapi, a fermentedprawn paste.Quirky Far from the reclusive North Korea ong>andong> its larger-than-lifeleaders is the Pyongyang Restaurant on 400Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh, which comescomplete with singing ong>andong> dancing waitresses servingice-cold noodles. Not the cheapest place for a meal butcertainly a novel experience for those unlikely to set footin North Korea.Tipping policy Tipping is more common today as aresult of growing affluence among locals ong>andong> the risingnumber of visitors. Tipping jars can sometimes be seenin more pricey restaurants ong>andong> bar counters.Shopping The Russian market (locally known as ToulTum Poung Market) still appears to be the main attractionin Phnom Penh, with its wide range of fabric, hong>andong>icrafts,“antiques”, clothes, household appliances, food ong>andong>even fresh meats ong>andong> vegetables. Visitors can take pleasurein haggling with the pleasant-mannered vendors ong>andong>then pile into a tuk-tuk for a breezy ride back to the hotel.How to maximise two hours of free time The RoyalPalace is a fitting place to begin one’s acquaintance withPhnom Penh ong>andong> within its compound, visitors can visitthe Grong>andong> Throne Hall (Preah Tineang Tevea Vinichhay),the venue for past coronations ong>andong> royal weddings. Alsoopen to visitors are the Temple of the Emerald Buddha(Wat Preah Keo Morakot), stupas, royal dining hall, theChan Chhaya Pavilion ong>andong> even a French-styled buildingthat was a gift from Napoleon III.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Cycle into the Khmerheartlong>andong>s, through relatively flat verdant open country,where one would come face to face with the Cham communities,coriong>andong>er gardens, wooden houses ong>andong> even aChinese-style pagoda.Take a ferry ride across the river toKoh Otnyahdei where the farming communities live. Explorea modern Khmer temple ong>andong> a silk-weaver’s housewhere dainty silk scarves are produced. A tour along theselines is offered by Diethelm Travel Cambodia, ong>andong> promisesvisitors a different perspective of Phnom Penh.Impressive lunch for clients Van’s Restaurant (5, Street102, Place de la Poste, Phnom Penh) sits in a lovingly restoredFrench colonial-era building – the former Banquede l’Indochine – ong>andong> serves a delightful menu comprisingFrench favourites such as salmon tatar, foie grass terrines,crab ong>andong> mango millefeuilles, red mullet, armoricaine,blanquette ong>andong> seafood puff pastry. There is also a fineDETHESHT PCThe freshest picks of the long>andong>ong>andong> sea – Kampot pepper crabKep, on the south-eastern coast, is famous acrossCambodia for fresh seafood, especially its signatureampot pepper cra hich is sered ith fried freshgreen ampot pepper still on the ine.The freshest cras are aailale at the cramarket, where the line-caught crustaceans are heldin floating cages in the sea just off the beach, ong>andong>diners can wade out to the cages ong>andong> pick what theydesire. The endors ill then steam the cras in oilingpots at the market.Alternatiely cra dishes can e ordered at seeralseafood restaurants lining the seashore next tothe market.Built on terraces, these restaurants offer stunningsunset ies of Phu uoc slong>andong> ong>andong> Bokor ountain.Kampot pepper is grown in the eponymous neigh-ouring proince of ampot renoned for its pepper.Kampot farmers stay off chemical pesticides ong>andong>synthetic fertilisers, choosing to go all-natural insteadwith decaying plants ong>andong> crab waste.selection of the best wines ong>andong> spirit.Lunch on your own The Romdeng Restaurant (House#74, Street 174, Phnom Penh) is a non-profit training restaurantoperated by former street youths. Set in a colonialhouse, it serves Khmer cuisine with a modern twist, usingthe best quality local produce. If you have adventuroustastes, try the crispy tarantula. And when you havethoroughly enjoyed your lunch, take advantage of the freeWi-Fi connection to get in touch with friends ong>andong> familyback home.Diethelm Trael roupMake a stop at the Angkor Archaeological Park, Siem ReapLate nights Head to the roof top of the Amanjaya PancamHotel where the Le Moon Terrace Bar is located.Stylish, relaxed, comfortable ong>andong> with an unmatchedview of the Tonle Sap ong>andong> Mekong rivers, it is the perfectplace to unwind.Electricity Single phase voltage of 220 volts ong>andong> a frequencyof 50Hz, primarily with two- or three-pin sockets.Visa requirementsAll nationalities need to apply for a travel visa except nationalsof the ASEAN member countries. A visa on arrivalwhich is valid for 30 days is available at Phnom PenhAirport, Siem Reap Airport ong>andong> at international bordercrossings. A tourist or business visa is also obtainable atthe Royal Cambodian Embassy or consulate at a cost ofUS$20 ong>andong> US$25 respectively.Online tourist visa application is also available at www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/ContactInformation.aspx, along withcredit card payment ong>andong> a recent photo in jpeg format.Approval of the e-visa takes three working days. This serviceis not available to nationals of Pakistan, Afghanistan,Algeria, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka ong>andong> Sudan.Important contactsNTOThe Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, helmed byminister of ong>tourismong> Thong Khon, has representative officesin South Korea, China, Japan, Thailong>andong>, Portugal,the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerlong>andong>,Germany, Italy, Spain ong>andong> Austria.Tel: (855-23) 211-593www.ong>tourismong>cambodia.orgAPSARA, the authority for the protection ong>andong> managementof Angkor ong>andong> the region of Siem Reap, was createdby the Cambodian government. It is tasked to take chargeof research, protection ong>andong> conservation of cultural heritage,urban ong>andong> ong>tourismong> development.www.autoriteapsara.orgTravel trade associationsThe Cambodia Association of Travel Agents seeks towork closely with the public ong>andong> private sectors to developong>andong> grow ong>tourismong>, ong>andong> to guide its members onachieving these objectives.www.catacambodia.comThe Cambodia Hotel Association represents its membersin shaping policies, advocating hotel vocationaltraining ong>andong> promoting investment in Cambodia’s ong>tourismong>industry.www.cambodiahotelassociation.com.khCompiled by Sim Kok ChweeAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


14 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013ChinaGeneral overviewOfficial name People’s Republicof ChinaCapital BeijingPopulation 1.4 billionTotal area 9.6 million km 2Currency RenminbiOfficial language Mong>andong>arinBeiing•CHINAIn 2011, China recorded 135.4 million visitors ong>andong> generated US$48.5billion in revenue, representing a 1.2 per cent ong>andong> 5.8 per cent increaserespectively over 2010. This year, inbound visitor arrivals fell 1.5 per centto 88.2 million tourists between January ong>andong> August.China Tourism Academy, the research arm of China National TourismAdministration (CNTA), anticipates that China will welcome 137 milliontourist arrivals ong>andong> generate US$51 billion in revenue in 2012.INDIABeijingHarin•rumi• Tianin•ian•Shanghai•hasa• •Chengduunming• •GuangzhouContinued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2012 (January-August)Countries Arrivals % ChangeMalaysia 760,500 -1.3Vietnam 736,900 7.6Mongolia 670,600 4.7Philippines 643,200 10.7Singapore 640,300 -0.1Australia 494,400 8.7Source: China National Tourism AdministrationTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 US$45.8 billion2011 US$48.5 billion2012 (January-August ) US$32.1 billion2012 US$51 billion (Forecast)Source: China National Tourism AdministrationHotel ong>statisticsong>China’s hotel industry offers a wealth of potential as urbanisationin the country still has a long way to go. Accordingto the United Nations World Tourism Organization,the scale of China’s hotel market will surpass that ofthe US by 2025.By the end of 2011, there were a total of 5,481 starratedhotels in 50 major ong>tourismong> cities in China. At present,there are 1,700 hotels under construction ong>andong> it isestimated that the total number of hotel rooms in Chinawill reach five million by 2016.Average occupancy rate by hotel category in 2011Five-star Four-star Three-starNo. of hotels 615 2,148 5,473Averageoccupancy 61 62 60rateClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity-9°C to 2°C (North, January)22°C to 31°C (North, July)14°C to 21°C (South, January)25°C to 33°C( South, July)610.5mm48 to 59 per cent in the north62 to 80 per cent in the southBest time to visitChina is a vast country with wide-ranging climatic conditions.The most comfortable season for travel is earlyautumn, between September to early October, whentemperatures throughout China are reasonable witha limited amount of rain. Temperatures in spring aresimilar to autumn, which makes for pleasant weather.Summer spans June to end August ong>andong> can be extremelyhot, while winter can be incredibly cold, especially inthe north.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>According to CNTA, China attracted 13.5 million foreignvisitors in the first six months of 2012, out of which 3.2million travellers came for work ong>andong> 5.1 million for leisure.Asia continues to be the largest source of foreignvisitors to China, supplying 8.3 million tourists fromJanuary to June 2012, up 5.1 per cent compared tothe same period in 2011. Europe is the second largestmarket, recording a 2.7 per cent growth to 2.8 million arrivals.China Tourism Academy, the research arm of theCNTA, is predicting 137 million inbound tourist arrivalsong>andong> US$51 billion in ong>tourismong> revenue for 2012.Total tourist arrivals2010 133.8 million, +5.76 per cent2011 135.4 million, +1.24 per cent2012 (January-August) 88.2 million, -1.53 per cent2012 137 million (Forecast)Top 10 source markets in 2010Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth Korea 4,076,400 27.5Continued next columnContinued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2010Countries Arrivals % ChangeJapan 3,731,200 12.5Russia 2,370,300 36.0US 2,009,600 17.5Malaysia 1,245,200 17.6Singapore 1,003,700 12.8Vietnam 920,000 11.0Philippines 828,300 10.6Mongolia 794,400 37.8Canada 685,300 24.5Top 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth Korea 4,185,400 2.7Japan 3,658,200 -2.0Russia 2,536,300 7.0US 2,116,100 5.3Malaysia 1,245,100 -0.01Singapore 1,063,000 5.9Vietnam 1,006,500 9.4Mongolia 994,200 25.2Philippines 894,300 8.0Canada 748,000 9.2Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January-August)Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth Korea 2,783,800 -3.4Japan 2,556,200 8.4Russia 1,570,700 -5.2US 1,427,600 1.6Continued next columnAverage occupancy rate of top 10 ong>tourismong> cities 2011Cities 2011Changsha 83.28Sanya 71.39Nanjing 70.12Guiyang 69.55Lanzhou 69.32Xiamen 68.99Qingdao 68.95Chengdu 68.78Fuzhou 68.33Nanning 68.15Source: China National Tourism AdministrationNew hotels in 2012BEIJING• Beiing Gong Mei Blue Peacock Business Hotel,128 rooms• Tangram Beiing Xinyuan Li, 161 rooms• Beiing Cineaste Garden Hotel, 276 roomsSHANGHAI• Shanghai Caoheing Renaissance Hotel, 383 rooms• Shanghai Sunrise Hotel, 130 rooms• The Shanghai Fuian Hotel, 265 roomsXIAMEN• Hotel Pullman Xiamen Powerlong, 297 rooms• Hotel Indigo Xiamen Harbour, 128 rooms• Xiamen Starway Premier Hotel International ExhibitionCenter, 138 rooms• Rui i Hotel Xiamen, 588 rooms• The Westin Xiamen, 304 rooms• Xiamen uanchang Kempinski Hotel, 460 roomsCHONGQING• Hyatt Regency Chongqing, 321 rooms• Chongqing Tianyao Hotel, 171 rooms• Chongqing Bizika Green Palace, 168 rooms


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 15flour cakes ong>andong> sweetened, baked wheaten cakes. Fill upon these goodies while in the capital.Late nights Sanlitun ong>andong> Houhai are the two hottest barstreets in Beiing. Besides these, Wudaokou ong>andong> Luoguxiangare other great options for night owls.Electricity The electricity in China is generally 220V,50H, AC. A transformer, which can be bought in Chinafor RMB100-200 (US16-32), ong>andong> a portable plug adaptorare necessary.Visa requirementsA visa ong>andong> a passport with six months’ validity are requiredfor foreigners entering China. Usually, the validityof a single-entry or double-entry tourist visa (L visa) is 90days or 180 days from the date of issue, which allows thevisa holder to stay 30 days in China from date of entry.Important contactsNTOChina National Tourism Administration is directly affiliatedto the State Council ong>andong> has 18 institutions in 14countries ong>andong> regions.Tel: (86-10) 6520-1114www.cnta.gov.cnNational Centre for the Performing Arts, BeijingTIANJIN• Tianin Haihe Indigo Hotel, 96 rooms• Dongwu Shiba Hotel City Inn Tianin, 116 rooms• Tianin inlong State Banquet Hotel, 118 rooms• Tianin Tangla Hotel, 116 roomsHAINAN• Sanya Grong>andong> Fortune Bay Hotel, 391 rooms• GuestHouse International Hotel Renaissance CityHaikou, 180 roomsSICHUAN• The Mingyoun Central Hotel, 306 rooms• Chengdu Tianyi Grong>andong> Garden Hotel, 208 rooms• Chengdu insheng International Hotel, 256 roomsSUZHOU• Suzhou Four Points by Sheraton, 283 rooms• Suzhou Tonino Lamborghini Boutique Hotel,92 roomsGUANGDONG• Days Hotel Huanan, 230 rooms• Guangzhou engcheng Hengda Hotel, 214 rooms• Foshan Citic Lake Golf Hotel, 60 rooms• Sheraton Qingyuan Lion Lake Resort, 349 rooms• Shenzhen Fantasia Boutique Hotel, 109 rooms• Oakwood Premier Guangzhou, 225 rooms• Modern Classic Hotel Shenzhen, 160 roomsXI’AN• The Westin Xian, 329 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureShanghai Disneylong>andong> Resort is the first Disney resortin mainlong>andong> China ong>andong> will include two themed hotels, alarge retail, dining ong>andong> entertainment venue ong>andong> an arrayof recreation facilities when it opens end-2015. The resortis located in Shanghai’s Pudong area.en.shanghaidisneyresort.com.cn/en/Oriental Fisherman’s Wharf, situated on the HuangpuRiver in the angpu district of Shanghai, features a clusterof recreation ong>andong> commercial outlets ong>andong> offices. The firstong>andong> second phases of the project are slated for completionby end-2012, opening a 500m coastline of new leisureoptions for visitors.China Tibet Culture & Tourism Creative Park isunder construction on the outskirts of the Tibetancapital of Lhasa. Occupying an area of 811 hectares, thedevelopment is to comprise several themed districtsincluding a theme park featuring a live show centredon Princess Wencheng, the niece of a Tang Dynasty emperor,who married a Tibetan king to establish peace betweenthe two nations. The resort has a 2015 completiondate.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Chinese New Year (February 10)Known also as the Spring Festival, Chinese New ear isthe most important traditional festival in China. Culturalactivities such as fireworks displays ong>andong> lion dances arestaged in public spaces. This period is one of the busiesttimes for travel, with train ong>andong> air tickets hard to get, sotravellers are advised to plan well in advance.Dragon Boat FestivalA traditional ong>andong> statutory holiday in China, the festivaloccurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.The most popular activity during this celebrationis the dragon boat races held in many cities in southernChina. It is also known as Duanwu Festival.Shanghai Tourism Festival (September-October)The Shanghai Tourism Festival offers locals ong>andong> foreignersan opportunity to learn about the Chinese culture.Essentials in the city – BeijingFood Nothing tastes more like Beijing than a plate ofPeking duck, which comes with a long history. The dishcomprises thin, crispy slices of duck skin, eaten with pancakes,scallion ong>andong> a sweet sauce. It is said to have beenan imperial favourite, ong>andong> is now recognised as a one ofChina’s national foods.Tipping policy Tipping is not necessary in most restaurantsong>andong> hotels in China. Some upscale restaurants includea service charge in the bill.Shopping Time-honoured feature stores such as Rui FuXiang ong>andong> Nei Lian Sheng are worth a visit. The formerhas sold silk since 1893, while the latter, established 150years ago, offers traditional cloth shoes that can rarely befound today.How to maximise two hours of free time Embark on aHutong tour, which takes the tourist on a rickshaw ridefor a unique view of Beiing, an increasingly popular wayto appreciate the capital.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Join Beijing’s swarm ofcyclists while covering the city’s cultural attractions. Pedalto the renowned commercial street Wangfujin Avenue,Tiananmen Square, the moat of the Forbidden City ong>andong>the Drum Tower ong>andong> Bell Tower.Impressive lunch for clients Restaurants specialising inPeking duck abound, but few places do it as well as DaDong Roast Duck Restaurant. The location of the restaurantat Dongsishitiao also guarantees an ever-festiveatmosphere.Lunch on your own Beijing has a great variety of popularsnacks such as spring rolls, baked bean cakes, soybean-Travel trade associationsChina Association of Travel Servicescats.org.cnShanghai Tourism Bureauchs.meet-in-shanghai.netChina Hotel Associationwww.lyxh.orgPATA China Chapterwww.pata.orgCompiled by Hong XuAll ong>informationong> is correct at press timeDiethelm Travel GroupDIETHELM’SHOT PICKTake home the wonders ofjade ong>andong> calligraphyThe Chinese have used jadeto ward off evil ong>andong> invitegood luck for centuries.Regarded as the talisman ofthe human body, jade is saidto be able to draw toxinsfrom the body while the skinabsorbs microelements fromthe pale green stone.To purchase jade, DragonLong>andong> Superior Jade Galleryin Beijing has a range of jadeornaments, jewellery ong>andong>hong>andong>icraft on exhibition ong>andong>for sale.Calligraphy is not only apractical technique for writingChinese characters, butalso a unique oriental artong>andong> a branch of learning ong>andong>discipline. Although it usesChinese words as a vehicleof expression, one does not have to know Chinese toappreciate its beauty.Beijing’s Dazhalan ong>andong> Liulichang are areasfamous for their highly-regarded calligraphy stores.Here, the culturally curious can meet with the masters,learn about the art ong>andong> buy a piece of calligraphyto take home.


16 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Hong KongGeneral overviewOfficial name Hong Kong SpecialAdministrative Regionof the People’s Republicof ChinaCapital Hong KongPopulation 7.0 millionTotal area 1,104km 2Currency Hong Kong dollarOfficial languages Chinese, EnglishIn the first eight months of 2012, Hong Kong tourist arrivals rose to 31.6million, a 16 per cent increase compared to the corresponding periodlast year. Cumulatively, overnight ong>andong> same-day arrivals between Januaryong>andong> August stood respectively at 15.7 million ong>andong> 15.9 million, or49.6 ong>andong> 50.4 per cent of overall arrivals.For the first half of the year, total ong>tourismong> expenditure associated withinbound ong>tourismong> was HK$138.4 billion (US$17.9 billion), a year-on-yearincrease of 17.7 per cent. Per capita spend of overnight visitors went up7.8 per cent to HK$7,736, while the figure grew 3.8 per cent to HK$2,075for same-day visitors.Unsurprisingly, China continues to dominate in number of arrivals,growth in arrivals ong>andong> per capita spend, ong>andong> is likely to remain so giventhe relaxation of the Individual Visit Scheme in the mainlong>andong> this year,making acquiring a visa to Hong Kong easier for the Chinese.ClimateAverage temperature 23°C to 28°CAverage rainfall 2,214.3mmAverage humidity 69 to 82 per centBest time to visitHong Kong’s sub-tropical climate results in four seasons.Pleasant weather in November ong>andong> December make theyear-end the best time to visit, but the period is also peakseason for business travel.January ong>andong> February are cloudy, with occasional coldfronts followed by dry northerly winds. Spring starts inMarch ong>andong> April, when occasional spells of high humidityresult in fogs ong>andong> drizzles. Both air traffic ong>andong> ferryservices are occasionally disrupted because of reducedvisibility.Summer lasts from May to August. Severe weatherphenomena that can affect Hong Kong include tropicalcyclones (July to October), strong winter monsoonwinds ong>andong> thunderstorms that are most frequent fromApril to September. Waterspouts ong>andong> hailstorms occurinfrequently.CHINAHN N •• HanoiTaipei •anila •NewTerritories•Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Despite the receding European economy, the Asian market,particularly mainlong>andong> China, recorded steadfast economicgrowth ong>andong> has become the key growth driver ofHong Kong’s arrivals.Traffic from mainlong>andong> China made up the bulk oftourists to Hong Kong, recording some 22.6 million visitorsfrom January to August this year. In contrast, the second-largestsource market Taiwan contributed only 1.4million tourists, down five per cent year-on-year.China also led the top 10 pack in terms of growth, followedby the Philippines (13.4 per cent), Japan (9.3 percent), Indonesia (6.2 per cent), South Korea (5.4 per cent)ong>andong> the US (0.3 per cent). The rest of the top 10 marketsfor the first eight months of 2012 registered a dip in arrivalnumbers.Total tourist arrivals2010 36 million, +21.8 per cent2011 41.9 million, +16 per cent2012 (January-August) 31.6 million, +16 per centBT-MICE arrivals2010 1.4 million2011 1.6 million2012 (January-June) 760,738Top 10 source markets in 2010CHINA• oloonHong Kong• •Lantau Hong KongIslong>andong> Islong>andong>Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina 22,684,388 26.3Taiwan 2,164,750 7.7Japan 1,316,618 9.3US 1,171,419 9.5Continued next columnContinued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2010Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth Korea 891,024 44.0Singapore 709,777 13.8Australia 650,681 8.4Philippines 603,030 7.0UK 515,693 0.3Malaysia 453,235 28.2Top 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina 28,100,129 23.9Taiwan 2,148,733 -0.7Japan 1,283,687 -2.5US 1,212,336 3.5South Korea 1,020,996 14.6Singapore 793,887 11.9Philippines 659,829 9.4Australia 644,596 -0.9Malaysia 632,858 9.3Indonesia 520,795 14.9Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January to August)Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina 22,575,101 23.4Taiwan 1,392,289 -5.0Japan 892,448 9.3US 782,265 0.3South Korea 729,168 5.4Philippines 469,296 13.4Singapore 443,424 -5.8Australia 407,322 -0.2Malaysia 377,490 -0.3Indonesia 352,834 6.2Average length of stay/average per capitaexpenditure of top 10 markets in 2011Market Average length Averageof stayexpenditure (HK$)China 3.9 8,220Taiwan 2.5 5,860Japan 2.3 5,763US 3.8 7,148South Korea 2.3 4,349Singapore 3.1 6,851Philippines 3.2 5,463Australia 3.9 8,089Malaysia 3.2 5,367Indonesia 3.0 6,229Source: Hong Kong Tourism BoardTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 HK$212.2 billion2011 HK$263.1 billionNTO arrivals targetAlthough the global economy is expected to be sluggishin the second half of this year, the Hong Kong TourismBoard is confident that its 2012 forecast of 44 million visitorarrivals is achievable. The forecast for the coming yearwill only be available in early 2013.NTO overall budget2010 HK$351.8 million2011 HK$349.8 millionHotel ong>statisticsong>According to the Hong Kong Hotel Association, 2012has produced strong performance for the hotel industry,which is likely to result in another record year.


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 17Hong Kong Tourism BoardTake in Hong Kong’s livewire vibe at Causeway Baythe Canal Road Flyover between Causeway Bay ong>andong> WanChai is a popular location.Tipping policy While there is no need to tip, if servicemerits, a ‘thank you’ tip is welcome.Shopping Head to the Lee Garden area in Causeway Bayfor a dose of high street fashion, ong>andong> Canton Road inTsim Sha Tsui for luxury brong>andong>s.How to maximise two hours of free time Jump on aslow boat from Central to Cheung Chau for a seafoodmeal by the waterfront. The trip alone is a journey backin time as passengers sit outside in the sunshine, readingnewspapers on the traditional boat.Hotel rates held up well between January ong>andong> August2012, while average hotel occupancy rate stood at a highof 89 per cent despite the three to four per cent increase inthe city’s room count from the previous year.However, 2013 could prove challenging againsta weak global economic backdrop ong>andong> with morehotel rooms coming on stream. On the bright side,strong demong>andong> from Asia may compensate shortfalls.There may still be room for a small percentage increase inroom rates in 2013.Overall average occupancy rate2011 89 per cent2012 (January-August) 89 per centOverall average room rate2011 HK$1,3562012 (January-August) HK$1,430Projected number of rooms2012 68,368 rooms2013 71,448 rooms2014 73,543 roomsNew hotels in 2012• Tai O Heritage Hotel, 13 rooms• Hotel Madera, 87 rooms• L’hotel lan, 254 rooms• Best Western Hotel Harbour View, 432 rooms• Dorsett Kwun Tong, 361 rooms• Ibis Hong Kong Sheung Wan, 550 rooms• Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East, 359 rooms• Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Kowloon East,300 rooms• Auberge Discovery Bay, 325 rooms• Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong, 240 roomsNew hotels 2013• Dorsett Tsuen Wan, 570 rooms• Penta Kowloon, San Po Kong, 720 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureThrill Mountain, Ocean Park is a carnival-themed areawith six exhilarating rides, eight booth games, a varietyof F&B outlets, as well as specially designed merchong>andong>ise.Thrill Mountain is situated adjacent to the Summit Stationof the Ocean Express. Ocean Park also welcomes privatehire of its spaces for corporate events.www.oceanpark.com.hkDialogue in Silence introduces the participant to a worldof complete silence. The three-hour workshop is facilitatedby professional deaf trainers, teaching participantsto listen with their eyes, express themselves through theirbodies ong>andong> experience life with their hearts, in order toenhance one’s communication skills.dialogue-in-silence.hkGrizzly Gulch ong>andong> Mystic Point are new themed areaswithin Hong Kong Disneylong>andong>. Grizzly Gulch is based onan original story created exclusively for Hong Kong Disneylong>andong>ong>andong> offers an immersive Wild West experience.Mystic Point will feature an eccentric world adventurerwith a collection of exotic ong>andong> mysterious internationalartefacts, ong>andong> is scheduled to open in 2013.www.hongkongdisneylong>andong>.comKai Tak Cruise Terminal, located on the runway of theformer Kai Tak Airport, is right at the heart of VictoriaHarbour. The first berth is expected to be operational inmid-2013.www.ong>tourismong>.gov.hk/english/ctkt/ctkt.htmlKey events ong>andong> festivals 2013Chinese New Year Celebration (February 10)www.discoverhongkong.com40 th Hong Kong Arts Festival (February 21-March 22)www.hk.artsfestival.orgHong Kong Sevens (March 22-24)www.hksevens.comHong Kong Wine & Dine Month (November)www.discoverhongkong.comEssentials in the cityQuirky Modern Hong Kong has kept several traditionalfolk practices in its bosom, one of which is the interestingart of da siu yan, which means to hit a petty person.The petty person could refer to a trouble-maker or foe,or symbols of misfortune ong>andong> unhappiness. This folksorcery is a Cantonese custom ong>andong> is often practiced byelderly ladies who are familiar with the ritual, which involvesraining a string of poetic curses ong>andong> beatings withan old shoe upon a paper figurine of the petty person. Dasiu yan is often done in gloomy places. In Hong Kong,DIETHELM’SHOT PICKEnter foodie heaven inHong KongWith more than 11,000 eateries, Hong Kong canbe described as a dining district in itself. The morepopular establishments are located in Lan Kwai Fongong>andong> SoHo in Central on Hong Kong Islong>andong> as well asKnutsford Terrace in Tsimshatsui on Kowloon, wherebars, clubs ong>andong> nightlife come alive after dark.Not forgetting the renowned seafood districts atLei Yue Mun in Kowloon East, Sai Kung in the NewTerritories ong>andong> on Lamma Islong>andong> which provide visitorsa good selection of restaurants ong>andong> a lively alfresco dining ambience.The Lin Heung Tea House established in 1926 isone of the oldest restaurants in Hong Kong whereunpretentious diners contest for shabby seats at thiscelebrated tea house. This eatery makes no concessionsto modernity or English speakers, so visitorsshould be prepared for pantomime or bring along aCantonese-speaking friend.Diethelm Travel GroupInsider’s tip for a half-day off Walk across the impressiveterrain of Hong Kong Islong>andong> from Causeway Bay toStanley. The trail starts near the Parkview Complex ong>andong>the two-hour hike brings you to the Stanley waterfront toenjoy a hard-earned pint of beer.Impressive lunch for clients The Steakhouse Bar & Grillat the Hong Kong InterContinental Hotel serves the beststeak in town, paired with a comprehensive salad barguaranteed to delight any foodie. The restaurant alsoboasts an impressive view of the fragrant harbour.Lunch on your own Head to one of the many HongKong-style cafes, known as cha chaan teng, for a quickong>andong> affordable meal. Chomp on local ong>andong> Hong KongstyleWestern dishes. Be ready to dap toi – share your tablewith strangers – during peak hours, but that’s part of thefun of dining in a cha chaan teng.Late nights Hong Kong is a late-night city, so after dinnerventure out into the streets of Causeway Bay to shop, exploreong>andong> find dessert stalls lurking right round the nextcorner.Electricity, socket type European ong>andong> British stong>andong>ards,220V/50HzVisa requirementsCitizens of some 170 countries can visit Hong Kong visafreefor periods ranging from seven to 180 days.For countries like Australia, Canada, the UK, Denmark,Japan ong>andong> New Zealong>andong>, Hong Kong immigrationallows their citizens to remain in Hong Kong for up tothree months, visa-free.Frequent visitors who hold valid passports ong>andong> are eligibleto come to Hong Kong without a visa or entry permit,may apply for the Hong Kong Special AdministrativeRegion (HKSAR) Travel Pass.The Hong Kong Government ong>andong> the Republic of Kazakhstansigned the Agreement on Mutual Exemption ofVisa Requirements in May 2012, allowing passport holdersfrom either country to stay in each other’s territoriesfor up to 14 days.Important contactsNTOHong Kong Tourism Board is a government-fundedbody under the control of the Tourism Commission. Ithas a worldwide network of 16 offices ong>andong> representativesin five different markets.Tel: (85-2) 2807-6543www.discoverhongkong.comTravel trade associationsTourism Commission of the Government of theHKSARwww.ong>tourismong>.gov.hkQuality Tourism Services Schemewww.DiscoverHongKong.com/hk/qtsHong Kong Association of Travel Agentswww.hata.org.hkTravel Industry Council of Hong Kongwww.tichk.orgCompiled by Prudence LuiAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


18 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Top 10 source markets 2011IndiaGeneral overviewOfficial name Republic of IndiaCapital New DelhiPopulation 1.22 billionTotal area 3287260km 2Currency Indian rupeeOfficial Language Hindi*There are 22 national languages that are recognised by theConstitution of India, of which Hindi is the official language. Besidesthese, 844 different regional dialects are spoken in various parts ofthe country.PAKISTAN NEPAL• Ne DelhiINDIA MYANMARSRI LANKA•AmritsarNew Delhiaipur• •Agra•Ahmedaad•olkata•umai•HyderaadBengaluru••Chennai•ThiruananthapuramFrom January to June 2012, there were 3.2 million arrivals to India, a7.4 per cent increase over the same period in 2011. This places India ontrack to surpass its 6.3 million visitors in 2011, a year that witnessed agrowth rate of 8.9 per cent.Total ong>tourismong> revenue in 1H2012 hit US$8.5 billion, an 8.2 per centyear-on-year improvement. In the full year before, India’s ong>tourismong> sectormade US$16.6 billion, up 16.7 per cent over 2010.In terms of top ong>tourismong> source markets, the US ong>andong> UK maintainedtheir first ong>andong> second positions respectively in both 2010 ong>andong> 2011.Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Canada, Germany, France, Malaysia, Australiaong>andong> Japan made up the rest of India’s top 10 chart. All these marketsregistered year-on-year growth in footfalls in 2011. However, Australiaslipped from its ninth position in 2010 to the last spot in 2011.CountriesArrivals (approximates)US 1,004,000UK 791,000Bangladesh 399,000Sri Lanka 305,000Canada 255,000Germany 253,000France 237,000Malaysia 218,000Japan 189,000Australia 186,000Source: Ministry of TourismHotel ong>statisticsong>According to Indian ratings agency ICRA, the country’shotel industry will end 2011-2012 on a weaker note,with subdued pricing power eroding margins. Althoughsome revival in operational metrics was witnessed duringlate 2010-2011, the industry lacked the pricing power tobreak out of its stagnancy.According to the recent Indian Hospitality Story 2012& Beyond report by the Confederation of Indian Industryong>andong> Cushman & Wakefield, economy to upscale hotelswithin the organised hospitality sector in India are moreprofitable due to lower per key costs, as compared to theupper upscale ong>andong> luxury category hotels.In 2011, the average occupancy of hotels in India was63 per cent, while average room rate was Rs4,500. India’stop cites – Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkataong>andong> Chennai – witnessed an average occupancy of 66 percent ong>andong> an average room rate of Rs5,700 in the sameyear.In 1H2012, average room rates of these cities dippedto Rs5,200 as they strategised as to how to moderate theiroccupancy levels of 59 per cent in the slow months.Room inventory by city/areaCities/area No. of rooms Projected rooms overfour to five yearsDelhi NCR 22,931 17,550Mumbai 18,500 10,200Bengaluru 16,000 9,400Hyderabad 9,900 3,719Source: Cushman & WakefieldClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity10°C to 15°C (winter)32°C to 45°C (summer)150mm to 350mm (June toSeptember)25 per cent (April to May)73 per cent (August)Best time to visitIndia is suitable for year-round visits, but the best timefor travel is dependent on the itinerary ong>andong> interests ofthe individual traveller.Summer, from April to June, is best for visiting India’sfamous hill stations ong>andong> mountains such as Nainital, Leh,Ladakh ong>andong> Manali. It is also ideal for wildlife enthusiastseager to visit India’s national parks, as animals are activeduring the summer ong>andong> seek out water sources in the heatof the day.Alternatively, winter, from November to the startof April, is a good time to explore Goa’s seashores ong>andong>Rajasthan’s cultural cities. The months of November toFebruary are best for heading down to south India, whereKerala draws great interest.However, travel within India during the monsoon periodspanning June to September is not advised, as therains can cause traffic disturbances.Visitor arrival ong>statisticsong>The first half of 2012 saw India welcoming 3.2million tourists ong>andong> reeling in US$8.5 billion in touristreceipts.In July 2012, the country registered 525,000 footfalls, a2.1 per cent growth over the same month in 2011.Tourism revenue in July 2012 stood at Rs83.9 billion(US$1.5 billion), as compared to Rs71.2 billion in July2011, a 17.9 per cent increase year-on-year.Total tourist arrivals2010 5.8 million, +11.8 per cent2011 6.3 million ,+8.9 per cent2012 (Jan to June) 3.2 million, +7.4 per centTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 US$14.2 billion, +27.5 per cent2011 US$16.6 billion, +16.7 per cent2012 (Jan to June) US$8.5 billion, +8.2 per centSource: Ministry of TourismTop 10 source markets 2010CountriesArrivalsUS 931,292UK 759,494Bangladesh 431,962Sri Lanka 266,515Canada 242,372Germany 227,720France 225,232Malaysia 179,077Australia 169,647Japan 168,019Source: Ministry of TourismNew hotels in 2012Delhi NCR• DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Gurgaon-New Delhi NCR,184 rooms• Pullman Gurgaon Central Park, 285 rooms• Formule 1 Greater Noida, 114 rooms• Jaypee Greens Golf ong>andong> Spa Resort, 170 rooms• Nidra Delhi, 70 rooms• Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini, 183 rooms• Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar, 178rooms• Fortune Park Boulevard, New Delhi, 34 rooms• Citrus Gurgaon Central, 46 rooms• Central Blue Stone, Gurgaon, 46 rooms• Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi, 450 rooms• GLOW Greater Noida, 220 roomsMumbai• Ginger Mumbai, 116 rooms• Shangri-La Hotel, Mumbai, 368 rooms, 31 suites• Ibis Navi Mumbai, 196 roomsChennai• Park Hyatt Chennai, 201 rooms• The Leela Palace Chennai, 326 rooms• ITC Grong>andong> Chola Chennai, 600 roomsNew hotels in 2013• Sheraton Amritsar Hotel, 180 rooms• The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, 250 rooms• Ibis Delhi Airport, 464 rooms• Sheraton Mysore Hotel, 220 rooms


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 19• Howard Johnson Bengaluru, 115 rooms• Lemon Tree Premier, Connaught Road, Pune,238 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureWorlds of Wonder is a theme park located in the heartof Noida on a major arterial route, ong>andong> spread over 59hectares. North India’s biggest man-made lake at 1.4 hectaresis situated within its premises, ong>andong> was opened tothe public in September.The theme park will launch Calypso Bay, pegged asAsia’s biggest water park, by March 2013. Attractionssuch as a 5D cinema, a skating arena ong>andong> go-karting arealso in the pipeline.www.worldsofwonder.inThe Grong>andong> Venice (GV) will be India’s first Venetianthemedfamily leisure spot when it opens by end-2012.Located in Delhi NCR beside the recently-opened YamunaExpressway, the destination is easily accessed not justfrom Delhi NCR but also from the adjoining Agra, Aligarhong>andong> Lucknow. When completed, GV will comprisea shopping centre, amusement arcades, a luxury hotel,offices ong>andong> India’s first public aquarium, The Blue Planet.www.thevenezia.comKempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi threw open its doorsin November this year. Positioned as the biggest banquetingfacility in Delhi, Kempinski has an inventory of 450rooms ong>andong> event space for 2,000-3,000 people. It alsoboast an exclusive driveway ong>andong> entrances, along with adedicated catering ong>andong> events team. The hotel aims tohave MICE drive 70 per cent of its business.www.kempinski.comThe Leela Palace Noida is coming to town, ong>andong> will besituated in one of the five towers of Supernova, India’stallest ong>andong> largest mixed-used development in Sector 94,Noida.Supertech Limited ong>andong> The Leela Palaces, Hotels ong>andong>Resorts have signed an MoU for the joint development ofthe property, with Supertech constructing ong>andong> The Leelaoperating ong>andong> managing it. The hotel will be completedapproximately 48 months after commencement.The Leela Palace Noida will comprise 250 exquisitelyappointed guestrooms ong>andong> suites, restaurants, lounges,banquet facilities, an internationally renowned spa ong>andong> amodern fitness centre.www.theleela.comKey events ong>andong> festivals 2013Rann Utsav (December 15, 2012 - January 31, 2013)www.gujaratong>tourismong>.comMaha Kumbh Mela (January 27 - February 25)www.kumbhamela.net/maha-kumbh-mela.htmlJaipur Literature Festival (January 24-28)www.jaipurliteraturefestival.orgSurajkund Crafts Mela (February 1-15)www.haryanaong>tourismong>.gov.inGoa Carnival (February 9-12)www.carnivalgoa.comSindhu Darshan Festival (June 1-3)www.sindhudarshan.comRajgir Dance Festival (October 4-26)www.bstdc.bih.nic.inEssentials in the cityFood Delhi must be a gourmong>andong>’s heaven, as it featuresa variety of cuisines from different parts of India. Keepan eye out for specialities from the north-west frontier,such as Mughlai cuisine, which is evolved from the imperialkitchens of the Mughal Empire, ong>andong> the ever popularPubabi cuisine.Quirky Indians are extremely pleased when they find foreignersgreeting them in their own tongue. Picking up abit of the local language will help one develop a rapportwith the natives.Tipping policy Tipping is expected in Indian restaurants.However, the tip amount depends on the quality ong>andong> thescale of the restaurant. Seven to 10 per cent of the totalbill is a good gauge.Enjoy camel rides along the coast of GujaratDiethelm Travel GroupDIETHELM’SHOT PICKChow down in Lucknow’scolony of chefsLucknow city was once known as Awadh, ong>andong> ruledby Nawabs who left a lasting legacy in many areasincluding cuisine.In Bawarchi Tola, which means colony of chefs,the history of Lucknow can be experienced throughfreshly-cooked dishes that are prepared at numerousroadside eateries. Lucknowites believe that foodshould be rich ong>andong> nutritious, ong>andong> this philosophy isdemonstrated through the choice of ingredients suchas mutton, paneer (cheese), cardamom, saffron ong>andong>other pungent spices.Some eateries in the district deserve special mention.Mobeen’s Pasong>andong>a, for one, marinates ong>andong> coalroaststhin lamb slivers, serving them with sheermal,bread with saffron.Tundey Kebab sells minced meat that has beenshallow-fried with 160 spices, complemented withroomali roti, a thin bread, on the side.For the curry lovers, Raheem’s Nihari Goshtdishes out special baked kulcha bread ong>andong> lambchunks in curry.For dessert, Chanakya’s Kulfi offers Indian icecream, which is frozen milk with cardamom, saffronong>andong> dry fruits.Shopping Janpath Market at Connaught Place is wherethe latest ong>andong> most trendy fashion apparel can be found,ong>andong> is often flooded with both locals ong>andong> foreigners. Pricesare reasonable, although bargaining is a must. Customersshould aim to bargain prices down to 50 per cent ofthe amount quoted by a vendor.How to maximise two hours of free time Operated byDelhi Tourism ong>andong> Transportation Development Corporation,Delhi Haat is an open air area with stalls sellingcrafts from all over India. It is a perfect way to acquaintthe traveller with the diversity of cultural traditions withinthe country.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Built in the 17 th century,Chong>andong>ni Chowk is now home to a maze of shops thatspecialise in specific products. Shops selling the sameproducts are clustered along specific lanes, making iteasier for shoppers to zoom in to what they require. Forinstance, head to Katra Neel for fabrics ong>andong> Balli Mara forgold jewellery.Within walking distance are also a number of temples,bazaars ong>andong> a mosque, which should satiate the traveller’scultural curiosity.Impressive lunch for clients The Oberoi, New Delhi ishome to Threesixty°, an all-day restaurant that featuresone of the best global buffet spreads in the city. It boastssushi counters, a yakitori grill, a wood-fired oven ong>andong> atong>andong>oor. Threesixty° also has a private dining area whichcan accommodate up to 20 guests.Lunch on your own Shopping malls will have a numberof local restaurants, but for travellers who want somethingfamiliar as a break from the exotic, international fastfood chains McDonalds ong>andong> KFC are also easily found.Late nights Popular venues in Connaught Place, Noidaong>andong> Gurgaon offer night owls a wide range of late nighthang outs.Electricity Single phase of 230V. Obtaining a universaladapter is recommended.Visa requirementsAll foreign nationals entering India are required to possessinternational travel documents in the form of a nationalpassport with a valid visa from an Indian missionor post abroad.Visa on arrival is available for citizens of Finlong>andong>, Japan,Luxembourg, New Zealong>andong>, Singapore, Cambodia,Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos ong>andong> Myanmar.Important contactsNTOThe Ministry of Tourism has 14 overseas ong>tourismong> offices,through which it endeavours to promote variousIndian ong>tourismong> products ong>andong> to increase India’s share ofthe global ong>tourismong> market.New Delhi officeTel: (91-11) 2332-0342Fax: (91-11) 2332-0109www.ong>tourismong>.gov.inTravel trade associationsTravel Agents Association of Indiawww.travelagentsofindia.comIndian Association of Tour Operatorswww.iato.inAssociation of Domestic Tour Operators of Indiawww.adtoi.inTravel Agents Federation of Indiawww.tafionline.comCompiled by Rohit KaulAll ong>informationong> is correct at press timeSamrat35/Dreamstime.com


20 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Arrivals from top 10 source marketsIndonesiaGeneral overviewOfficial name Republic of IndonesiaCapital JakartaPopulation 240 millionTotal area 1.9 million km 2Currency RupiahOfficial Language Bahasa Indonesia• Bangkok• BangkokINDONESIA• uala umpurakarta • • SingaporeSurabayaJakartaAUSTRALIA• •Bong>andong>ungIndonesia recorded 5.2 million tourists in the first eight months of 2012,up from five million during the same period last year.Bali continues to be the darling of visitors, but other destinations suchas Lombok, East Nusa Tenggara ong>andong> Papua are gaining in popularity,especially for special interest tours like diving.Improved air accessibility to Indonesia has been credited, among otherfactors, for the rise in arrivals. Budget flights connecting Semarang inCentral Java with the commercial hubs of Kuala Lumpur ong>andong> Singaporehave boosted inbound incentive business, as well as special interest toursto the Karimun Jawa islong>andong>s.Increased air services to Sumatra, such as Mong>andong>ala Airlines’ Medan-Singapore flights, have also encouraged greater interest from regionaltravellers.ClimateAverage temperature 22°C to 35°CAverage rainfall 2,160mm to 3,360mmAverage humidity 70 to 80 per centBest time to visitIn terms of weather, Indonesia is pleasant for year-roundvisits. However, the peak travel seasons hit Bali ong>andong> severalpopular tourist destinations in the country from Juneto August, ong>andong> December to early-January.Having said that, growing domestic travel ong>andong> increasedaccessibility to secondary destinations have madeseasonality less distinct. Jogjakarta, Bong>andong>ung, Lombokong>andong> Medan can be pretty packed during long weekends.As such, it is advisable to check with local hotels ong>andong>/ordestination partners on the best dates to visit or organiseevents.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>China was a stellar source market for Indonesia duringthe first eight months of 2012. Between January ong>andong> August,mainlong>andong> Chinese arrivals numbered 412,698, 25per cent more than what was seen during the same periodin 2011.Stronger mainlong>andong> Chinese arrivals were not only registeredin major Indonesian destinations like Jakarta ong>andong>Bali, but also elsewhere such as Batam ong>andong> Bintan.This is good news to the Indonesian ong>tourismong> authorities,as China has been identified as one of the mainsource markets to be tapped for leisure, MICE ong>andong> specialinterest footfalls.Meanwhile, Singapore ong>andong> Malaysia continue to rankfirst ong>andong> second place in terms of arrival numbers. Therewas, however, a slight decline in Singapore arrivals duringthe first eight months of this year – from 796,273 in 2011to 788,249 in 2012.Australia retained its position as the third largestsource for Indonesia, but for the first time in more thanfive years the market showed only a single-digit growth of2.7 per cent. Tourism players blamed aggressive promotionsundertaken by Thailong>andong> for drawing away Australianattention, as well as the strong Australian dollar formaking longhaul travel more affordable.While latest ong>tourismong> revenue is unavailable, Australiaong>andong> Singapore were the top spenders in Indonesia in2011, shelling out US$1.5 billion ong>andong> US$1.1 billion respectively.Average length of stay2010 2011Singapore 4.67 4.44Malaysia 5.03 5.23Australia 10.56 9.47China 5.98 6.01Japan 6.14 6.37orea Repulic . .US 10.55 10.98 . .Taiwan 5.84 5.63India 8.68 7.90Source: Ministry of Tourism ong>andong> Creative Economy2010 2011 2012*Singapore 721,403 796,273 788,248Malaysia 709,808 659,180 704,644Australia 459,562 565,232 580,602China 294,732 328,743 412,698Japan 270,153 270,513 283,843South orea 193,247 200,565 207,162US 115,291 125,891 132,258 Taiwan 138,283 138,194 122,482India 94,786 106,541 115,219Source: Ministry Of Tourism And Creative Economy*2012 data covers only the months of January to AugustRevenue from top 10 source markets (in millions of USD)2010 2011Singapore 927.97 1,054.21Malaysia 864.34 930.85Australia 1,171.87 1,502.10China 433.38 520.61Japan 409.87 419.80orea Repulic . .US 252.23 317.28 . .Taiwan 184.76 188.15India 147.29 175.13Souce: Ministry of Culture ong>andong> TourismTotal ong>tourismong> arrivals (January to August)2010 4.6 million2011 5.0 million2012 5.2 millionOverall ong>tourismong> receipts2010 US$7.6 billion2011 US$8.5 billion2012 US$9.0 billion (Targeted)NTO targetsThe Indonesian Ministry of Tourism ong>andong> Creative Economyhas set a target of nine million arrivals ong>andong> US$10.4billion in ong>tourismong> revenue for 2013.Such targets are not far-fetched, as the country’s economyis on the upswing, riding on a wave of strong investmentsin various sectors including ong>tourismong>. Growinglow-cost carrier networks that connect Indonesia’s secondarycities with regional destinations are also a catalyst,as they provide better accessibility to the country.The ong>tourismong> authority will focus on intensifying marketingefforts in 16 major markets ong>andong> on developingproducts within the country.Hotel ong>statisticsong>Hotel developments are continuing across major destinationsin Indonesia such as Bali, Jakarta, Bong>andong>ung ong>andong>Bintan, as well as secondary ong>andong> tertiary locations.Locations such as Garut ong>andong> Tasikmalaya in West Java,Luwuk in Central Sulawesi ong>andong> Lampung are seeing aninflux of properties managed by major hotel companiessuch as Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts, Aston International,Accor ong>andong> Dafam Hotel Management.While a number of upmarket properties such as TheMulia, Mulia Resort & Villas in Nusa Dua Bali, JumeirahBali in Jimbaran ong>andong> Alila Villas Bintan are coming onstream, economy ong>andong> budget hotels are emerging mostrapidly, catering mostly to the regional ong>andong> domesticmarket.Star-rated hotel occupancyJan-Sep 2012 Jan-Sep 2011Jakarta 56.34 56.56Bali 60.91 65.32West Java 49.14 48.87Jogjakarta 52.23 48.13Source: Ministry of Tourism ong>andong> Creative Economy


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 21New hotels 2012BALI• The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas, 637 rooms ong>andong> suites,108 villas• Swiss-Belhotel Rainforest, 162 rooms• Mercure Bali Nusa Dua, 210 rooms• Ibis Bali Kuta, 156 rooms• Eden Hotel Kuta, 278 rooms• Harris Hotel Sunset Road, 185 rooms• Pop Hotel Kuta Beach, 223 rooms• Quest Hotel Tuban, 95 rooms• 100 Sunset 2 Hotel, 101 rooms• Favehotel Umalas, 121 roomsLombok Foto ClubJAKARTA• Keraton at The Plaza, 140 rooms• Pop Hotel Airport, 150 rooms• Mercure Jakarta Simatupang, 232 roomsBATAM• Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay, 177 roomsLOMBOK• Hotel Santika Mataram, 123 roomsJOGJAKARTA• Grong>andong> Dafam MM ogyakarta, 134 roomsBANDUNG• Trans Luxury Hotel, 282 rooms• Ibis Bong>andong>ung Trans Studio, 606 rooms• Vio Pasteur, 64 roomsNew hotels 2013BALI• Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran, 242 rooms• Pop Hotel Sanur, 120 rooms• Swiss-Belhotel Watu Jimbar, 285 rooms• The Alana Vasanti, 121 rooms• Amaris Pratama Nusa Dua, 120 roomsJAKARTA• Grong>andong> Mercure Maha Cipta Jakarta Harmoni, 487rooms• Ibis Styles Jakarta Thamrin, 196 rooms• Pop Hotel Tebet, 147 roomsBINTAN• Swiss-Belhotel Lagoi Bintan, 190 roomsJOGJAKARTA• Pop Hotel Gedongan Lor, 103 rooms• Ibis Budget ogyakarta, 186 rooms• The Alana ogyakarta, 269 roomsLUWUK, CENTRAL SULAWESI• Aston Luwuk Hotel & Convention Center, 90 rooms• Hotel Dafam Istana Luwuk, 62 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureBintan Lagoon Resort now offers a direct ferry servicebetween Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal ong>andong>a new private immigration ong>andong> ferry terminal on itsbeachfront. Two high-speed 266-seat ferries have beendeployed to service the 70-minute journey.www.bintanlagoon.comKereta Api Pariwisata, a subsidiary of state-ownedtrain company KAI, has launched train travel programmesacross Java. Using KAI’s scheduled train network, touristsare offered the choice of travelling in a normal cabinor chartering one of the three luxury compartmentswhich can seat 19 to 22 people. The top-end optioncomes with meeting facilities, a bar, a karaoke set, ong>andong> aVVIP room. All train tours start off in Jakarta. Optionsinclude a three-day/two-night tour to Jogjakarta, a onedaycity tour around Cirebon, ong>andong> a four-day/three-nighttour covering Malang, Batu ong>andong> Bromo. Accommodation,tours ong>andong> long>andong> transfers are provided in these destinations.www.indorailtour.comKey events ong>andong> festivals 2013Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival (March 1-3)www.javajazzfestival.com/2013Semarang Night Carnival (April 27)www.central-java-ong>tourismong>.comEssentials in the city – JakartaFood Try rujak juhi, a salad of noodles, boiled potatoes,cucumber ong>andong> lettuce, drenched in a sweet ong>andong> sour peanutsauce ong>andong> with juhi (shredded salted octopus) sprinkledon top.Tipping policy Five to 10 per cent of the bill is suitablewhen no service charge is levied.Shopping Take your pick of top quality Indonesian productsin the Mall of Indonesia in Jakarta.How to maximise two hours of free time Bearing inmind Jakarta’s unpredictable traffic, it is best to spendyour free time near your hotel. Visit a museum, relax in aday spa, or find a nice coffee shop round the corner whereyou can enjoy a variety of coffee available in the country.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Head to Museum TekstilJakarta (or Jakarta Textile Museum) for a lesson on howto make your own piece of batik. Further the hong>andong>icraftexperience with a ceramic workshop at Rumah TanahBaru, an hour or so by car from Jakarta. Rumah TanahBaru also boasts scenic long>andong>scapes, beautiful traditionalarchitecture, as well as a small number of guesthouses.Impressive lunch for clients Kembang Goela or MerahDelima, both in the capital city, are good choices. Theyserve authentic Indonesian cuisine in elegant settings.Lunch on your own Places such as Central Park, PlazaIndonesia EX ong>andong> Grong>andong> Indonesia Shopping Townhouse a number of cafes ong>andong> restaurants that offer a comfortableambience for a quiet lunch.Late nights Pizza e Birra ong>andong> Paulaner Brauhaus are popularwatering holes in Jakarta, frequented by the young,urban crowd.Electricity Two-pin (round) plug.Visa requirementsEvery visitor must possess a passport which is valid for atleast six months at the time of arrival.Non-extendable visa-free entry to Indonesia for 30days is available to passport holders of Brunei, Cambodia,Chile, Equador, Hong Kong SAR, Laos PRD, Macao SAR,Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore,Thailong>andong> ong>andong> Vietnam.Visa on arrivals (VOA) are offered to 63 nationalitiesong>andong> can be obtained upon a traveller’s arrival at majorairports in Indonesia. The visa costs US$25 for 30 daysong>andong> is extendible up to another 30 days.Travellers who are entitled to VOA must be citizens ofArgentina, Australia, Austria, Algeria, Bahrain, Belgium,Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark,Estonia, Egypt, Fiji, France, Finlong>andong>, Germany,Greece, Hungary, Icelong>andong>, India, Iran, Irelong>andong>, Italy,Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,Luxemburg, Malta, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, NewZealong>andong>, Norway, Netherlong>andong>s, Oman, Panama, China,Polong>andong>, Portugal, Qatar, Rumania, Russia, Saudi Arabia,Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea,Suriname, Switzerlong>andong>, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, TimorLeste, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK ong>andong> the US.Important contactsNTODirectorate General of Marketing is part of the IndonesianMinistry of Tourism ong>andong> Creative Economy. Itis spearheaded by Sapta Nirwong>andong>ar, who is also deputyminister of ong>tourismong> ong>andong> creative economy. The NTO reportsto the minister of ong>tourismong> ong>andong> creative economy.The ministry has 12 Visit Indonesia Tourism Officers(VITO) in Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia,South Korea, Singapore, the UAE, the Netherlong>andong>s,ong>andong> Russia. There are plans is to appoint one more VITOin China in 2013.LeisureNia NiscayaTel: (62-21) 383-8309Fax: (62-21) 386-0628nia_niscaya@yahoo.comMICERizki Hong>andong>ayaniTel: (62-21) 383-8300Fax: (62-21) 344-9268www.budpar.go.idTravel trade associationsAssociation of the Indonesian Tours ong>andong> Travel Agencieshas members comprising wholesalers, inbound, outboundtravel consultants ong>andong> ticketing agents. The associationis under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourismong>andong> Creative Economy. Established in 1970, it has chaptersin the country’s 33 provinces.www.astindo.orgIndonesia Ticketing Agents Association is under theauspices of the Ministry of Transportation. It has chaptersin Jakarta, Bali, Jogjakarta, West Java, East Java, WestNusa Tenggara, East Kalimantan, Aceh, North Malukuong>andong> Maluku provinces. Founded in 1999, the associationis still expong>andong>ing chapters ong>andong> is an active member of theFederation of Asean Travel Association.Indonesia Hotel ong>andong> Restaurant Association countshotels, owner companies, restaurants ong>andong> hotel institutesas its members. It was founded in 1969 ong>andong> has more than10,000 members around Indonesia today. It is an activemember of the ASEAN Hotel ong>andong> Restaurant Associationong>andong> the ASEAN Tourism Association.www.ihra.co.idIndonesia Congress ong>andong> Convention Association wasfounded in 1998 for MICE stakeholders in Indonesia. Itnow has 12 chapters in Indonesia ong>andong> 300 members. It isalso a member of the Asian Federation of Exhibition &Convention Associations.Indonesia Exhibition Companies Association was establisedin 1990. This association has more than 360 activemembers across Indonesia, comprising exhibitionorganisers, freight forwarders, stong>andong> contractors, venueowners ong>andong> suppliers.www.ieca.or.idIndonesia National Air Carriers Association is a tradeassociation for the Indonesian airline industry. Foundedin 1970, it now counts 39 scheduled ong>andong> chartered airlinesas its members.www.inaca.orgCompiled by Mimi HudoyoAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


22 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Continued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2011CountriesArrivalsJapan 37,883UK 35,622South Korea 34,707Australia 31,874Germany 21,280Source: Lao Tourism Development DepartmentLaosGeneral overviewTop 10 source markets in 2012 (January to July)fcial name ao Peoples DemocraticRepulicCapital VientianePopulation . millionTotal area km 2Currency ao kip S dollar ong>andong>Thai aht acceptedfcial language aoCHINALAOS• VientianeTHAILANDVIETNAMCAMBODIACHINAVIETNAM• uang PraangVientianeTHAILAND• PakseCAMBODIACountriesArrivalsThailong>andong> 1,026,979Vietnam 355,212China 107,032South Korea 27,931US 27,927France 23,892Japan 19,889UK 19,018Australia 18,487Germany 11,263Source: Lao Tourism Development DepartmentVisit Laos Year 2012 has been a success so far. Tourist arrivals in 1H2012increased 16.9 per cent compared to the same period last year, primarilyfuelled by arrivals from neighbouring countries ong>andong> China. Improvedinfrastructure between Laos ong>andong> Thailong>andong>, including bridge links ong>andong>road networks, have led to a boom in arrivals from the country’s topsource market. The fourth Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge in Chiang Raiprovince, slated for completion in 2013, is expected to bring even moreThais to Laos. Meanwhile, the launch of regular flights between Vietnamesecity Danang ong>andong> Lao’s Pakse ong>andong> Savannakhet is also set to boostarrivals from Vietnam.By end of 2012, Lao Airlines will commence services to Seoul ong>andong> Busanin South Korea ong>andong> Guangzhou in China, as well as launch a newroute to connect Vientiane, Savannakhet, Pakse ong>andong> Danang.ClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity28˚C1,500mm to 2,000mm inVientiane1,000mm to 1,5000mm innorthern provinces3,000mm in southernprovinces75 to 85 per centBest time to visitThe best time to visit is from October to March whenweather conditions are most favourable, although pricesof accommodation ong>andong> tour products ong>andong> services maybe higher compared to other times of the year. May toSeptember are wet from monsoon rains, but hotels ong>andong>tour operators tend to offer cut-price deals ong>andong> discountrates. Temperatures drop in the north of the country, especiallyin the mountainous regions, from November toFebruary, but gradually climb ong>andong> are extremely comfortablefrom May through July.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Laos experienced tourist arrivals in excess of two millionfor the first time in 2009, ong>andong> has since welcomed yearon-yearincreases of 25 ong>andong> 8.3 per cent in 2010 ong>andong> 2011respectively.In the first six months of 2012, the country welcomed1,736,655 visitors – a year-on-year increase of 16.9 percent – primarily hailing from neighbouring countries.According to official arrival ong>statisticsong> for January toJuly, as supplied by the Lao Tourism Development Department,Thailong>andong> contributed the largest share of touriststo Laos. There were 1,026,979 Thai tourists.Vietnam follows in second place, contributing 355,212travellers to Laos.The Lao Tourism Development Department predictsarrival numbers for the whole of 2012 to register a 25per cent increase over 2011 ong>andong> expects tourist receiptsto grow by 11.3 per cent year-on-year to US$452 millionin 2012.Total tourist arrivals2010 2,513,028, +25 per cent2011 2,723,564, +8.3 per cent2012 (January to June) 1,736,655, +16.9 per cent2012 (Estimated) 3,400,000, +25 per centTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 US$381.6 million2011 US$406.2 million2012 (Estimated) US$452 millionSource: Lao Tourism Development DepartmentTop 10 source markets in 2011CountriesArrivalsThailong>andong> 1,579,941Vietnam 561,586China 150,791US 50,092France 44,399Continued next columnArrivals targets for 2013Buoyed by the successful Visit Laos 2012 campaign, theLao Tourism Development Department expects arrivalsin 2013 to reach 3,160,234, providing an estimatedUS$476 million in revenue.Laos will also host the rotating ASEAN Tourism Forumin 2013 which will see more than 1,600 delegates,800 ASEAN exhibitors ong>andong> many ong>tourismong> officials ong>andong>delegates in attendance. The event is expected to boostarrivals ong>andong> further cement Laos’ position on the map.Although the country has experienced a small increasein high-end accommodation, the number of luxury visitorarrivals is likely to remain low.Hotel ong>statisticsong>A variety of new hotel projects have emerged throughoutthe country. The majority of new establishments havebeen constructed in Vientiane, some of which were inpreparation for the 9 th Asia-Europe Meeting which tookplace on November 5-6, 2012.One of the most significant soft-openings wasthe US$50 million Long>andong>mark Mekong RiversideHotel, which accommodated some of the delegates ong>andong>officials attending the meeting. The hotel is now closedagain, ong>andong> is expected to be fully completed later in 2013.Other completed hotel developments include the 26-room Hotel Dhavara ong>andong> the 29-room Mong>andong>ala BoutiqueHotel.Luang Prabang continues to experience a steady risein mid-range accommodation options, including the LeSen Hotel ong>andong> the Sanctuary Hotel, while Pakse recentlywelcomed the launch of the Athena Hotel.As Laos continues to push its ecoong>tourismong> agenda as partof the Visit Laos 2012 programme, a variety of ecolodgesong>andong> homesteads are expected to emerge throughout thecountry over the next 12 months.Overall number of rooms2010 2011VientianeTotal rooms 8,512 10,948Hotels 6,011 7,468(more than 15 rooms)Guesthouses 2,501 3,480(less than 15 rooms)Luang Prabang 2,817 3,241Total roomsHotels 1,021 1,244(more than 15 rooms)Guesthouses 1,796 1,997(less than 15 rooms)Pakse & Champasak 2,705 3,250(Total rooms)Continued next column


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 23Continued from previous columnOverall number of rooms2010 2011Hotels 1,365 1,773(more than 15 rooms)Guesthouses 1,340 1,477(less than 15 rooms)Luang Namtha 944 1,086(Total rooms)Xieng Khouang 992 492Total roomsSavannakhet 2,302 2,702Total roomsKhammouane 992 1,230Total roomsOudomxay 1,158 1,124Total roomsSource: Lao National Tourism AdministrationNew hotels in 2012VIENTIANE• Dhavara Hotel, 26 rooms• Mong>andong>ala Boutique Hotel, 29 roomsLUANG PRABANG• Le Sen Hotel, 19 rooms• Sanctuary Hotel, 29 roomsPAKSE• Athena Hotel, 21 roomsNew hotels in 2013VIENTIANE• Long>andong>mark Mekong Riverside Hotel, 216 rooms• Ibis Hotel Vientiane, 64 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureWattay International Airport, Laos’ busiest airport,completed an upgrade in October, giving it thecapacity to accommodate up to 25 aircrafts. Improvementswere also made to the infrastructure leading tothe international airport, including roads ong>andong> electricalsystems.Lao International Convention Center opened in Octoberong>andong> was used as the main venue for the 9 th Asia-EuropeMeeting. Constructed in less than a year, the centreis strategically located in Vientiane ong>andong> is capable of accommodating3,000 people.Kao Rao Cave in Luang Namtha province is a new attraction.Officially opened in January 2012, Kao Rao Cavecontains one of the longest unmapped labyrinths in thethe country’s north-east. Tourists have flocked to the cavesince its opening.Lao Central Airlines, the country’s first private airline,commenced operations in 2012. Based in Vientiane, itdebuted with a thrice-weekly direct service to Bangkok,ong>andong> now also operates daily flights between the capitalcity ong>andong> Luang Prabang.Elephant Conservation Center in Sayabouly, some twohours from Luang Prabang, opened in January ong>andong> hostedthe annual Lao Elephant Festival the following month.Accommodation is available at the centre, in addition totrekking ong>andong> numerous other activities that visitors canparticipate in.Fifth Laos-Thailong>andong> Friendship Bridge will soon joina collection of bridges that connect the two countries. Itis slated for construction in 2013. The bridge, which willconnect the Lao province of Bolikhamxai ong>andong> Thailong>andong>’sBung Kan province, is expected to be completed in thenext few years.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013ASEAN Tourism Forum 2013 (January 17-24)To be held at the International Convention Center inVientiane, the ASEAN Tourism Forum brings togetherong>tourismong> officials ong>andong> delegates from ASEAN nations. Besidesraising the profile of the ASEAN region as a touristdestination, the event is expected to boost regional ong>andong>global arrivals to Laos.Wat Phu Festival (February 24-25)Held on the evening of the third full moon of the lunarEnjoy a slower pace in Laos ong>andong> watch the fisherman workcalendar, locals ong>andong> curious tourists would congregate atthe ruins of the 11 th century Khmer temple complex inChampasak. Celebrations include buffalo fights, elephantracing ong>andong> traditional music ong>andong> dance performances.Boun Pi Mai (April 13-15)Similar to the Thai new year festival Songkran, Boun PiMai is a colourful ong>andong> wet welcome to the Buddhist newyear. Parties tend to run late into the evening, ong>andong> revelersoften end up completely soaked through.Visakha Puja (May 24) ong>andong> Boun Bang FaiVisakha Puja is a temple festival celebrating the birth, enlightenmentong>andong> death of Buddha. Locals also celebratethe pre-Buddhist rain festival Boun Bang Fai in May,which sees communities organise dances, parties ong>andong> thehighly anticipated launches of homemade rockets. Eachvillage has their own date for these rocket festivals.Boun Ok Phansa ong>andong> Boat Racing Festival (sometimein October)To commemorate the end of the three-month Buddhistlent, offerings are made at the temples in the morning,while countless cong>andong>lelit processions fill the capital cityong>andong> flower-adorned floats are set adrift along the MekongRiver. The renowned boat races are held on the river, departingVientiane, Savannakhet ong>andong> Champasak the followingday.Essentials in the city – VientianeFood Vientiane offers a variety of food options fromDiethelm Travel GroupDETHESHT PCStep into the shoes of a ricefarmer in Luang PrabangRice is an important staple food for many peopleacross the gloe ong>andong> forms the asis of many cuisinesin different cultures.The iing ong>andong> rganic arm ust outside ofuang Praang has put together a hong>andong>son actiityhich takes the isitor through all the steps inoledin the planting ong>andong> haresting of this important grain.t is an educational eperience suitale for familiesong>andong> traellers of all ages.In thisprogrammeparticipantsecome arice farmerfor half aday learninghow to selectseeds, sowong>andong> harest the crop. They ill een get a chance toplough the elds alongside the farms friendly ateruffaloes.After a morning of fun ong>andong> hard ork interimfarmers are inited to indulge ong>andong> tantalise theirtasteuds ith a memorale ricetasting session.Tana ansstreet vendors to an emerging array of higher-endeateries. Le Silapa, Aria Mixay ong>andong> the L’adresse de Tinayare popular restaurants, particularly for international cuisine.Quirky Climb to the top of the Patuxay Victory Monument– the Arc de Triomphe of the capital city – ong>andong> experiencedowntown Vientiane from a different perspective.Apparently constructed from cement donated by theUS to construct an airport, the popular sight has attainedthe nickname ‘the Vertical Runway’.Tipping policy Tipping is not customary, however, smallnotes received as change is appreciated. Most upscale restaurantsinclude a service change (usually 10 per cent) inthe bill.Shopping Located right on the Mekong riverfront inChao Anou Park, the intriguing Night Market offers livelymarket stalls ong>andong> authentic local food. It is usually opendaily from 17.00 to 22.00.How to maximise two hours of free time Pull on a pairof comfortable walking shoes ong>andong> take a leisurely trekfrom downtown Vientiane to Wat Sok Pa Louang. Enjoythe sights along the way, ong>andong> in 45 minutes, your bodywill be ready for a soak in a herbal sauna ong>andong> a traditionalmassage. Wat Sok Pa Louang is open from 13.00 to 20.00,ong>andong> massages cost around US$5.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Friday afternoons areusually referred to as extended Saturdays by local officeworkers. Numerous beer gardens open early ong>andong> serve updishes that go well with Beer Lao.Impressive lunch for clients Conveniently located incentral Vientiane’s Namphou Square, the Mix Restaurantis a chic ong>andong> casual eatery, serving up quality dishes atreasonable prices. Ideal for both a quick coffee date ong>andong>a more formal affair, the Mix Restaurant has quickly becomeone of the capital’s most reputable establishments.Come back in the evening for excellent live music in theBeer Garden outside of the restaurant, or simply to enjoythe bustling atmosphere around the fountain or on therooftop.Lunch on your own With a variety of bagels, song>andong>wiches,salads, pizzas, lasagna, cakes ong>andong> cookies, the renownedJOMA Cafe is an ideal establishment to catch a lightlunch. There is a street terrace outside ong>andong> free Wi-Fi Internetconnection is offered to patrons.Late night Wine 95 is a chic wine bar ong>andong> cocktail jointwhich regularly hosts jazz nights ong>andong> other live musicevents. The establishment stays open late most nights ong>andong>is well known for its vibrant atmosphere ong>andong> regularlychanging selection of quality wines.Electricity A single phase voltage of 220V ong>andong> a frequencyof 50Hz, primarily two-pin.Visa requirementsA passport valid for at least six months ong>andong> a visa are requiredfor most foreigners entering Laos. Visas cost fromUS$20 to US$42, depending on government agreements,ong>andong> can be obtained at embassies, consulates or designatedtour companies. Visas-on-arrival for most countriescost US$30 to US$40 ong>andong> can be obtained at Wattay, LuangPrabang ong>andong> Pakse international airports, as well as atmajor overlong>andong> gateways.Visa exemptions apply to visitors from ASEAN membernations, as well as Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Switzerlong>andong>ong>andong> Luxembourg for stays of maximum 15 days.Visa extensions are available at US$2 per day at immigrationheadquarters or via designated tour operators atmajor destinations for an additional fee.Important contactsNTOMinistry of Information, Culture ong>andong> Tourismwww.ong>tourismong>laos.orgTravel trade associationsThe Lao Association of Travel Agentswww.latalaos.orgCompiled by Timothy FranceAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


24 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January to August)MacauGeneral overviewOfficial name Macau Special AdministrativeRegion of the People’sRepublic of ChinaCapital MacauPopulation 544,200 (estimate)Total area 29.2km 2Currency PatacaOfficial languages Cantonese, PortugueseChina, Hong Kong ong>andong> Taiwan continue to be the top three visitorgenerating markets for Macau, although the latter two demonstrateda downward trend in the first eight months of 2012. China not onlycontributes the largest number of arrivals, its travellers are top spenderstoo.Markets such as Japan, the Philippines ong>andong> Vietnam showed doubledigitincrease in terms of arrival, while longhaul markets such as Europeindicated stable growth.As a small port city, Macau’s ong>tourismong> challenge continues to be thelength of stay taken by visitors, which stood at an average of 1.39 daysbetween January ong>andong> August 2012.ClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity20.5°C to 25.4°C2,122.9mm82.5 per centBest time to visitThe best time to visit Macau is in autumn (October ong>andong>December) ong>andong> spring (March to May), when temperaturesare mild. Winters can be fresh, with cold northernwinds sweeping down from mainlong>andong> China.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>The territory demonstrated a slower growth rate in thefirst eight months of 2012 due to the global economicturmoil.Visitor arrivals stood at 18.7 million for the period,a year-on-year growth of 1.1 per cent. More than 11.2million of these visitors were from China, up 6.6 per centcompared to the first eight months of 2011.New ong>tourismong> facilities such as the Song>andong>s Cotai Centralintegrated resort, which opened two of its three hotelsin April 2012 ong>andong> the last property in September, areexpected to attract a greater number of new ong>andong> repeatvisitors to Macau. Song>andong>s Cotai Central’s extensive collectionof meeting ong>andong> convention space is also expected tostrengthen Macau’s position as a MICE destination.The Macau Government Tourist Office expectsChina arrivals to continue its upward trend, following theextension of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) on September1. With the revised policy, non-permanent residentsin Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhouong>andong> Shenzhen are allowed to apply for Macau ong>andong> HongKong entry permits in the cities they are residing insteadof returning to their native hometowns for the application.CHINAACA •• Hanoi• Hong onganila •Top 10 source markets in 2011MacauPeninsulaZhuhai• TaipaSource: Macau Government Tourist Office*2012 data covers only the months of January to August• CotaiCountries Arrivals %ChangeChina 16,162,747 +22.2Hong ong .Taiwan 1,215,162 -6.0orea .apan .alaysia .Singapore .Philippines .ndonesia .Thailong>andong> .•ColoaneAverage length of stay of selected source marketsCountries 2010 2011 2012*China . . .Hong ong . . .Taian . . .apan . . .ndia . . .Malaysia 1.69 1.57 1.6orea . . .SA Canada . . NAEurope . . .Australia Ne ealong>andong> . . NACountries Arrivals % ChangeChina .Hong ong .Taiwan 719,917 -14.6orea .apan .Philippines .alaysia .ndonesia .Thailong>andong> .Singapore .Total ong>tourismong> arrivals2010 24,965,411, +14.8 per cent2011 28,002,279, +12.2 per cent2012 (January-August) 18,703,119, +1.1 per centTotal visitor expenditure2010 MOP213.4 billion(US$26.7 billion)2011 MOP261 billion2012 (January-June) MOP151.9 billionGaming expense2010 MOP179.4 billion2011 MOP251.4 billion2012 (January-June) MOP133 billionAccommodation ong>andong> others2010 MOP25.9 billion2011 MOP34.1 billion2012 (January-June) MOP18.9 billionHotel ong>statisticsong>Despite the addition of almost 6,000 rooms with thecomplete opening of Song>andong>s Cotai Central in September2012, room rates in Macau are still holding strong. Robustdemong>andong>, on the back of an upward arrival trend, issaid to be the cause.As a result, hotels in Macau are not only commong>andong>inggood room rates, they are also enjoying high occupancyin 2012.Overall average occupancy rate2010 84.53 per cent2011 88.4 per cent2012 January-August 87.71 per centOverall average room rate2010 MOP1,174.472011 MOP1,347.72012 January-August MOP1,405.73Average occupancy rate of four-star hotels2010 85.13 per cent2011 88.97 per cent2012 January-August 87.53 per centAverage occupancy rate of five-star hotels2010 83.71 per cent2011 87.52 per cent2012 January-August 87.69 per centAverage room rate of four-star hotels2010 MOP654.732011 MOP810.922012 January-August MOP845.73Average room rate of five-star2010 MOP1,423.432011 MOP1,598.352012 January-August MOP1,663.96Overall number of rooms2010 20,9882011 23,2222012 January-August 25,108Number of four- ong>andong> five-star rooms2010 16,7812011 18,9752012 January-August 15,081Source: Macau Government Tourist Office


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 25New hotels in 2012Song>andong>s Cotai Central• Conrad Macao, 636 rooms• Sheraton Macao, 3,863 rooms• Holiday Inn Macao, 1,224 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureAudio Guiding Service was introduced by the MacauGovernment Tourist Office in July 2012, with the objectiveof improving visitors’ understong>andong>ing of touristattractions ong>andong> World Heritage Sites in the destination.The service is now available in six languages Mong>andong>arin,Cantonese, Portuguese, English, Japanese ong>andong> Korean.Visitors can borrow the audio equipment for free at theong>informationong> counter of the Macau Government TouristOffice in Senado Square, from 09.00 to 17.00 daily.Future attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureHong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which sits over thewaters of Lingdingyang, Pearl River Estuary, promisesgreater ease of commute. Construction started in December2009, ong>andong> works are expected to be completed by2015/16.www.hzmb.orgGalaxy Macau has embarked on its second phase expansion,which is due to complete in mid-2015. The newwing will house The Ritz-Carlton, Macau ong>andong> the JWMarriott Hotel Macau. The Ritz-Carlton, Macau willfeature 250 one- ong>andong> two-bedroom suites, including thestylish The Ritz-Carlton suite, while JW Marriott HotelMacau will boast nearly 1,100 rooms ong>andong> suites.Wynn Cotai, the latest project undertaken by Wynn Resortson the Cotai Strip, is expected to be ready in 2016.It will feature about 2,000 hotel rooms ong>andong> 400 gamingtables.Essentials in the cityFood Besides authentic Portuguese cuisine, visitors canalso excite their tastebuds with a variety of internationalong>andong> local culinary delights served within the many fancyintegrated resorts or at any bustling hawker outlets.Quirky Traffic continues to be a bugbear in Macau. Snagginga taxi during peak hours may be a challenge, so it iscommon practice for tourists to take advantage of complimentarycasino coach services to get around the city.Tipping policy There’s no need to tip but one can do soto reward good service.Shopping Head to the Rua de S.Paulo area for lovely reproductionsof traditional rosewood furniture, porcelainwares, lacquer, bronzeware, wood carvings ong>andong> Chinesepaintings.How to maximise two hours of free time Hop over toColoane ong>andong> head straight to Chef Antonio Coelho’s RestauranteEspaco Lisboa, ust off St Francis Xavier ChapelSquare. Place your order for some authentic Portuguesewine, fresh clams steamed with garlic ong>andong> cilantro, ong>andong>a hearty Portuguese steak. Make room for Chef Antonio’sflambé crepe. Before leaving Coloane, head to thefamous Lord Stow’s Bakery for a box of Portuguese-styleegg tarts.Insider’s tip for half-day off in Macau Put your physicallimit to the test at the Macau Tower, which reaches338m into the sky. Participate in the Skywalk X orSky Jump activity if you dare. If not, take a stroll alongthe Observation Deck for spectacular views of the city.Later, enjoy a meal at Macau Tower’s 360° Café, a revolvingrestaurant that whips up a tantalising buffet spread.Impressive lunch for clients Book a table at The TastingRoom at the Crown Towers, City of Dreams. Led by ChefGuillaume Galliot, The Tasting Room is renowned for itsfine, contemporary European cuisine ong>andong> extensive collectionof premium wines ong>andong> vintages. Opening hoursare 12.00 to 15.00, ong>andong> 18.00 to 23.00. Call (853) 88686681 for reservations.Lunch on your own The Lung Wah Restaurant near theRed Market serves Chinese dim sum ong>andong> tea in a traditionalsetting. It is also a beloved gathering spot for locals.Late nights Enjoy local or international movies at the UAGalaxy Cinemas, which houses nine 3D-capable screensExplore the charms of the Ruins of St. PaulMake space for egg tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakeryong>andong> up to 1,000 seats.Electricity European ong>andong> British sockets are the norm,220V/50HzVisa requirementsVisas are required by all visitors except:• Nationals of Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosniaong>andong> Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde,Croatia, Czech, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Egypt,Estonia, Finlong>andong>, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,Icelong>andong>, Irelong>andong>, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon,Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia,Mali, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlong>andong>s,Norway, Polong>andong>, Portugal, Romania, Serbia,Slovak, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerlong>andong>,Tanzania ong>andong> the UK (six months) for a stay ofup to 90 days;• Nationals of Australia, Brunei (14 days), Canada,Chile, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Monaco,Namibia, New Zealong>andong>, Philippines, Russia, Samoa,Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Thailong>andong>, Turkey,the US ong>andong> Uruguay for a stay of up to 30 days;• Holders of a Hong Kong identity card, Hong Kongpermanent identity card or re-entry permit;• Nationals of China with valid Macau entrydepartdocuments;• Holders of consulatediplomatic documents issued bythe Macau SAR or Hong Kong SAR;• Holders of diplomatic passports• Holders of Laissez Passer issued by the United Nationsin the course of duty;• Holders of travel document issued by the Portugueseauthorities for the foreign citizens.Visa on arrival is available at the immigration counter,but some nationalities are required to apply for an entryvisa before heading to Macau. Visit www.fsm.gov.mo formore ong>informationong>, or email sminfo@fsm.gov.mo.There are three types of visas:• Individual MOP100, children under 12 years of agepay MOP50.• Family Passport MOP200• Group MOP50 per person for bonafide groups of 10or more ong>andong> children aged 12 or under.Important contactsNTOThe Macau Government Tourist Office has 14 representativesin Australia, India (Mumbai ong>andong> New Delhi),Hong Kong; Indonesia, Japan; Korea, Malaysia, New Zealong>andong>,Philippines, Singapore, the US (California ong>andong> Nework), France United Kingdom ong>andong> Republic of Irelong>andong>German-speaking markets.Meanwhile, there are four Macau delegations, namelyTourism Sector of Office of the Macau SAR in Beijing,Belgium-Macau Economic ong>andong> Trade Office ong>andong> MacauTourism Promotion & Information Center in Portugal,ong>andong> Macau Economic ong>andong> Cultural Office in Taiwan.MGTOTel: (853) 2831-5566Tourist hotline: (853) 2833- 3000Fax (853) 2851-0104industry@macauong>tourismong>.gov.mowww.macauong>tourismong>.gov.moMacau Business Tourism CentreEdif. Ritz, Largo do Senado, MacauTel: (853) 8396-3008,Fax (853) 2872-7310projects@macauong>tourismong>.gov.moTravel trade associationsAssociation of Macao Tourist AgentsEmail: amta@macau.ctm.netMacau Hotel Associationmhacmo@macau.ctm.netwww.macauhotel.orgCompiled by Prudence LuiAll ong>informationong> is correct at press timeSimon Gurney


26 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013MalaysiaGeneral overviewOfficial name MalaysiaCapital Kuala LumpurPopulation 29.4 millionTotal area 329,758km 2Currency Ringgit MalaysiaOfficial language Bahasa MalaysiaEnglish is widely spokenBetween January ong>andong> June 2012 Malaysia welcomed 11.6 million touristarrivals. Nine out of ten top source markets are from the Asia-Pacific region,with Indonesia, China, Japan ong>andong> the Philippines registering double-digityear-on-year growth.By the end of 2012, Malaysia is expected to see 25 million tourist arrivalsong>andong> bag RM60 billion (US$19.6 billion) in tourist reciepts.The country’s minister of ong>tourismong>, Ng Yen Yen, said ong>tourismong> performanceso far was putting the destination on track to achieving the MalaysiaTourism Transformation Plan 2020’s goal of 36 million arrivalsong>andong> RM168 billion in revenue.Tourism Malaysia expects ASEAN nations to continue making keycontributions to the destination’s tourist arrivals.ClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity21ºC to 32ºC (lowlong>andong>s)15°C to 25°C (highlong>andong>s)2,000mm to 2,400mm70 to 90 per centBest time to visitMalaysia’s moderate weather makes it good to visit allyear round, although heavy rain tends to drench the eastcoast of Peninsular Malaysia in December ong>andong> January.Langkawi, a popular resort destination ong>andong> host of thehigh-profile biennial Langkawi International Maritimeong>andong> Aerospace Exhibition, suffers heavy rain from July toOctober.Diving season on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysiaong>andong> in East Malaysia runs from March to October.Low season occurs during the Muslim fasting monthof Ramadan, which will run from July 9 to August 7 in2013. Travel consultants can negotiate for better ratesfrom hotels during this period.Visitor arrival ong>statisticsong>Malaysia welcomed 11.6 million tourists during the firstsix months of 2012, registering a year-on-year growth of2.4 per cent.Correspondingly, total ong>tourismong> receipts in 1H2012rose four per cent, channeling RM26.8 billion into nationalcoffers. The destination earned RM25.7 billionduring the same period in 2011.The ASEAN region remains the key source marketfor Malaysia, contributing a monster share of 73.8 percent of total arrivals in 1H2012. This figure reflects aone per cent decline over 1H2011, a result of a changein arrival tracking methodology. Now, arrivals are categorisedby nationality of the traveller, instead of coun-• BangkokMALAYSIA•Kuala Lumpur• akartaKota Kinabalu• angkai•• PenangMALAYSIAKuala • uchingLumpurThe iconic Petronas Twin Towers rise in the background,against Kuala Lumpur’s evening skiestry of residence. Hence, expatriates working or living inASEAN nations are no longer included in the count. Withthe new method of recording arrivals, dips in arrivalswere seen in Singapore (-4.8 per cent), Thailong>andong> (-11.5per cent), Brunei (-1.2 per cent) ong>andong> Cambodia (-4.2 percent).Longhaul markets posting substantial growth includeOman (33.2 per cent), Russia (28.2 per cent), France(20.6 per cent), the US (18.9 per cent), South Korea (18per cent), Kuwait (17.4 per cent) ong>andong> Denmark (15.7 percent).Arrivals from Saudi Arabia grew a whopping 71.7 percent, thanks to the implementation of a new rule whichrequires all travellers, including children, to travel ontheir own passports. Prior to that, children would travelon their parent’s passports.Total tourist arrivals2009 23.6 million2010 24.6 million2011 24.7 million2012 (January to June) 11.6 million2012 (Target) 25 millionTop 10 source markets (January to June)Countries 2011 2012 % ChangeSingapore 6,125,305 5,832,330 -4.8Indonesia 923,439 1,108,361 20.0China 564,955 758,289 34.2Brunei 595,340 588,165 -1.2Thailong>andong> 721,907 638,641 -11.5India 341,511 365,104 6.9Australia 270,655 242,579 -10.4Philippines 163,965 238,175 45.3apan .UK 185,708 196,738 5.9Source: Malaysian Immigration DepartmentAverage per capita expenditure (in RM) of top 10 marketsCountries 2010 2011 % ChangeSingapore 2,178.90 2,219.90 1.9Indonesia 1,015.30 1,059.40 4.4China 2,768.40 2,816.30 1.7Brunei 2,334.40 2,459.60 5.4Thailong>andong> 1,015.30 1,059.40 4.3India 2,615.80 2,685.20 2.7Australia 4,113 4,204.60 2.2Philippines 1,875.80 1,920.20 2.4apan . . .UK 3,831.50 3,899 1.8Source: Tourism MalaysiaBusiness travel ong>andong> MICE arrivals2011 1,285,1452012 (Target) 1,325,000Source: Malaysia Convention & Exhibition BureauNTO marketing budget ong>andong> targetTourism Malaysia was granted RM150 million to spendon advertising ong>andong> promotions in 2012.For the new year, however, that fund is more than doubledto support the new Visit Malaysia Year 2013/2014campaign, which also celebrates the Golden Jubilee of thejoining of Sabah ong>andong> Sarawak with the federation of Malayato form Malaysia in 1963. Some RM358 million hasbeen set aside for this.Malaysia is expected to welcome 26.8 million touristsin 2013.Hotel ong>statisticsong>The number of four- ong>andong> five-star rooms in Malaysia asof July 2012 was in the 60,000 bracket, ong>andong> another 3,000rooms in both categories are expected to come on streamby the end of 2012, according to ong>statisticsong> from the ong>tourismong>ministry.Hotel rates in Malaysia are among the lowest in Asia.


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 27According to the Malaysian Association of Hotels, the averageroom rate at a five-star property between Januaryong>andong> May 2012 was RM323. For the same period, the averageroom rate at a four- ong>andong> three-star hotel was RM203ong>andong> RM102 respectively.To cater to the ong>tourismong> ministry’s goal of 36 millionarrivals by 2020, Tourism Ministry has projected that anadditional 37,000 rooms in the four- ong>andong> five-star categoriesare required.Meanwhile, room rates of three- to five-star hotels areexpected to rise between eight to 15 per cent in 2013.Average occupancy rate (January to May)2011 2012Kuala Lumpur 72 70Penang 64 62Langkawi 54 69Kota Kinabalu 64 69Average room rate (January to May)Source: Malaysian Association of Hotels2011 2012Kuala Lumpur RM296 RM302Penang RM227 RM241Langkawi RM715 RM768Kota Kinabalu RM214 RM238New hotels in 2012• Impiana KLCC Hotel, 180 new rooms in addition toexisting 335 rooms• Best Western Premier Dua Sentral Kuala Lumpur,364 rooms• Grong>andong> Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, 370 rooms• Ibis Styles Fraser Business Park Kuala Lumpur,500 rooms• Ibis Styles Cheras, 156 rooms• Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort Tioman, 54 villas• The Sterling Melaka, 37 rooms• Best Western Plus Riverside Hotel Malacca, 170 rooms• Hatten Hotel Melaka, 704 rooms• Traders Hotel, Puteri Harbour, Iskong>andong>ar, 283 rooms• Four Points by Sheraton Song>andong>akan, 299 rooms• Citadines Uplong>andong>s Kuching, 215 rooms• Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa Sarawak, 118 roomsNew hotels in 2013• Pullman Kuala Lumpur Bangsar, 513 rooms,• Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 482 rooms• Novotel Melaka, 320 rooms• Ibis Styles Lahad Datu, 108 rooms• Ibis Styles Ipoh, 118 rooms• Hilton Garden Inn Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 255 rooms• Best Western Premier Melaka, 300 rooms• UCSI City Islong>andong> Hotel Kuching, 360 rooms• Seri Chenang Resort & Spa Langkawi, 6 villasNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureLegolong>andong> Malaysia is Malaysia’s first international themepark. Opened in Nusajaya, Johor on September 15, thefamily-friendly theme park offers more than 40 rides ong>andong>attractions.www.legolong>andong>.com.myPuteri Harbour Family Theme Park offers four floorsof fun for the family. Located in Nusajaya, Johor, the newattraction features three distinct areas that are themedafter popular cartoon characters. Lat’s Place is a themedrestaurant that celebrates the famous village boy cartooncharacter, Lat; Sanrio Hello Kitty Town comprises variouswalk-through attractions, interactive activities ong>andong>rides; ong>andong> The Little Big Club is home to six themed interactiveplay zones.www.playtime.com.myKLIA2 is a new airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, slatedto open in April 2013. Spanning at least 257,000m 2 ,it will allow seamless connectivity between low-cost ong>andong>full-service carriers. There will be 60 gates, eight remotestong>andong>s, 80 aerobridges ong>andong> a retail space of 32,000m 2 toaccommodate 225 retail outlets. It is designed to cater for30 million passengers a year, with the provision to expong>andong>to 45 million.www.klia2.infoDiethelm Travel GroupHang Tuah Village in Malacca is a replica of the villageof the 15 th century legendary Malay warrior, Hang Tuah.The RM132-million project is scheduled for completionin 2013, ong>andong> will include replicas of traditional Malayhouses during the Malacca Sultanate, a Hang Tuah museum,an auditorium, a hall ong>andong> a cultural stage.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2012F1 Petronas Malaysian Grong>andong> Prix (March 22-24)www.malaysiangp.com.mySabah Fest (May 4-5)www.motour.gov.myDIETHELM’SHOT PICKDig into Malaysia’sculinary melting potOne interesting wayto explore Malaysiais by eating yourway through thevariety of cuisinefound in multiracialKuala Lumpur.Top recommendationsareBijan Restaurant, amodern restaurantin which traditionalMalay cuisine istaken out of hawkerstalls ong>andong> servedagainst a lushbackdrop; The Noble House, which serves Chinesegourmet creations ong>andong> delicacies with a moderntouch in a contemporary setting; ong>andong> Spice of India,an Indian fine dining restaurant that is also perfectfor corporate dining events.Intrepid travellers who desire a more unpolishedlocal eperience should make a eeline for alanAlor. The area teems with hawker stalls parked alongthe street, each selling a different local dish. The varietycan be overwhelming for first-timers, who mayhave some difficulty deciding on what to eat.Colours of 1Malaysia (May 18)www.motour.gov.myRainforest World Music Festival (June 28-30)rwmf.netEssentials in the cityFood Ice kacang ong>andong> chendol are local cold desserts goodfor beating the tropical heat. Ice kacang is a bowl of shavedice shaped like a mountain, drizzled with colourful syrupsong>andong> hiding red beans ong>andong> palm seeds in its base. This dessertis especially popular with children. Chendol is a milkyswirl of coconut milk, gula melaka (liquid palm sugar)ong>andong> green jelly made from flour.Quirky The best affirmative reply to any question or requestis “boleh”, which means “can do” in Bahasa Malaysia.Tipping policy Tipping is usually not expected. Someestablishments include a service tax, otherwise, about 10per cent of total bill if service warrants it.Shopping Purchase a unique sayong (gourd shaped carafe)from Karyaneka in Kuala Lumpur.How to maximise two hours of free time Visit CentralMarket in Kuala Lumpur which sells antiques, local paintings,hong>andong>icraft ong>andong> souvenirs all under one roof. If onedesires more shopping options, Chinatown is locatednearby on Petaling Street. It is ideal for those looking for abargain or anything from herbal medicine ong>andong> dried foodto T-shirts, jewellery ong>andong> wallets.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Kuala Lumpur CraftComplex is a one-stop venue where one can learn aboutMalaysian hong>andong>icraft. The craft village conducts hong>andong>sondemonstrations ong>andong> interactive sessions, while thecraft museum displays a wide selection of hong>andong>icraft.There’s also a boutique where visitors can shop for souvenirs.Impressive lunch for clients Seri Angkasa RevolvingRestaurant in the KL Tower offers a 360º view of thecity from the diner’s seat. For RM88 nett per person, thelunch buffet offers a smorgasbord of Western, Chinese,Malay ong>andong> Indian dishes.Lunch on your own The upmarket Food Republic foodcourt at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur serves the best of Malaysia’sfood stalls in an air-conditioned environment.Late nights The stretch of pre-war double-storey housesat Changkat Bukit Bintang have been converted into restaurantsong>andong> bars.Electricity Socket type. Voltage is 240V AC at 50 cyclesper second. Stong>andong>ard three-pin square plugs ong>andong> sockets.Visa requirementsSingle-entry visas, valid for three months from date of issue,are issued to foreign nationals who require a visa toenter Malaysia for social visits. Those on business tripscan apply for multiple-entry visas instead, which are validfor three to 12 months from the date of issue.Indian ong>andong> mainlong>andong> Chinese citizens who wish to enterMalaysia for social visits can apply for multiple-entryvisas at a cost of RM100 for Indian citizens ong>andong> RM30 formainlong>andong> Chinese citizens.US citizens travelling for social, business or academicpurposes are exempted from visa requirements, ong>andong> thesame applies to nationals of all ASEAN countries (exceptMyanmar) for a stay of less than one month. A visa willbe required for stays exceeding 30 days, except for Bruneiong>andong> Singapore citizens.For Israeli nationals, visas are required ong>andong> permissionmust be granted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.Important contactsNTOTourism Malaysia is the promotional arm of the Ministryof Tourism. It has 42 overseas offices.Tel: (60-3) 8891-8000www.ong>tourismong>.gov.myMalaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, a subsidiaryof Tourism Malaysia, is a one-stop centre that coordinatesMICE activities in the country. For MICE enquiries,contact general manager, sales ong>andong> marketing, Ho YokePing, at pingho@myceb.com.my.Tel: (60-3) 2034-2090Fax: (60-3) 2034-2091www.myceb.com.myTravel trade associationsMalaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agentswww.matta.org.myMalaysia Inbound Tourism Associationwww.mitamalaysia.comMalaysian Association of Hotelswww.hotels.org.myMalaysian Association of Hotel Ownerswww.maho.org.myThe Malaysia Association of Convention ong>andong> ExhibitionOrganisers ong>andong> Supplierswww.maceos.com.myPATA Malaysia Chapterwww.pata.orgSkål International Kuala Lumpurwww.skalkl.orgCompiled by S PuvaneswaryAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


28 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013TheMaldivesGeneral overviewfcial name Repulic of aldiesCapital alPopulation Total area km 2Currency Ruyaafcial language Dhiehi ut English isidely spoken• Ne DelhiINDIASRI LANKA• alTHE MALDIVESINDIANOCEANNika•Angaga•al•AlimathaTHE MALDIVESPolitical unrest affected ong>tourismong> in the Maldives in the first few monthsof 2012, following the resignation of president Mohamed Nasheed onFebruary 7. The Chinese market was worst hit by the developments –temporary suspension of charters led to a drop in arrivals.However, with new destination promotion campaigns ong>andong> road showsin key markets, the ong>tourismong> industry rebounded ong>andong> by end-Septemberarrivals rose 3.4 per cent to 691,608.Despite the problems, the government is still hopeful of reaching itstarget of one million tourist arrivals in 2012. The Maldives marks 40years of ong>tourismong> in 2013 ong>andong> the fourth edition of the five-year masterplan(2012-2016) is under preparation.ClimateAverage temperature 25°C to 31°CAverage rainfall 1,786.4mm to 2,277.8mmAverage humidity 80 per centBest time to visitThe Maldives has year-round tropical weather. There aretwo monsoons – the south-west from May to Octoberong>andong> the north-east from November to April.Peak travel season falls between December ong>andong> April,when the weather is calm with the least rainfall. Februaryong>andong> March are the sunniest ong>andong> ideal for European holidaymakersseeking refuge from winter back home. However,the off-peak season attracts many Chinese visitorswhen prices are also on the low side. Regular showers areexpected in June ong>andong> July.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Total international visitor arrivals from January to Septemberrose just marginally to 691,608, or 3.4 per centover the same period in 2011. The average length of stayof visitors was 6.8 days.Europe continues to be largest source of visitors to theMaldives by region, contributing 57.7 per cent of tourists,with the second largest regional group being Asia, providing35.9 per cent of traffic.Trends show that gradually 50 per cent of travellers tothe Maldives are expected to come from Asia, particularlyChina.China is showing strong growth, while Maldivian authoritiesare also banking on India’s sizable middle-classthat travels ong>andong> relishes high-class hotels ong>andong> top-notchcuisine.As per ong>statisticsong> in 2012, the industry faced many cancellations– 6,700 bed nights – from February 10 to theend of the month, owing to the political unrest, accordingto the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation(MMPRC).Subsequently, a sustained marketing ong>andong> promotioncampaign, which included road shows in selectedcapitals ong>andong> familiarisation trips for journalistsfrom key source markets, turned the situation aroundong>andong> brought about a 14.5 per cent year-on-year growthin July.Meanwhile, the MMPRC expected some 100,000 arrivalsin August, the peak month for inbound ong>tourismong>,but recorded slightly less than 80,000 visitors.Top 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina . .ermany .taly .Russia .rance .apan .Siterlong>andong> .ndia .orea .Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January - September)Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina . .ermany .Continued next columnContinued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2012Countries Arrivals % Changetaly .Russia .rance .apan .Siterlong>andong> .ndia .South orea .Source: inistry of TourismTourism receiptsYears Receipts % Change S. million . estimated S illion Source: aldies nlong>andong> Reenue AuthorityHotel ong>statisticsong>As of end-September 2012, the Maldives had in operation99 resorts with 22,177 beds, 18 hotels with 1,567 beds ong>andong>75 live-aboard safari vessels with 1,125 beds.Between January ong>andong> September, average occupancywas 75.8 per cent at resorts, 30.5 per cent at hotels ong>andong>27.2 per cent for live-aboard safari vessels.New hotels in 2012/2013• JW Marriott Maldives Gaakoshibee Resort & Spa,100 villas• Radisson Plaza Resort Maldives, 281 villas• Radisson Blu Hotel Maldives Hulhumale, 250 rooms• Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives, 140 villasSource: inistry of TourismNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureNew international connections on Maldivian, thecountry’s international airline, began November this year.The carrier introduced flights to Chennai ong>andong> Mumbaiin India ong>andong> to the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. Italso commenced daily flights to the south Indian city ofThiruvanathapuram (also known as Trivong>andong>rum).Meanwhile, Mega Maldives Airlines announced it waslaunching new routes connecting the capital with Seoul,Melbourne, Johannesburg, Tokyo ong>andong> two points in Germany.It has added a third aircraft to its fleet, a Boeing757-200W, to support existing services between Mal ong>andong>Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing ong>andong> Chengdu.There has been no word yet on when these services areexpected to commence.Two international airports in Hanimadhoo ong>andong> Ganare being planned to serve the southern ong>andong> northern atolls.These future facilities will help to support the currentIbrahim Nasir International Airport. The move is part ofthe Maldives’ fourth edition of its five-year ong>tourismong> masterplan,covering 2012 to 2016, which places an emphasison developing new airports as the main infrastructure forong>tourismong>.Subsix at the Niyama, Per Aquum’s newest resort in theMaldives, opened as the world’s first underwater club inSeptember. Access to the club is via a staircase from Edge,an overwater restaurant, taking guests six metres belowthe surface of the Indian Ocean.Down below, guests will find themselves in an intimateclub with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding three sidesof the structure. The club has a bar ong>andong> DJ console, while seating is spaced carefully to allow unobstructed views of exoticmarine life.Essentials in the city – MaléFood Give addubondi a try. It is a long, coconut-basedcong>andong>y which comes wrapped in a banana leaf. Find it atthe local market.Quirky In October 2009, the Maldives held a cabinetmeeting at the bottom of the ocean, with ministersdressed in scuba gear. Communication relied on hong>andong>signals. Chaired by then-president Mohamed Nasheed,it was meant to draw global attention to climate change.It was also the first-ever cabinet meeting held underwa-


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 29Breathtaking views of the Indian Oceanare in abundance in the MaldivesVianta y Ta Coral Reef aldiester. Now that’s an idea for event planners heading to theMaldives.Tipping policy A service charge of 10 per cent is usuallyadded to the bill but customers may choose to leavea tip.Shopping Mal, the capital city of the Maldives, issmall – spanning only 2km 2 – but there are plenty ofsouvenir shops on Chaong>andong>hanee Magu to keepvisitors occupied. These shops sell items suchas thudu kuna, a mat woven with local naturalfibres. However, note that the export of products madeof turtle shell, black coral, pearl oyster shell ong>andong> red coralis banned.How to maximise two hours of free time Panini, the24-hour lobby caf at Traders Hotel Maldives on AmeerAhmed Magu in Mal, offers light refreshments ong>andong> achance to socialise. There are also numerous seaside cafesalong the seafront, allowing one to gaze at the sea whilesipping coffee.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Visit the lively fish marketon the northern tip of Mal ong>andong> see a stunning variety offish such as large tuna, sailfish ong>andong> swordfish, or visit thefruit ong>andong> vegetable market next door, all within a stone’sthrow of any hotel on this tiny islong>andong> capital.Impressive lunch for clients Located on top of the HulhumalFerry Terminal, the Sea House is said to be themost fasionable caf in town, with its pleasant sun deckfrom where dolphins are occasionally spotted. Food isgood while the coffee ong>andong> the lemonade, great.Lunch on your own The Seagull Caf is a popular outdoordining spot in Male. It boasts a wide range of homemadeItalian ice-cream – the perfect remedy for swelteringdays. The caf also good for a hearty breakfast, quicklunch or just a cup of aromatic Italian coffee. It is opendaily, from 09.00 to midnight every Saturday to Thursday,Diethelm Trael roupDETHESHOT PICKAn underwater wonderlong>andong>for the childrenThe aldies is knon for eing one of the est diing spots in the orld ong>andong> eploring the onders ofthe ocean is no longer an eperience eclusie toadults. Children from the age of e can no taketheir rst underater reaths alongside the reefs ithchildrens diing courses offered at Conrad aldiesRangali slong>andong>.The young ones can eplore the natural eautyof the aldiian ocean ithits soft hite song>andong>s ong>andong>safe shallo lagoons full ofrightlycoloured sh hileeing guided in a fun ong>andong>safe ay through the asicsof diing under the directcare ong>andong> superision of PADnstructors.Beginner classes take place near the coral gardens of the thaa undersea restaurant. nce they arecondent the children ill graduate to the irantreef that runs the length of the luury resorts mainislong>andong>.ong>andong> from 16.00 to midnight every Friday.Late nights There are no nightlife venues in Mal.Electricity 230-240V, three-pin round or rectangularblade plugs or two-pin flat blade.Visa requirementsVisitors of all nationalities travelling with a valid passportare granted a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided theyalso possess sufficient funds ong>andong> a return ticket. Visa extensionsmay be obtained at the Department of Immigrationong>andong> Emigration in Mal.Important contactsNTOThe Ministry of Tourism, Arts ong>andong> Culture is the Maldives’government body charged with developing strategiesto increase ong>tourismong> revenue, gain investor confidencefor ong>tourismong> ong>andong> formulating ong>andong> enforcing stong>andong>ards fordestination marketing ong>andong> promotion.Tel: (96-0) 332-3224/ (96-0)3323226Fax (96-0) 332-2512www.ong>tourismong>.gov.mvTravel trade associationsMaldives Tourism Promotion Boardwww.visitmaldives.com/enMaldives Association of Travel Agents ong>andong> TourOperatorswww.matato.orgMaldives Association of Tourism Industrywww.matimaldives.comLiveaboard Association Maldiveswww.liveaboardassociation.mvMaldives Association of Yacht Agentswww.mayamaldives.comCompiled by Feizal SamathAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


30 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013MyanmarGeneral overviewOfficial Name Republic of the Unionof MyanmarCapital Nay Pyi TawPopulation 60 millionTotal Area 676,577km 2Currency KyatOfficial Language MyanmarCHINAINDIA MYANMAR•Nay Pyi Ta• BangkokMALAYSIAINDIABagan •Ngapali •CHINA•ong>andong>alay•nle akeNay Pyi Taw•angonTHAILANDTypes of tourist for the year 2011Package tour groups26 per centForeign independent travellers 38 per centBusiness travellers21 per centOthers15 per centHotel ong>statisticsong>Ministry figures for 2011 show that Myanmar has 731 licensedhotels ong>andong> more than 25,002 rooms.Earlier this year, the ministry announced plans to increasethe number of hotel zones in Myanmar, with 11already created in key tourist regions ong>andong> more likely tocome. In May, the President’s Office gave the green lightto develop a new hotel zone at Inle Lake, ong>andong> the new250.9-hectare zone will be allocated to 16 hotels that havebeen waiting for planning approval, according to an officialfrom the Ministry of Environmental Conservationong>andong> Forestry.Meanwhile in central Yangon, historic state-ownedbuildings have been put up for tender to ease the city’sshortage of hotel rooms. Local ong>andong> foreign companiesalike have been invited to bid on the properties for conversioninto hotels on long term leases. Singapore currentlytops foreign investment in Myanmar’s hotel sector,followed by Thailong>andong>, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia ong>andong>Britain.Global hotel chains, including US-based StarwoodHotels & Resorts ong>andong> Marriott International have alsoexpressed interest in running hotels in Myanmar.Political developments over the past year have opened the window onMyanmar as a new market for ong>tourismong>. With sanctions ong>andong> travel boycottslifted in recognition of reforms made, Myanmar is fast becominga hot destination not only for travel, but also for investments.Arrivals are expected to rise by approximately 30 per cent or morethis year, following a similar increase in 2011, say industry sources.Statistics show that seven out of Myanmar’s 10 source markets comefrom Asia, with Thailong>andong> ong>andong> Japan in the lead with 48,014 ong>andong> 23,242arrivals respectively in the first seven months of 2012. While Asiancountries will continue to supply the majority of visitors, strong growthis likely in previously nascent Western markets because of Myanmar’simproving international image.ClimateAveragetemperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity20°C to 24°C (October toMarch)5,000mm (coastal region)Below 1,000mm (central region)66 to 82.6 per centBest time to visitMyanmar can be visited all year round. Myanmar enjoysa tropical climate, which is roughly divided into three seasons.The winter season, from October to February, withaverage temperatures between 20°C ong>andong> 24°C, is the besttime to visit.The summer season starts from March through Maywith average temperatures between 30°C ong>andong> 35°C, whilethe monsoon runs from June through September withaverage temperatures between 25°C ong>andong> 30°C.Yangon normally receives early morning ong>andong> afternoonshowers while rainfall in Bagan ong>andong> Mong>andong>alay isvery low. The weather around Inle ong>andong> Shan State is quitepleasant all year round, but nights are cold from Decemberto February.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Myanmar received almost 300,000 foreign visitors fromJanuary to July this year, up 37.5 per cent year-on-year,based on figures from the Ministry of Hotels ong>andong> Tourism.More than 60 per cent of visitors were from Asia, including48,014 from Thailong>andong> – the single largest groupby nationality – followed by Japan with 23,242, Chinawith 22,283 ong>andong> South Korea with 17,799.Europe accounted for 65,300 visitors, representing 23.3per cent of total arrivals. France led the way with 15,094arrivals, the UK with 11,124 ong>andong> Germany with 10,077.Top 10 source markets in 2011CountriesArrivalsThailong>andong> 61,331China 35,181Malaysia 23,286South Korea 22,507Japan 21,264US 20,487France 19,288Singapore 15,386Taiwan 15,362Germany 13,245Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January - July)CountriesArrivalsThailong>andong> 48,014Japan 23,242China 22,283US 18,285South Korea 17,799Malaysia 15,916France 15,094Singapore 12,689Taiwan 11,509UK 11,124Source: Ministry of Hotels ong>andong> TourismTotal number of hotels, motels ong>andong> guesthouses in keydestinationsCitiesNo of hotelsYangon 193Mong>andong>alay 76BaganInle Lake 42Pyin Oo Lwin 34Nay Pyi Taw 31Chaungtha BeachKalay 24Nge Saung BeachTaunggyi 17Room rate by star ratingStar ratingFive-starFour-starThree-starTwo-starOne-starNon-ratedSource: Ministry of Hotels ong>andong> TourismPrice rangesUS$180-182US$120-174US$90-115US$50-75US$35-50US$20-30New hotels in 2012• Hotel 7 Mile angon, 53 rooms• Green Hill Hotel angon, 108 rooms• Jade City Hotel Nay Pyi Taw, 90 roomsNew hotels in 2013• Centrepoint Towers Hotel angon, 270 rooms• Nawarat Hotel angon, 100 rooms• Rose Garden Hotel angon, 60 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureGolden Myanmar Airlines, the country’s new internationalcarrier, is considering using Mong>andong>alay InternationalAirport as its base. The airline is planning to operatescheduled flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia ong>andong>Hong Kong.www.gmairlines.comThe Myanmar Hospitality & Tourism Conference willbe held at Traders Hotel, Yangon from February 26-28,2013, the product of an agreement between The MyanmarTourism Federation ong>andong> Sphere Conferences. Positionedas a gateway for investors, owners, developers ong>andong>operators of hospitality ong>andong> ong>tourismong> products to exploreopportunities available in Myanmar, the conference willoffer face-to-face meetings with local government offi-


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 31cials, associations ong>andong> industry leaders, ong>andong> the chance togain first-hong>andong> knowledge about the country’s ong>tourismong>masterplan.www.mhtc.sphereconferences.comOrient-Express’s Orcaella is a new river cruise that willtake to the Irrawaddy River in 2013. Sailing between Yangonong>andong> Bhamo, the four-deck boat will operate fromJanuary to April ong>andong> July to December. Each of Orcaella’s25 air-conditioned cabins feature floor-to-ceiling glassdoors that open up to river-facing balconies. There is anobservation deck, an all-day lounge ong>andong> bar, a swimmingpool, a fitness centre, a spa, as well as a resident doctor.It is suitable for corporate events too, with a deck that islarge enough for 70-80 people, offering enough space forthemed activities ong>andong> local entertainment on board, suchas movie nights, traditional dances ong>andong> musicians.Daily charter services to Nay Pyi Taw began onSeptember 9, operated by FMI Air Charter, a subsidiaryof First Myanmar Investment. The thrice-dailyangon-Nay Pyi Taw service is operated using the 44-seat ATR 42 ong>andong> 16-seat Beech 1900D, leased from staterunMyanma Airways. Flights depart at 07.00, 11.30 ong>andong>16.00.reservations@fmiaircharter.comNay Pyi Taw International Airport opened on December19, 2011, the third international airport after Mong>andong>alayong>andong> Yangon. The airport will hong>andong>le up to 65,000flights per year ong>andong> has a 3.6km runway, 69m high controltower, 10 passenger boarding bridges ong>andong> a capacityof 50,000-60,000 flights annually. The airport can hong>andong>lefive million visitors a year.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Kachin Manaw Festival (January 9-10)This festival originated as part of nat or spirit worshipin the past. Celebrated by the Kachins, one Myanmar’smajor ethnic groups, the Manaw festival draws manyKachins local ong>andong> abroad who come to meet ong>andong> performthe Manaw dance at this event.Naga New Year Festival (January 12-16)The traditional Naga New ear Festival takes place everyJanuary in Sagaing Division. The festivities include thesetting up of the Naga ceremonial pole, in a ceremony attendedby the Naga clans in traditional costumes, ong>andong> theNew ear ceremony itself.Thingyan Water Festival (April 13-16)Locals celebrate the Thingyan Water Festival by splashingwater at each other. Stages are set up along the street forpeople to ambush others, making any attempt to avoidgetting drenched futile.Taung Byone Nat Festival (August 14-21)Held every year near Mong>andong>alay, Taung Byone Nat Festivalis one of Myanmar’s loudest ong>andong> most colourful celebrations,held to honour the Taung Byone spirit brothers, UMin Gyi ong>andong> U Min Galay. It draws mediums ong>andong> devoteesfrom all over the country, as well as curious tourists.Festivities last several days, leading up to the day of thefull moon in the lunar month of Wagaung.Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival (November 11-17)Taunggyi, the capital of the Southern Shan State, hostshot air balloon competitions during the annual TazaungdineLighting Festival, which usually occurs around end-October to early-November. Day balloons come in theshape of pagodas or animals such as elephants, dragonsor ducks, while the night balloons are huge elongated paperballs with small multicoloured paper lanterns hangingfrom their sides. Fireworks are tied to these balloonsong>andong> set off in mid-air.Essentials in the cityFood Try shan noodles, a dish made of rice noodles in aspicy tomato sauce with pickled radish, cilantro, peanuts,ong>andong> chicken. It is favoured as a breakfast dish or an eveningsnack.Tipping policy From 500 Kyat (US$0.60) for a local restaurantto 2,000-3,000 Kyat for international stong>andong>ardhotels ong>andong> restaurants.Shopping Local souvenirs, fake antiques ong>andong> crafts fromall over Myanmar can be found at Bogyoke Aung SanMarket, also known as Scott Market, in Yangon. For antiques,Zaw Zaw Antique Shop in Dhammazedi Road,Diethelm Travel GroupDIETHELM’SHOT PICKThe art of fine foodin MyanmarBoth a restaurant ong>andong> a akery offering ne foodSharky’s is the de facto place to go for fine-foodconnoisseurs in Yangon. Situated on DhamazediRoad, the eatery stars Ye Htut Win, a Yangon nativeong>andong> skillful cheesemaker who use only local productsfrom Myanmar.Patrons swearby the food, whichincludes an extensivemenu oflocal condiments,vegetables, salads,fresh breads suchas baguettes ong>andong>croissants, icecream, macaronsong>andong> thin-crustedgourmet pizzas, allmade with local produce. Last but not least are YeHtut Win’s famous cheeses.Sharky’s also exhibits the works of unusualBurmese artists ong>andong> an outdoor terrace guarded ytwo art pieces that take the form of cows is availablefor those who prefer to dine al fresco.Bahan Township, Yangon is one of the biggest antiquedealers around.How to maximise two hours of free time BogyokeAung San Museum was constructed in the former residenceof Bogyoke (General) Aung San, revoluntionaryong>andong> father of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San SuuKyi. Reopening to the public more than five years after itwas shuttered for renovations, the museum houses picturesong>andong> paintings of Aung San, excerpts from his mostShwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is recognised as the mostsacred Buddhist pagoda in the countrywell-known speeches ong>andong> a host of his personal possessions,including a collection of 240 books. The two-storeywooden residence in Bahan Township was built in 1921ong>andong> was home to Aung San ong>andong> family until his assassinationin July 1947.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Take a daytrip to TwanteVillage, located on the other side of the Yangon River. Accessis fairly straightforward via a local ferry from PensodenJetty in Yangon, then a local taxi. The ride willbe uncomfortable but interesting, giving the traveller aglimpse of life on ong>andong> along the famous Twante Canal.Stop by Shwesong>andong>aw Pagoda for a quick visit, then hopon a trishaw to Twante to admire traditional pottery atthe many workshops there.Impressive lunch for clients The newly-opened SummerPalace Chinese restaurant in Traders Hotel ong>andong> TigerHill in Chatrium Hotel are best for those hankering for ataste of the Far East.Lunch on your own Check out the roadside food stallsalong Anawrahta ong>andong> Sule Pagoda Road that serve localong>andong> Indian dishes. For Chinese food, go to 19 th street inChinatown within Latha Township.Late nights GN Bar in angon International Hotel, 50 thStreet in Botataung Township, BME 2 on University Avenuein Kamayut Township are popular venues for thoselooking for nightlife options.Electricity Single phase voltage of 220-230V ong>andong> a frequencyof 50 Hz, primarily two-pin sockets.Visa requirementsA tourist visa must be obtained in advance from Myanmar’sembassies or consulates abroad ong>andong> is valid for astay of 28 days. A pre-arranged visa-on-arrival is applicableonly to tourists buying tour packages with authorisedMyanmar-based travel companies.Subject to approval by the Ministry of Hotels ong>andong> Tourism,the visa-on-arrival (VOA) must be arranged at least10 days prior to the travel date. However, the ministry willmake the final decision on visa approval. When the visais approved, the company will notify the applicant, airlineong>andong> airport. The applicant will receive an approval letterthat can be presented at the airport’s immigration counterin Myanmar, after which the immigration officer willperform a series of checks ong>andong> then issue the visa.Several types of visas are available, including a 28-daytourist visa (US$30, non-extendable), a 70-day businessvisa (US$40, extendable), 28-day social visa (US$40, extendable)ong>andong> 24-hour transit visa (US$18).As a special case, Myanmar issues VOAs to travellersbrought back from Cambodia’s Phnom Penh ong>andong> SiemReap, ong>andong> China’s Guangzhou, after Myanmar AirwaysInternational debuted flights to the two destinations in2011.Important contactsNTOThe Ministry of Hotels ong>andong> Tourism (MHT) does nothave ong>tourismong> representation overseas, but it appointsabout 30 ong>tourismong> companies abroad for destination promotion.Myanmar is also being promoted ong>andong> marketedthrough the ASEAN Promotional Chapters for Tourismin Seoul, Sydney ong>andong> Beijing. The country’s embassiesong>andong> consulates overseas are able to disseminate ong>tourismong>ong>informationong> in their respective host countries ong>andong> MHTregularly distributes ong>tourismong> collaterals ong>andong> ong>tourismong> ong>informationong>through these offices.Tel: (95-67) 406-056www.myanmarong>tourismong>.orgTravel trade associationsMyanmar Tourism Boardwww.ong>tourismong>myanmar.orgMyanmar Marketing Committeewww.myanmar-ong>tourismong>.comUnion of Myanmar Travel Associationwww.umtanet.orgCompiled by Rahul KhannaAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


32 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Continued from previous columnTop 10 source markets in 2011ThePhilippinesHong ong . .Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January - August)General overviewfcial name Repulic of thePhilippinesCapital anilaPopulation . millionTotal area km Currency Philippine pesofcial languages ilipino ong>andong> EnglishTourist arrivals to the Philippines reached 2.9 million during the firsteight months of 2012, a respectable 9.8 per cent growth over the sameperiod in 2011, buoyed by a host of factors including the new ong>tourismong>campaign It’s More Fun in the Philippines, increased regional ong>andong> domesticair links from budget carriers, ong>andong> major events such as the AsianDevelopment Bank Board of Governors meeting.China, the fastest growing ong>andong> the fourth biggest source market, managed20 per cent growth to record 179,879 arrivals during the eightmonthperiod, despite the ban on group tours to the Philippines imposedin May due to a political stong>andong>off between the two countries.Though lifted in October, the impact of China’s travel ban lingers on,prompting the Department of Tourism (DoT) to scale down its 2012 arrivalstarget to 4.5 million from 4.6 million previously.ClimateAverage temperatureAverage rainfallAverage humidity26.6°C965mm to 4,064mm77 per centBest time to visitThe Philippines is coolest from November to February,while hot ong>andong> dry weather dominates between March ong>andong>May. Rain ong>andong> typhoon occur from June to September,ong>andong> respite in the form of fair weather comes only in October.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>The Philippines drew a total of 3.9 million arrivals in2011, ong>andong> the first eight months of 2012 saw 2.9 millionvisitors.Asia remains a crucial region for the destination’song>tourismong> industry. According to data dating back to2010, six of the 10 major source markets are Asian –South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore ong>andong> HongKong.Between January ong>andong> August 2012, these six marketsprovided 51 per cent of total arrivals to the Philippines.South Korea has maintained its position as top sourcemarket, posting an annual double-digit growth since2010. The mainlong>andong> Chinese market also registered double-digitgrowth since 2010.Total tourist arrivals2010 3.5 million2011 3.9 million2012 (January to August) 2.9 millionCHINA• Banaue• Hong ong Baguio •anilaanila• THE PHILIPPINES• BangkokTHEBoracay•loilo•PHILIPPPINES• Ceu• Singapore•akartaamoanga •Top 10 source markets in 2010Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth orea .S .apan .China .Australia .Taian .Hong ong .Singapore .Canada . .Top 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth orea .S .apan .China .Taian .Australia .Singapore .Canada .Continued next columnDaao•Countries Arrivals % ChangeSouth orea .S .apan .China .Taian .Australia .Singapore .Canada .Hong ong . .Source: Department of TourismNew hotels in 2012MANILA• Ascott Bonifacio Global City, 220 rooms• Best Western Premier F1 Hotel, 243 rooms• Best Western Plus Antel Hotel, 210 rooms• Holiday Inn Suites Makati, 349 rooms• Tune Hotel Makati, 213 rooms• Tune Hotel Ermita, 167 roomsCLARK AND ANGELES CITY• Best Western The Mint Hotel, 52 rooms• Tune Hotel Angeles City, 165 roomsPALAWAN• Apo Hotels, 108 rooms• Go Hotels Puerto Princesa, 108 rooms• Pangulasian Islong>andong> Resort El Nido, 42 villas• Princess Garden Islong>andong> Resort & Spa, 78 roomsVISAYAS• Ambassador in Paradise Resort Boracay, 47 rooms• Nong>andong>ana Boracay, 92 rooms• The District Boracay, 48 rooms• Go Hotels Tacloban, 98 rooms• Go Hotels Bacolod, 102 rooms• Go Hotels Dumaguete, 102 rooms• The Bellevue Resort Bohol, 159 rooms• Tune Hotel Cebu, 150 roomsNew hotels in 2013MANILA• The Fairmont Makati, 280 rooms• Raffles Makati, 32 suites• Worldhotels ong>andong> Residences Makati, 401 rooms• Solaire Manila Hotel, 500 rooms, suites ong>andong> villasPALAWAN• Mvenpick Resort & Spa Huma Islong>andong>, 80 bungalowsVISAYAS• MJ Hotel, 84 roomsMINDANAO• Park Inn by Radisson Davao, 204 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureSolaire Resorts & Casino Manila, one of the four integratedgaming ong>andong> leisure facilities at EntertainmentCity along Manila Bay, will in 1Q2013 commence thefirst phase of its operations. Solaire Manila Hotel, a grong>andong>ballroom for 1,600 pax, ong>andong> some 18,500m 2 gaming spacewill be open for business.www.solairemanila.comSM Mall of Asia Arena is the newest indoor entertainmentong>andong> sporting event destination in the country. Thevenue, fronted by a unique eye-shaped facade, contains64,085m 2 of space ong>andong> seating capacity for 15,000.mallofasia-arena.comSMX Davao Convention Center boasts 5,400m 2 of exhibitionong>andong> meeting space for up to 5,000 people. Its hotelcomponent, Park Inn by Radisson Davao, will open in1Q2013.


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 2011/2012 33Aura Pavilion at Bonifacio Global City will provide2,000m 2 of MICE space, including three halls ong>andong> ninemeeting rooms, when it opens in early 2013.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Philippine MICE Conference (March 6 to 9)The country’s premier annual ong>tourismong> event focusing onthe MICE market takes place from March 6-9, 2013, inthe city of Davao.www.dotpcvc.gov.phPahiyas (May 14 to 15)A visual ong>andong> culinary treat, this harvest festival in Lucban,Quezon is marked by kiping, leaf-shaped ong>andong> multi-colouredrice paste wafers that adorn the facades of housesin the most creative ong>andong> decorative ways, together withfruits ong>andong> flowers. The festival is also a chance for thetraveller to tuck into the best of local cuisine ong>andong> delicaciesin this thanksgiving.www.visitmyphilippines.comKadayawan sa Dabaw (August 17-18)Davao’s most popular ong>andong> colourful fiesta is a celebrationof life, giving thanks for the gifts of nature ong>andong> thewealth of culture. Celebrations are capped by a paradeof the ten tribes of Davao, each donning its unique costumesong>andong> dancing to tribal music.www.visitmyphilippines.comGiant Lantern Festival (December 21)Lanterns, 5.5m in diameter ong>andong> fitted with 7,000 blinkinglights, go on parade in San Fernong>andong>o, Pampanga tomedleys of Christmas songs.www.visitmyphilippines.comEssentials in the city – ManilaFood Savour these lip-smacking delights while in Manila:adobo – chicken, pork or both served in a garlickystew with vinegar ong>andong> soy sauce as base; lechon de leche –slow-roasted baby pork with crispy skin; sinigang – soupsoured with tamarind ong>andong> served with pork, beef, chicken,fish or shrimp.Quirky Filipinos show respect to their elders by callingolder men tito (uncle) ong>andong> women tita (aunt) ong>andong> thosejust a bit older kuya (elder brother) ong>andong> ate (elder sister),even if they’re strangers. In the vernacular, thank you issalamat, but salamat po when speaking to the elderly.Tipping policy Tipping is expected for service, ong>andong> 10per cent of the total bill is the stong>andong>ard amount. However,some bills do include a service charge.Shopping Purchase hong>andong>icrafts, basketry, hong>andong>wovencloths, ethnic stuff ong>andong> embroidered fineries at Kultura;pearls ong>andong> gemstones at Festival Mall in Alabang; ong>andong>looms ong>andong> antiques in Malate ong>andong> Ermita.How to maximise two hours of free time ExploreGreenbelt in the Makati CBD, on foot. Sample local merienda(afternoon snacks) in any of the outdoor restaurantsor simply relax by the garden around the Don BoscoChurch.Impressive lunch for clients Fête them at La Cocina deTita Moning, an ancestral home turned into an elegantfine dining restaurant, or at Sala Bistro in Makati for Europeanfine dining.Lunch on your own For something local ong>andong> fuss-free,chow down on the grub served at local fastfood outletssuch as Mang Inasal, Chow King ong>andong> Razon’s.Late nights Manila is a hotspot for late night revelry.Clubs, music lounges ong>andong> sing-along bars are in abundance.Live music entertainment is a staple among deluxehotels ong>andong> there’s always a concert or stage play takingplace somewhere.Electricity 220V AC is the common stong>andong>ard. 110V AC isalso used, especially in major hotels.Visa requirementsVisitors from countries with diplomatic relations to thePhilippines may enter ong>andong> stay for 21 days provided theyalready have an outbound ticket ong>andong> a passport valid forat least six months beyond the period of stay.A tourist visa is needed for those planning to stay formore than 21 days. Chinese nationals, including citizensof Hong Kong ong>andong> Taiwan, will need a special permitfrom the Philippine embassy or consulate.Important contactsNTODepartment of Tourism (DoT) was started in the 1950sas a private initiative but is now the primary governmentagency for encouraging, promoting ong>andong> developing ong>tourismong>for the Philippines. The DoT has 23 overseas offices.Tel: (63-2) 523-8411www.ong>tourismong>.gov.phTourism Promotions Boardwww.dotpcvc.gov.phTravel trade associationsPhilippine Tour Operators Associationwww.philtoa.orgPhilippine Travel Agencies Associationwww.ptaa.org.phHotel ong>andong> Restaurant Associaton of the Philippineswww.hrap.org.phCompiled by Rosa OcampoAll ong>informationong> is correct at press timethe perfect location by the bayHyatt Hotel ong>andong> Casino Manila, located just off Manila’s famousRoxas Boulevard, offers the height of luxury ong>andong> breathtakingsunset views over Manila Bay.Spacious guestrooms offer a luxurious combination of comfortong>andong> style with world-renowned Filipino hospitality. Experience theaward-winning dining at Li Li Cantonese restaurant, The Fireplaceong>andong> Market Cafe to tempt the palate.Ideally suited for events planners seeking a higher level ofpersonalised service, the Ballroom ong>andong> Le Salon offer flexibilitywith state-of-art technology ong>andong> a team of dedicatedprofessionals to assist at every step of the way. For larger scaleevents, our location is ideally placed within minutes of thePhilippine International Convention Centre (PICC), World TradeCentre, SM Exhibition Centre ong>andong> the recently opened SM Arena.A destination surrounded by historical attractions, livelyentertainment ong>andong> grong>andong> shopping centres, experience Manila atits best with a level of comfort ong>andong> convenience that will make youfeel right at home. Hyatt. You’re More Than Welcome.+63 2 245 1234MANILA.CASINO.HYATT.COMThe trademark HYATT ong>andong> related marks are trademarks of Hyatt International Corporation.© 2012 Hyatt International Corp. All rights reserved.


34 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013SingaporeGeneral overviewOfficial name Republic of SingaporeCapital SingaporePopulation 5.2 millionTotal area 714.3km 2Currency Singapore dollarOfficial languages English, Malay,Mong>andong>arin ong>andong> Tamil• Bangkok• uala umpur•SNAPRE• akartaAASA• oodlong>andong>sChangi •rchard Road •Rafes Place •• arina BaySentosa •Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January to May)Countries Arrivals % ChangeIndonesia 1,112,527 14.5China 855,577 30.7Malaysia 481,878 11.0India 384,805 7.0Australia 384,341 1.2Philippines 299,366 -0.2Japan 292,181 18.3UK 204,569 -0.7Thailong>andong> 203,924 -2.9US 198,514 8.1Source: Singapore Tourism BoardTop 10 markets in ong>tourismong> receipts 1Q2012(S$ million)Indonesia 704China 658India 267Australia 256Japan 232Malaysia 217Philippines 200US 172UK 134Hong Kong 131Despite the uncertainty in the global economy, the outlook for Singapore’song>tourismong> sector is conservatively optimistic, with the SingaporeTourism Board (STB) forecasting 13.5-14.5 million visitor arrivals for2012, versus just over 13.1 million in 2011.During the first quarter of 2012, inbound arrivals grew by 15 per centyear-on-year to hit close to 3.6 million.Average room rate climbed to S$260.20 (US$213) between Januaryong>andong> July 2012, an 8.8 per cent rise on the same period in 2011. Averageoccupancy, on the other hong>andong>, remained stable at 87 per cent.ClimateAverage temperature 22°C to 34°CAverage rainfall 2,342.2mmAverage humidity 60 to 90 per centBest time to visitHeavy rains dominate between November ong>andong> February,while April is a hot ong>andong> humid month. Wet weather may,however, still persist during drier months, ong>andong> it is bestto be prepared for intermittent downpours throughoutthe year.Visitor arrival ong>statisticsong>2011 was a record year for Singapore’s ong>tourismong> industry,with almost all of its top 10 source markets, with the exceptionof the UK, showing significant increases.Overall, arrival figures grew by 13.1 per cent in2011 to 13.1 million, but owing to the ongoing uncertaintyin the global economy, year-on-year growth is anticipatedto range between a more modest 3.1-10.7 percent in 2012.During the first five months of 2012, Indonesia retainedits place as the top source market in terms of bothexpenditure ong>andong> arrivals. China continued to lag behindin second place for arrivals, followed by Malaysia. Duringthis period, the Philippines ong>andong> the UK showed a slightdecline, while Thailong>andong> shrank by 2.9 per cent.STB is making strategic strides to keep the growthmomentum going by focusing on quality ong>tourismong>. Thisdrive will be funded by an additional S$905 million warchest for initiatives such as the co-creation of innovativeong>tourismong> products ong>andong> events, ong>andong> the enhancement ofthe sector’s workforce capabilities.Total tourist arrivals2010 11.6 million, +20.2 per cent2011 13.2 million, + 13.1 per cent2012 (January-May) 5.9 million, +12.3 per centTotal arrival days for all international arrivals2010 45.6 million days2011 49.1 million days2012 (January-Mar) 12.8 million daysTop 10 source markets 2010Countries Arrivals % ChangeIndonesia 2,305,149 32.1China 1,171,337 25.0Malaysia 1,036,918 35.7Australia 880,486 6.0India 828,903 14.2Philippines 544,344 26.0Japan 528,817 7.9UK 461,714 -1.7Thailong>andong> 430,022 35.3US 416,990 12.5Source: Singapore Tourism BoardTop 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeIndonesia 2,592,222 12.4China 1,577,522 34.7Malaysia 1,140,935 10.0Australia 956,039 8.6India 868,991 4.8Philippines 677,723 24.5Japan 656,417 24.1Thailong>andong> 472,708 9.9Hong Kong 464,375 19.8UK 442,611 -4.1Source: Singapore Tourism BoardPercentage of BT-MICE to overall arrivals2008 29.7 per cent2009 27 per cent2010 27 per cent2011 33 per cent (estimated)Source: Singapore Tourism BoardHotel ong>statisticsong>Preliminary data from STB shows that occupancy ratesvaried slightly in the first seven months of 2012, hitting ahigh of 90 per cent in July, a peak period for both corporateong>andong> leisure-related events.Arrival figures will continue to outstrip hotel supplybetween 2012 ong>andong> 2014, which should continue to shoreup occupancy ong>andong> room rates. However, analysts anticipatea supply glut in the medium term, if the current rateof growth is not maintained.The average room rate in Singapore for January to Julywas S$260.20 (US$213), an 8.8 per cent increase on thesame period in 2011. Despite the anticipated slowdownin arrivals, room rates are still tipped to rise by betweenfive ong>andong> 10 per cent by end-2012.Horwath HTL projects an estimated 5,868 rooms tocome on stream between 2012 ong>andong> 2014, 65 per centof which will be mid-tier ong>andong> economy properties.Average occupancy rate/Average room rateOverall Overall Totalaverage average number ofoccupancy room rate rooms2010 85% S$217 39,0002011 86% S$245 49,7192012* 87% S$260.20 50,013Source: Singapore Tourism BoardHorath HT*2012 data covers only the months of January to JulyProjected number of rooms3,455 rooms for 2013 ong>andong> 760 in 2014, according to HorwathHTL, as of July 2012.New hotels in 2013• Aqueen Hotel Paya Lebar, 160 rooms• Carlton City Hotel, 386 rooms• Days Hotel Singapore at hongshan Park, 405 rooms• Ramada Singapore at hongshan Park, 391 rooms• Fairy Point Hill, 135 rooms• Holiday Inn Express (Clarke Quay), 400 rooms• Holiday Inn Express (Orchard), 220 rooms• One Farrer Hotel, 250 rooms• Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, Beach Road, 180 rooms• Sofitel So Singapore, 134 rooms• Westin Singapore Marina Bay, 301 roomsNew hotels in 2014• Aqueen Hotel Geylang, 100 rooms• Aqueen Hotel Tyrwhitt, 160 rooms


36 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013• UpRobertson Quay, 300 rooms• Patina Hotel, 200 rooms• Traders Orchard Gateway Singapore, 502 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureGardens by the Bay’s largest garden Bay South openedin June. Featuring two cooled conservatories ong>andong> a bevyof food ong>andong> beverage outlets, the garden is easily accessedvia a footbridge that runs through Marina Bay Song>andong>s.www.gardensbythebay.org.sgSingapore Tourism BoardThe Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore doubledSingapore’s berth capacity when it opened in May. The28,000m 2 facility, which is operated by SATS-Creuers,has helped to ease the capacity crunch at the SingaporeCruise Centre HarbourFront terminal.www.mbccs.com.sgEspa at Resorts World Sentosa is the UK-based spaoperator’s Asian flagship. Featuring Singapore’s first authenticTurkish hammam, guests are treated to pamperingspa rituals within the spa’s 10,000m 2 luxurious, verdantsurroundings.www.rwsentosa.comRiver Safari, Asia’s first river-themed wildlife park, opensin 1Q2013. Built over 12 hectares, the attraction features5,000 animals across 500 species.www.riversafari.com.sgKey events ong>andong> festivals 2013River Hong Bao (January 24 to February 1)www.riverhongbao.sgMosaic Music Festival (March)www.mosaicmusicfestival.comWorld Gourmet Summit (April 16 to 23)www.worldgourmetsummit.comSingapore Food Festival (July)www.singaporefoodfestival.com.sgF1 Singapore Grong>andong> Prix (September 20 to 22)www.singaporegp.sgZoukOut (December)www.zoukout.comEssentials in the cityFood Singapore’s diversity is reflected in its culinary delights.Hainanese chicken rice, laksa, chilli crab, char kwayteow ong>andong> rojak are must-tries.Quirky Singaporeans are not incapable of speaking theQueen’s English. They merely prefer to punctuate theirsentences with ‘lah’ or ‘loh’ for a Singaporean touch.Tipping policy Tipping is not a common practice in Singaporeas a 10 per cent service charge is usually includedin the bill.Shopping Explore Hai Lane for cutting-edge fashion orwong>andong>er down to Arab Street, Chinatown ong>andong> Little Indiafor unique home décor, hong>andong>icrafts ong>andong> accessories.How to maximise two hours of free time Wong>andong>eraround Marina Bay Song>andong>s, stopping at TWG for a cupof tea ong>andong> scones, before viewing eye-catching exhibitsat the ArtScience Museum. For a surreal experience, hoponto a gondola, ong>andong> be whisked along the resort’s indoorwaterways past gilded storefronts.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Head to Changi Pointong>andong> hop onto a rickety bumboat to Pulau Ubin, a rusticescape from the heady buzz of Singapore. Hire a bicycleong>andong> pedal past rubber plantations ong>andong> secluded beaches,before tucking into a seafood lunch.Impressive lunch for clients For a sublime experience,head to Restaurant Andr in the conservation districtof Bukit Pasoh. Helmed by Taiwanese chef ong>andong> ownerAndré Chiang, the 30-seater restaurant treats diners to aslick interpretation of Southern French nouvelle cuisine,peppered with Mediterranean touches.Lunch on your own Located within the Central BusinessDistrict, Forlino at One Fullerton provides lovers of allthings Italian with an unparalleled vantage view of Sin-Gardens by the Bay ong>andong> Marina Bay Song>andong>s areamong the latest ong>tourismong> stars in Singaporegapore’s Marina Bay. For cheaper eats ong>andong> a wide selectionof local ong>andong> Asian dishes, head to Lau Pa Sat FestivalMarket in the central business district.Late nights Visit Clarke Quay for its hedonistic danceclubs ong>andong> bars that feature live music of various genres.Electricity Singapore’s voltage is 220-240 AC, 50 Hz.Most hotels can provide a transformer to convert it to110-120 AC, 60 Hz.Visa requirementsForeigners holding travel documents issued by thefollowing countries will require either a business orsocial visit visa to enter Singapore:• Assessment level one countries Commonwealth of IndependentStates (Armenia, Azerbaian, Belarus, Georgia,Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Taikistan,Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan), Georgia, India,Myanmar, Nigeria, China ong>andong> holders of Hong KongDocument of Identity ong>andong> Macao Special AdministrativeRegion (MSAR) Travel Permit.• Assessment level two countries Afghanistan, Algeria,Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya,Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria,Tunisia, Yemen, ong>andong> holders of Palestinian AuthorityPassport, Temporary Passport issued by the UAE ong>andong>Refugee Travel Document issued by Middle East countries.Important contactsNTOThe Singapore Tourism Board (STB) was first establishedas the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board in 1964.It now has an extensive network of 22 regional offices ong>andong>two marketing representatives across eight regions.Apart from courting the leisure market, STB has aBusiness Travel & MICE Group to promote Singapore asa premier business events destination.Tel: (65) 6736-6622Fax: (65) 6736-9423www.yoursingapore.comSingapore Exhibition ong>andong> Convention Bureauwww.yoursingapore.com/content/mice/en.htmlTravel trade associationsNational Association of Travel Agents Singaporewww.natas.org.sgSingapore Hotel Associationwww.sha.org.sgAssociation of Singapore Attractionswww.singapore-attractions.comPATA Singapore Chapterwww.patasingapore.org.sgASEAN Tourism Associationwww.aseanta.orgCompiled by Linda HadenAll ong>informationong> is correct at press timeDiethelm Trael roupDETHESHOT PICKJoget to a different beat incolourful KatongThe Peranakans are descendents of 17 th centuryChinese ong>andong> Indian immigrants who marriednon-Muslim natives from the Malay Archipelago.Due to the assimilation of different cultures, mostPeranakans are fluent in two or more languages,such as Malay ong>andong> a Chinese dialect, regularly includingMalay words in their daily life like joget, or todance.A former Peranakan enclave, Katong retains adistinct laidback vibe ong>andong> Peranakan charm, reflectedin the malls ong>andong> shophouses that line thestreets. A visit to Rumah Bebe is a must when in theKatong area. Housed in a Peranakan shophouse, thestore stocks beautiful hong>andong>-made artworks such asbeaded shoes ong>andong> bags.Shoppers can tailormaketheir very ownbeaded products.Stop by the KatongAntique House to marvelat the various traditionalPeranakan costumes,crockery ong>andong> furnitureon display at thisshophouse. Antique enthusiasts will definitely findrare ong>andong> exquisite items to add to their collections.Making an advance appointment is recommended.


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 37Sri LankaGeneral overviewOfficial name Democratic SocialistRepublic of Sri LankaCapital ColomboLegislative capital Sri Jayewardenepura KottePopulation 20.6 millionTotal area 65,610km 2Currency Sri Lanka RupeeOfficial language Sinhala, Tamil ong>andong> English• Ne DelhiINDIAANAR• umai angon •SRI LANKA• ColomoINDIASRI LANKA•Anuradhapura• ong>andong>yColombo • Nuara Eliyaount•Lavinia • alledestination that hosts music concerts alongside conventions,exhibitions ong>andong> incentives.A major boost for the destination’s MICE efforts is themeeting of the Commonwealth heads of state ong>andong> governmentin November 2013. The high profile meeting isexpected to draw more than 2,000 delegates ong>andong> generatemassive publicity.Hotel ong>statisticsong>Hotels in Colombo have been made to abide by a minimumroom rate structure since March 7, 2011. Based onthis structure, a five-star hotel charges US$180, four-starUS$140, three-star US$90 ong>andong> two-star US$30-US$50(prices exclude taxes). However, city rates are negotiablefor group tours ong>andong> packages.Star-class hotels outside the capital city are allowed tocharge any amount.Meanwhile, there is rapid growth in the country’s hotellong>andong>scape, as the industry prepares for the massive boomin arrivals expected in 2016. New properties are comingup across Sri Lanka, particularly in the western, southernong>andong> eastern regions.Sri Lanka is also hoping to attract more than US$3 billionworth of ong>tourismong>-related investments over the nextthree years ong>andong> increase room capacity to 45,000.Average occupancy rate of four-star hotels2010 74.7 per cent2011 78.1 per centVisitors to the Sri Lankan capital after a three-year hiatus will notice aremarkable ong>andong> refreshing change in the environment ong>andong> long>andong>scape.Colombo is being rapidly transformed into one of the best garden citiesin Asia, with neat walkways ong>andong> pavements, jogging tracks, fountains,shopping malls, sports complexes ong>andong> green open spaces. The 96km Colombo-GalleSouthern Expressway opened last year, substantially easingaccess to the southern resorts in Sri Lanka.The development comes as the country targets 2.5 million tourists by2016, from a current count of more than 800,000 visitors.Hotels are being refurbished, new ones are opening ong>andong> an onlinevisa system was introduced in January 2012. An expressway linking thecountry’s only international airport at Katunayake – about 30km fromthe capital – to the city will open in early 2013. It will cut travel time byhalf. Domestic airports are also being renovated.ClimateAverage temperature 27°C to 29°CAverage rainfall 1,500mm to 2,100mmAverage humidity 79 per centBest time to visitSri Lanka is a round-the-year destination. For those whoseek the sun ong>andong> the sea in the south-western coastal area,the best time to visit is between November ong>andong> April. Thecentral highlong>andong>s are pleasantly cool ong>andong> relatively dryfrom January to April. Travel peaks from mid-Decemberto mid-January ong>andong> from March to April. Sri Lanka alsogets a tad busy in July ong>andong> August when festivals ong>andong> pageantsare held in the country.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Sri Lanka welcomed 693,772 visitors between Januaryong>andong> September 2012, up 16 per cent over the same periodin 2011.By region, East Europe registered the biggest growth,with arrivals leaping 52 per cent to 43,039, in the firstnine months of 2012. However, it was Western Europe, atraditionally high-performing market for the destination,that chalked up the highest number of arrivals – 269,169– with an 18.6 per cent increase from last year.South Asia came in second, with 169,927 arrivals, butyear-on-year growth was slower in 2012 at 3.1 per cent.By country, arrivals from India, Sri Lanka’s top sourcemarket, showed a marginal growth of 1.3 per cent to122,120.The UK, once Sri Lanka’s biggest source market,showed signs of recovery. It contributed 81,762 footfallsfrom January to September, a 3.5 per cent growth. In Septemberalone, there were 9.1 per cent more arrivals fromthe UK, compared to the same month a year ago.Meanwhile, ong>tourismong> earnings grew 24.2 per cent toUS$560 million in the first seven months of 2012.Total ong>tourismong> arrivals2010 654,476, +46.1 per cent2011 855,975, +30.8 per cent2012 (January-September) 693,772 , +16 per centSource: Sri Lanka Tourism Development AuthorityAverage length of stay in 201110 nightsTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 US$576 million, +64.6 per cent2011 US$839 million, +45.7 per cent2012 (January-July) US$560 million, +24.2 per centSource: Sri Lanka Tourism Development AuthorityAverage expenditure in 2011US$98 per tourist per dayArrivals targetSri Lanka aims to achieve 950,000 in arrivals in 2012 ong>andong>1.25 million in the following year. By 2016, the governmenthopes to welcome 2.5 million visitors ong>andong> generateUS$2.75 billion in annual foreign exchange earnings.MICE ong>tourismong> is also being actively promoted, withauthorities seeking to position Colombo as an excitingAverage occupancy rate of five-star hotels2010 76.8 per cent2011 78.7 per centSource: Sri Lanka Tourism Development AuthorityNew hotels 2013• Mvenpick Hotel Colombo, 224 rooms• The Taprobana, Balapitiya, 30 rooms• Club Waskaduwa Beach, Kalutara, 49 suite• Emerald Bay Hotel, Galle, 66 rooms (reopening afterfull closure for refurbishment)New attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureColombo Racecourse is a new mall that opened on thesite of a former racecourse on October 20, 2012. It ishome to many shops ong>andong> restaurants.The National Performing Arts Theatre, gifted by theChinese government ong>andong> one of the largest facilities inSouth Asia, opened in early 2012 in Colombo. The theatreis equipped with ultra modern facilities such as an auditoriumwith 1,288 seats, a library ong>andong> training facilities.18 Hairpin Bends on the picturesque Kong>andong>y-Mahiyangamaroad has been redeveloped into a beautiful sixkilometredrive with smooth, spacious bends to negotiatea vehicle. With this redevelopment, 18 Hairpin Bends isrid of its former reputation as a treacherous stretch formotorists. Driving along this new stretch of road offersone spectacular views of the surrounding long>andong>scape, withmany places to stop ong>andong> relax. It was reopened for trafficin May 2012.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Colombo Navam Perahera, Colombo (February 25)A grong>andong> ong>andong> colourful Buddhist pageant held in Colomboevery February, the event reflects the country’s strongreligious ong>andong> cultural traditions.SriLankan Airlines Pro Surf 2013, Arugam Bay (datesTBA)Organised by the flag carrier, this popular annual surfingcompetition sees the participation of more than 125world class surfing experts from Australia, the US, Germany,the UK, New Zealong>andong> ong>andong> Japan.Hikkaduwa Beach Festival, Hikkaduwa (dates TBA)More affectionally known as Hikka Fest, this annualbeach music festival is held in the southern coastal townof Hikkaduwa, once a popular retreat for hippies. Theevent draws local ong>andong> foreign music artistes ong>andong> DJs, ong>andong>is usually held in July.Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (November15-17)To be held for the first time in Sri Lanka, this prestigiousevent is attended by dozens of government chiefs fromthe Commonwealth nations.


38 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Commonwealth Investment Summit(November 15-17)This summit runs parallel to the Commonealth Heads ofGovernment meeting, ong>andong> is aimed at attracting potentialinvestors from the Commonwealth to look at investmentoptions in Sri Lanka.www.srilanka.travel,www.ceylonroots.comWatch the gentle giants play at thePinnawala Elephant OrphanageEssentials in the cityFood Try the mouth-watering lamprais, the ultimate SriLankan meal that is made with chicken or beef curry,brinjal curry, meatballs, seeni sambol, onion sambol, plantainfries ong>andong> rice, all wrapped in a banana leaf. Sambol isa spicy side dish, often made with chopped onions, salt,pepper ong>andong> chilli powder.Quirky It is common to see a ritual of lighting a traditionaloil lamp being performed at public events or functions.Oil in the lamp is recognised as life, while heat fromthe lit lamp generates warmth. In many homes, this ritualis practiced once in the morning ong>andong> once in the evening,ong>andong> has deeper spiritual significance.Tipping policy The rule of thumb is to offer betweenUS$1 to US$3 to hotel staff, ong>andong> US$5-US$15 per day toa tour guide or driver. You may also want to tip a porterUS$0.30 per bag.Shopping Stock up on traditional local hong>andong>icrafts asgifts for friends ong>andong> family back home at Laksala storesacross Sri Lanka. Laksala, also known as the Sri LankaHong>andong>icrafts Board, was established to preserve ong>andong> developtraditional skills of local craftsmen. It manages 140training centers, 23 sales outlets ong>andong> 14 provincial purchasingpoints.How to maximise two hours of free time Join a walkingtour of the bustling business district of Pettah, alongsidethe Colombo harbour where trade ong>andong> commerce beganin the country. Weave through the traditional bazaar,which was built by the Dutch in the 17 th century, ong>andong>browse a wide range of products, from fabrics ong>andong> footwearto watches ong>andong> rare first edition books. Marvel atthe Wolfendhal catholic church, built in 1642, ong>andong> severalancient Hindu temples.Insider’s tip for a half-day off Make a beeline for thecoastal fishing town of Negombo, 35km north of Colombo,ong>andong> watch local fishermen haul in their catch throughthe Dutch canal. Later, relax on the beach, visit some ofthe many churches or historical buildings in town, ormake a trip into the Muthurajawela sanctuary, a sprawling809-hectare plot which is home to crocodiles ong>andong>various types of birds.Impressive lunch for clients The Ministry of Crab is renownedfor serving up quality local crab dishes. Ownedby cricket superstars Mahela Jayawardene ong>andong> KumarSangakkara, ong>andong> Japanese cuisine expert Dharshan Munidasa,the restaurant also boasts a spectacular location.It sits in a 400-year-old building – once a Dutch hospital– in the heart of the Colombo.Lunch on your own Scarlet Room at the ColomboCourtyard boutique hotel in the capital city. The restaurantserves global cuisine, including many Mediterraneanspecialties.Late nights Club Mojo at the Taj Samudra Hotel is thego-to place in the capital city for live music ong>andong> all-nightrevelry. Another option in Colombo is Club Amuseumon Galle Road.Electricity, 230 to 240V, AC. Those travelling with laptopsare advised to bring power stabilisers.Visa requirementsNew visa rules came into force at the start of 2012, withSri Lanka terminating its 30-day free visa on arrival fornationals of 80 countries. Now, all travellers must applyfor an online visa – Electronic Travel Authorisationong>andong> pay a processing fee of US$50. Approval is promisedwithin 48 hours. The facility applies to both leisure ong>andong>brief business travel.Stays beyond 30 days require an extension, plus a separatevisa fee which varies according to the nationality ofthe traveller.Foreign nationals planning to visit for official or diplomaticpurposes should forward their applications toDiethelm Trael roupDETHESHT PCDiscover the true taste of SriLanka at Nuga GamaEasily the est kept secret in ton Nuga amaat Cinnamon rong>andong> Hotel in the heart of Colomopresents guests with an authentic Sri Lankan diningexperience.Nuga ama hich means Banyan Village isnamed after the 200-year-old banyan tree that sitsat the very centre of the restaurant. The rustic Nugaama harks ack to Sri ankas rural roots ong>andong> haseen aptly descried as the illage in the city.All meals are prepared by village womenfolk ong>andong>are ased on traditional recipes. hen its time todine, diners can choose from an array of foods. Amust-try is the traditional string hoppers ong>andong> hoppersaccompanied by katta sambol (a chili sambol madeith aldie sh ong>andong> the popular lack pork curry.After the meal, guests are offered ginger flavouredtea to complete the authentic Sri Lankan experience.the Department of Immigration & Emigration via therelevant Sri Lankan government ministries ong>andong> agencies,or overseas missions.www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/hkvisas_visit.htmwww.eta.gov.lkImportant contactsNTOSri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is responsiblefor all marketing ong>andong> promotional activities. It has oneoverseas office in the UK ong>andong> uses Sri Lankan diplomaticmissions in other countries to help promote the destination.The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority isthe apex body for the ong>tourismong> bureau.Tel: (94-11) 2426-900; (94-11) 2437-055, 59, 60www.srilanka.travel; www.sltda.gov.lkSri Lanka Convention Bureau is the government armthat monitors the development of the country’s businessevents industry. It functions under the Ministry of EconomicDevelopment.www.visitsrilanka.netTravel trade associationsSri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators, establishedin 1982, has 84 members.www.slaito.comIATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka, formed in 1988,has 87 members ong>andong> is affiliated to the Ceylon Chamberof Commerce.www.iata-agents.lkTourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka is affiliated tothe Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.www.chamber.lkTravel Agents Association of Sri Lanka, established in1974, is the national body of travel agents.www.visitsrilanka.orgThe Association of Small ong>andong> Medium Enterprises inTourism Sri Lanka, founded in 2005, has 79 members.It represents small ong>andong> medium-scale enterprises such ashotels, guest houses, restaurants ong>andong> travel agents.www.asmetsrilanka.comPATA Sri Lanka Chapter is affiliated to the CeylonChamber of Commerce ong>andong> has 72 members.www.patasrilanka.orgCompiled by Feizal SamathAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 39Thailong>andong>General overviewfcial name ingdom of Thailong>andong>Capital BangkokPopulation . millionTotal area km 2Currency Thai BahtOfficial Language ThaiCHINAMYANMARTHAILANDBangkok • VIETNAMMALAYSIAMYANMAR• Chiang Rai• Chiang ai• hon aen• SukhothaiBangkokCAMBODIA• o SamuiTHAILANDPhuket • • TrangMALAYSIAsurpass its 766 billion baht target this year.A concerted international marketing drive by TCEB isalso yielding result. International MICE revenues in 2011hit US$2.2 billion, with nearly 800,000 arrivals. With that,the MICE bureau has achieved its 2013 targets, makingThailong>andong>’s robust business events industry one to watch.In terms of key source markets for January to August2012, China has surpassed Malaysia as the top contributorof international ong>tourismong>. Growth rates are consistentlyhigh ong>andong> this is helping to stave off stagnant outboundtravel from traditional European markets, ong>andong> generatedemong>andong> during traditional low season periods.Total tourist arrivals2010 15.9 million, +12.6 per cent2011 19.2 million, +20.8 per cent2012 (January-August) 14.3 million, +8.6 per cent2012 (Target) 19.5 million2013 (Target) 22.2 millionTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 590 billion baht2011 786 billion baht2012 (January-March) 263 billion baht2012 (Target) 766 billion baht2013 (Target) 966 billion bahtSource: inistry of Tourism ong>andong> SportsShocking events of recent years are well ong>andong> truly behind Thailong>andong>, asthe ong>tourismong> industry records impressive growth. International arrivalsong>andong> ong>tourismong> revenues have grown at double-digit rates over the last twoyears, ong>andong> 2012 looks set to be another good year.There are significant shifts in ong>tourismong> trends however, with Asian marketsassuming more prominent positions against a stagnating Europeanmarket. China has overtaken Malaysia as the major source market, withRussia growing quickly.Thailong>andong> is trying to spur this growth with new campaigns to driveinternational arrivals towards the 22.2 million mark in 2013, while alsofostering high yield ong>tourismong>. The Tourism Authority of Thailong>andong> (TAT)is striving to grow revenues towards a target of two trillion baht (US$64.9billion) in 2015. The MICE sector will make a major contribution to thisfeat, as the Thailong>andong> Conventions ong>andong> Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) raisesthe country’s profile as an international destination, exceeding its owntargets well ahead of schedule.Even Thailong>andong>’s jaded hotel market has witnessed improvements, butit remains burdened by oversupply. Rapid growth in arrivals is providingmuch needed business, but a large development pipeline could threatenoccupancies if demong>andong> growth subsides.Top 10 source markets in 2011Countries Arrivals % ChangeMalaysia 2,500,280 21.43China 1,721,247 53.38Japan 1,127,893 13.51Russia 1,054,187 63.52Korea 1,006,283 24.94India 914,971 20.33Laos 891,950 24.69UK 844,972 4.22Australia 829,855 18.88Singapore 682,364 13.06Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January-August)Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina 1,685,896 35.38Malaysia 1,602,141 -5.81Japan 872,101 9.86Russia 780,337 19.96Korea 756,736 4.61India 681,089 8.35Laos 652,749 4.81Australia 621,122 15.31UK 567,870 -0.32Singapore 525,235 18.34Source: inistry of Tourism ong>andong> SportClimateAverage temperature: 20˚C to 30˚C(November to January)34˚C (February to May)29˚C (June to October)Average rainfall:Average humidity:150mm (February to May)1,500mm (June to October)75 per cent (February to May)87 per cent (June to October)Best time to visitNovember, December, ong>andong> January offer the most favourableclimatic conditions, especially for travellers fromcooler climates. This is peak season across the country,ong>andong> coincides with major holidays in Europe ong>andong> the US,making it an expensive time to visit.Things start to heat up from mid-February onwards,with temperatures peaking above 35˚C near SongkranFestival in April. Low travel season sets in during the wetmonths, when humidity is high ong>andong> heavy downpours arefrequent. Tourists can easily negotiate the short intenseshowers however, but preparations should be made, ong>andong>flash floods are not uncommon.Trips to cool highlong>andong> areas in the north help touristsescape the heat of spring time. Meanwhile, south-easternThailong>andong> has slightly different weather patterns, whererainfall is lower than along the Andaman coast, ong>andong> theseasons slightly later.Visitor arrivals ong>statisticsong>Thailong>andong>’s ong>tourismong> sector has done well. The industryhas seen consistent growth since the GFC in 2008, despitepolitical unrest in 2009 ong>andong> 2010, ong>andong> severe flooding in2011. Demong>andong> for the destination remains strong, ong>andong>rapid growth has resumed as it enjoys a period of relativestability. After a 20 per cent leap in arrivals in 2011,the first eight months of 2012 recorded an 8.6 per centgrowth, putting the Kingdom on course to surpass its19.5 million ong>tourismong> arrivals target for the year.Correspondingly, ong>tourismong> revenues are up by morethan 19.5 per cent in 1Q2012. Having smashed last year’starget, the Ministry of Tourism ong>andong> Sports looks set toArrivals target for 2013TAT has set an ambitious target of 22.2 million foreigntourist arrivals in 2013 ong>andong> total revenues of 966 billionbaht – objectives that appear eminently achievable givencurrent rates of growth.This year saw the introduction of the Miracle YearThailong>andong> campaign ong>andong> a push for high yield visitorswith strategic promotion of niche ong>tourismong> sectors includinggolf, health ong>andong> wellness, weddings ong>andong> honeymoons,ong>andong> green ong>tourismong>.These will continue to be promoted through ActionPlan 2013, which aims to increase per capita spend ong>andong>nurture emerging ong>tourismong> markets through various campaignssuch as the DISCO Plan. Meanwhile, TAT has establishedthe Thailong>andong> ong>andong> Beyond Strategy to positionthe country for the ASEAN Economic Community in2015 ong>andong> achieve gross revenues of two trillion baht frominternational ong>andong> domestic ong>tourismong> in the same year – atarget set by the cabinet.These efforts continue to be well funded ong>andong> increasinglydigitised, helping to place TAT at the forefront ofdestination marketing.


40 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Hotel ong>statisticsong>Oversupply has haunted Thailong>andong>’s hotel market formany years, with hoteliers struggling to fill beds ong>andong> cuttingrates to attract customers. Subsequently, Thailong>andong>is among the world’s most competitively-priced holidaydestinations.Occupancy rose significantly through 2011 to 61 percent country-wide, a result of rising visitor numbers. Improvedhotel performance has continued through 2012,particularly in Phuket ong>andong> Koh Samui. This upwardtrend in occupancy will rely on continued healthy growthin arrivals, ong>andong> with room supply increasing insatiably,particularly in Phuket, businesses may struggle in futureshocks. This is great for the consumer of course, who canenjoy a broad range of products at very low rates relativeto Hong Kong or Singapore.Room inventory* by region in 2012RegionTotalaccomo.%ChangeTotalrooms%ChangeBangkok 680 1.49 94,847 0.76Central(excl Bangkok)511 13.81 24,584 8.58West 1,688 10.11 44,103 9.38East 1,434 8.72 83,887 3.01North-east 1,733 33.51 54,774 16.73North 2,659 21.42 81,004 11.29South 3,662 72.57 152,243 45.16Source: Tourism Authority of Thailong>andong>.Hotels resort guest house ungalo motel sericed apartment rafthomestay youth hostel national park house lodge house othersAverage occupancy rate by regionLocation 2011 2010 % ChangeBangkok 60.69 51.18 9.51 rooms ong>andong> moreBangkok rooms ong>andong> under59.46 52.25 7.21North 45 44.1 0.9North-east 63.01 58.95 4.06South-westernside (Phuket, Phangnga,Krabi)66.74 60.38 6.36South-easternside Samui50.24 49.35 0.89East 61.76 54.19 7.57Source: Thai Hotel AssociationNew hotel openings in 2013BANGKOK• Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road, 188 rooms• Huachang Heritage Hotel Bangkok, 80 rooms• Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Bangkok, 290 rooms• Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, 287 rooms• DoubleTree by Hilton, Sukhumvit Bangkok, 182rooms (refurbishment)• Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, 296 rooms• Marriott Executive Apartments Bangkok, SukhumvitThonglor, 74 roomsPHUKET• Nikki Beach Hotel & Spa, Phuket, 151 rooms, 23 villas• Novotel Phuket Kamala Bay, 166 rooms• Patong Bay Hill, 744 rooms• oceanfront Sky Villas, 34 villas• Days Hotel Phuket Town, 120 rooms• Point amu by COMO, 109 roomsPATTAYA• Centara Avenue Residence & Suites Pattaya, 146 rooms• B2 South Pattaya, 65 rooms• Mvenpick Resort & Spa White Beach Pattaya, 264rooms• Sun Exclusive, 78 rooms• SiamSiam Pattaya, 268 rooms• Holiday Inn Express Pattaya, 200 roomsELSEWHERE• Mercure Cha Am, 154 roomsGrong>andong> Palace in Bangkok, Thailong>andong>New attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureThai Airways International launched Airbus A380-800services in October 2012 from its hub in Bangkok toHong Kong ong>andong> Singapore. It will operate its super jumboaircraft to ong>andong> from Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Paris, Narita,ong>andong> London in 2013.Chiang Mai International Convention ong>andong> ExhibitionCenter is scheduled to officially open in December 2012.The Ministry of Tourism ong>andong> Sports has hong>andong>ed operationalong>andong> management responsibilities to TAT, ong>andong> somebookings are in for 1Q2013.DIETHELM’SHOT PICKA buffet of recreationalchoices along the riverfrontith a festialmarketmeetsliingmuseum conceptAsiatiue The Rierfront is a colonialstyle aaarcomprising shops restaurant ong>andong> to culturaltheatres in an openair enironment.Asiatiue The Rierfront aims to recreate the spiritof the past hen people commuted regularly yoats ong>andong> streetcars fused ith modern day recreationoptions.Visitors can indulge in the ariety of shops ong>andong>eateries ong>andong> also isit ancient tram tracks a historicpier, century-old warehouses ong>andong> waterfront cranes.n the ton suare district isitors ill nd thenew 400-seat calypso cabaret theatre as well as theaward-winning Joe Louis Puppet Theatre.Asiatiue The Rierfront is located on the oldestroad in Bangkok, Charoen Krung Road, ong>andong> is openeery day from . to ..The easiest ong>andong> proaly the most entertainingway to get there is by boat. A free shuttle boat picksup isitors from Sathorn Pier underneath Taksin BTSstation eery to minutes.Diethelm Trael roupPromenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai opens in 2013, offeringindoor ong>andong> outdoor shopping, entertainment ong>andong>leisure elements such as an open air parklong>andong>, an outdoortheatre, waterfalls, lush greenery ong>andong> an ice skating rink.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Songkran Festival (April 13 - 16)The entire Kingdom shuts down for the Thai New Yearong>andong> water-gun sales go through the roof for the liveliestholiday of the year. The holiday has become the world’slargest water festival, ong>andong> walking anywhere without gettingwet is more or less impossible. The underlying significanceof this festival is the process of cleansing ong>andong>purifying one’s self before starting the New Year.Thailong>andong> Grong>andong> Sale (June-September)The nationwide event offers shoppers discount of up to80 per cent on various goods ong>andong> services at participatingretailers. All major department stores in Bangkok areinvolved, offering knock-down prices on many designerclothes ong>andong> accessories, while hotels offer special rates onroom nights ong>andong> associated services.Loi Kratong (November 17)This is held across the country to celebrate the god of theriver or pra mea kongka during the full-moon night of the12 th Lunar month. Thais will float lotus-shaped baskets,or krathong, that carry a cong>andong>le down the river, wishingfor happiness ong>andong> prosperity, while sending off misery. Itis visually spectacular, with thousong>andong>s of cong>andong>les lightingup rivers ong>andong> lakes across the country.Essentials in the city – BangkokTipping policy Most restaurants include a service chargeon their bills, so tipping is not expected in Thailong>andong>.How to maximise two hours of free time A traditionalThai massage is a great way to pass time in Thailong>andong>, ong>andong>does wonders for holistic health.Impressive lunch for clients Choose any of the top luxuryhotels. They all offer great restaurants, easy access, ong>andong>are popular meeting points for businessmen.Late nights LEVELS at Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit hasbecome a big hit on the Bangkok party scene. Be sure toarrive fashionably late.Electricity Single phase voltage of 220V ong>andong> a frequencyof 50Hz, primarily two- ong>andong> three-pin sockets.Visa requirementsForeign citizens must hold a valid passport with at leastsix months validity, a valid Thai visa, ong>andong> proof of onwardtravel. However, visitors from Hong Kong ong>andong> 48ASEAN or Western countries, including most European,Commonwealth ong>andong> North American citizens, are notrequired to have a Thai visa for visits lasting less than 30days. Nationals of 21 countries, including China, Indiaong>andong> Russia, can obtain a visa on arrival at a fee of 1,000baht for stays not exceeding 15 days.Important contactsNTOTourism Authority of Thailong>andong>www.ong>tourismong>thailong>andong>.orgThailong>andong> Convention ong>andong> Exhibition Bureauwww.tceb.or.thTravel trade associationsTourism Council of Thailong>andong>www.thailong>andong>ong>tourismong>council.orgAssociation of Thai Travel Agentswww.atta.or.thThai Hotels Associationwww.thaihotels.orgThai Travel Agents Associationwww.ttaa-thai.comPacific Asia Travel Associationwww.pata.orgCompiled by Timothy FranceAll ong>informationong> is correct at press time


42 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013VietnamGeneral overviewOfficial name Socialist Republicof VietnamCapital HanoiPopulation 89 millionTotal area 329,560km 2Currency DongOfficial Language VietnameseThe Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has forecastedforeign arrivals for 2012 to reach 6.5 million. It appears well ontrack to meet this target, with 75 per cent or 4.9 million visitors in thefirst nine months of the year, representing close to 13 per cent growthover the same period last year.Revenues over the first nine months totalled US$5.3 billion of VNAT’stargeted US$7.2 billion for 2012. Last year, revenues soared 25 per centover 2010’s figures. VNAT expects arrivals to rise by one million in 2013,along with a US$2.9 billion surge in revenues.ClimateAverage temperature 22°C to 27°CAverage rainfall 1,500mm to 2,500mmAverage humidity 80 per centBest time to visitVietnam’s temperate north ong>andong> tropical south keep itsong>tourismong> industry active throughout the year.The southern lowlong>andong>s – particularly the beaches,Ho Chi Minh City ong>andong> the Mekong Delta – are bestvisited when it’s cool ong>andong> dry from November toFebruary.Room rates drop during the hot season from Februaryto May ong>andong> fall further when the rains come from Juneto October.Cool, damp winters cover Vietnam’s north from Novemberto April when Hanoi’s competitive room ratesattract MICE groups, while hot summers from May toOctober lure travellers to the cool mountain resorts.Stay away from central Vietnam from late-autumnuntil early-winter, especially October, when storms are aproblem.Visitor arrival ong>statisticsong>Arrivals to Vietnam are going strong, with a year-on-yeargrowth rate of nearly 13 per cent across the first ninemonths of 2012.This, however, pales in comparison to the boom yearsof 2010 ong>andong> 2011, when figures jumped 33 ong>andong> 20 percent respectively, as the global economy recovered fromthe 2008 financial crisis ong>andong> fears of bird flu eased.Nine in 10 of Vietnam’s top 10 source markets sawgrowth this year, ong>andong> five – South Korea, Japan, Taiwan,Malaysia ong>andong> Thailong>andong> – experienced a double-digitincrease in outbound traffic to Vietnam. South Koreaspearheaded the movement with a 38.2 per cent growth,while China retained top spot on the arrivals chart.Market research firm RNCOS expects ong>tourismong> revenueto grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 13per cent between 2012 ong>andong> 2015.CHINATaipei •• HanoiBangkok • VIETNAM• Ho ChiMinh City• SingaporeTop 10 source markets in 2011Sapa• Hanoi• Halong BayVIETNAM• Hue• Danang• Bangkok• Hoi An• Nha Trang• Dalat• Phan Thiet•Ho Chi Minh CityCountries Arrivals % ChangeChina 1,416,804 56.5South Korea 536,408 8.2Japan 481,519 8.9US 439,872 2.1Cambodia 423,440 66.3Taiwan 361,051 8.1Australia 289,762 4.2Malaysia 233,132 10.3France 211,444 6.1Thailong>andong> 181,820 -18.4Top 10 source markets in 2012 (January to September)Countries Arrivals % ChangeChina 991,954 1.3South Korea 526,470 38.2Japan 428,170 24.5US 338,765 3.0Taiwan 317,515 19.4Cambodia 236,967 -21.6Australia 212,222 0.8Malaysia 210,805 25.4France 168,973 8.1Thailong>andong> 158,470 23.4Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, General StatisticsOffice of VietnamTotal ong>tourismong> arrivals2010 5 million, +33 per cent2011 6 million, +20 per cent2012 (January-September) 4.9 million, +12.8 per centTotal ong>tourismong> receipts2010 US$5 billion2011 US$6.2 billion2012 (January-September) US$5.3 billionSource: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, General StatisticsOffice of VietnamArrivals target for 2013VNAT expects seven million foreign arrivals in 2013, inaddition to 34.5 million domestic arrivals. The Ministryof Culture, Sports ong>andong> Tourism aims to welcome 10.3million foreigners ong>andong> 47.5 million domestic trips with acombined revenue of US$19 billion by 2020.Hotel ong>statisticsong>Vietnam’s building boom may be paying some dividendsfor ong>tourismong> as tour operators report that the country’s infamousroom shortage is finally showing signs of easing.The country now boasts 136 four-star hotels with16,551 rooms ong>andong> 53 five-star hotels with 12,265 rooms.Average occupancy rates for Vietnam2010 52 per cent2011 55 per cent2012 NAAverage occupancy rate in 2012 (January to April)Cities Five-star Four-starHo Chi Minh City 66.7% 66.5%Hanoi 59.2% 52.8%Danang 43.5% 49.5%Average room rate in 2012 (January to April)Cities Five-star All categoriesHo Chi Minh City US$133.20 US$78Hanoi US$106.60 US$65.10Danang US$104 US$55.70Source: CBRE VietnamNew hotels in 2012HO CHI MINH CITY• Grong>andong> Silverlong>andong> Hotel, 90 rooms• Ibis Saigon South, 140 rooms• Novotel Saigon Centre, 247 roomsHANOI• Golden Silk Boutique Hotel Hanoi, 55 roomsDANANG• Hyatt Regency Danang, 409 rooms• InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, 197rooms• Mercure Danang, 272 rooms• Novotel Danang Premier Han River, 323 roomsOTHERS• Banyan Tree Lang Co, 49 rooms• Angsana Lang Co, 229 rooms• Anantara Mui Ne Resort ong>andong> Spa, 90 rooms• Best Western Pearl River Hotel Hai Phong, 101 rooms• Crowne Plaza Nha Trang, 308 rooms2013 ong>andong> beyondHO CHI MINH CITY• Best Western Premier Saigon Kenton, 300 rooms (2014)• Ibis Saigon Grong>andong> Palace, 338 rooms (2015)• Le Meridien Saigon, 350 rooms• Pullman Saigon Centre, 322 roomsHANOI• JW Marriott, 450 rooms• Mercure Hanoi Hado, 222 rooms• Novotel Ciputra Hanoi, 300 rooms (2015)DANANG• Hilton Danang, 226 rooms• Ba Na Hills, member of the MGallery Collection, 90rooms (2014)• Mercure Danang French Village, Ba Na Hills, 372 rooms• Mercure Danang Son Tra Resort, 120 rooms (2014)OTHERS• Best Western Premier Nha Trang, 200 rooms


ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013 43• Best Western Premier Oceanami Hotel & Resort, VungTau, 150 rooms (2014)• Best Western Premier Sapaly, Lao Cai, 180 rooms• MGM Grong>andong> Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, 541 rooms• Hoi An Marriott Resort ong>andong> Spa, 250 rooms• Mercure Sam Son, 165 rooms• Novotel Dalat, 250 rooms• Novotel Hue, 200 rooms (2015)• Novotel Phu Quoc Resort, 234 rooms• Pullman Hai Phong Flamboyant Islong>andong> Resort,308 rooms (2015)• Pullman Vung Tau, 370 rooms• U Sapa, 57 roomsNew attractions/ong>tourismong> infrastructureMGM Grong>andong> Ho Tram is a high-end integrated resortopening early-mid 2013. The twin-tower structure willoffer luxury suites, convention facilities ong>andong> a selectionof entertainment ong>andong> recreation activities, including achampionship golf course designed by Greg Norman.www.mgmmirage.comVietcruiser is a new restaurant ong>andong> event boat that plysthe Saigon River in style. This three-deck, fine-diningestablishment hosts dinner programmes from 18.30 to21.30, ong>andong> can accommodate conferences, utilising thetop deck, a theatre ong>andong> four meeting rooms that can doubleup as dining halls.www.vietcruiser.comPhu Quoc International Airport opens to foreigncarriers in December ong>andong> is being promoted by theCivil Aviation Administration of Vietnam to bring internationaltravellers to the largely untouched tropicalislong>andong>, known for its beaches ong>andong> lovely diving sites.VAT refunds on purchases made in Vietnam are nowavailable for foreign visitors through June 30, 2014. Whenexiting the country though Noi Bai or Tan Son Nhat in-Take a peek into some of the manyancient architecture in Hueternational airports, visitors may claim back 85 per centof the value-added tax charged on goods purchased in thecountry.Key events ong>andong> festivals 2013Danang International Fireworks Competition(April 29-30)The visual spectacle is held every year to celebrate thecountry’s Reunification Day (also known as LiberationDay). Tickets will be available to travel consultants.www.danangong>tourismong>.gov.vnThe Buffalo Fights of Do SonHaiphong City’s Do Son district draws some 30,000 spectatorson the ninth day of the eighth lunar month everyyear for this event. Held to honour the water god ong>andong> celebratethe harvest, local community leaders present theirbuffalos as offerings to the gods before allowing them tolock horns in a giant ring. The buffalos are sacrificed afterthe fights for a great feast.The Tet Lunar New Year Festival (February 10)The Vietnamese will celebrate the upcoming New Yearin February, which offers the traveller the chance tospend time with locals, who are all off work ong>andong> in a festivemood. Cities are decorated with flowers, ong>andong> streetparades are held.Essentials in the city – Ho Chi Minh CityFood Give the Saigon pho a try. Compared to the versionserved in Hanoi, the Saigon pho is said to be tastier,boasting extra garnishes, a sweeter soup stock, ong>andong> moremeat.Tipping policy Tipping is not expected, but leaving smallchange is appreciated. Most upscale restaurants include aservice charge in the bill.Shopping For traditional ao dai dresses, head tothe shops surrounding Tan Dinh market, off Hai BaTrung Street on the border of districts one ong>andong> three. Acustom-fitted outfit, including design ong>andong> fabric, costsUS$20 for cotton or US$60 for silk.How to maximise two hours of free time Don’t shyaway from the touristy big bus tours, which offer a greatway to explore the city. History buffs should also visit theWar Remnants Museum.At InterContinental Asiana Saigon, we use our local knowledge to shareauthentic insights, so our guests discover what makes a place both uniqueong>andong> memorable. Such authentic moments can't be planned but you cangive things a nudge in the right direction.Do you live an InterContinental life ?For more ong>informationong> or to make a reservation,please contact (84 8) 3520 9999 oremail: saigon@ihg.comIn over 170 locations across the globe including HONG KONG LONDON NEW YORK PARIS


44 ASIAN TOURISM GUIDE 2012/2013Insider’s tip for a half-day off Take a taxi, bus or xeom (motorbike taxi) out to the tip of Thanh Da Islong>andong>,some 20 minutes from downtown. Once there, walkamong the rice fields, get lost in the duck farms, marvelat pretty lily ponds ong>andong> enjoy the laidback ambience. Ifnot for the skyscrapers in the distance, one may mistakeThanh Da Islong>andong> for a far-flung, remote Vietnamesecountryside.Impressive lunch for clients At Com Nieu SaiGon on Ho Xuan Huong Street, known also as the ‘flyingrice place’, waiters toss your orders of baked riceacross the room ong>andong> perform tricks. One of AnthonyBourdain’s favourite spots because, gimmickry aside, itserves some of the best traditional Vietnamese food intown.Lunch on your own Sample all that Hue cuisine has tooffer in Ho Chi Minh City at Nam Giao, a tiny place offLe Thanh Ton Street near Ben Thanh market. It serveseverything from the famous bun bo hue to the tiny ricefloursnacks central Vietnam is known for.Late nights To satisfy hunger pangs that strike late in thenight, head to the end of Tran Dinh Xu Street, a nightmarket where all households bong>andong> together in a cooperativethat serves rice, noodles, vegetarian wontons (dumplings)ong>andong> spring rolls till 02.00 every morning. This foodstreet is packed during lunar holidays.Electricity Single phase voltage of 220V ong>andong> a frequencyof 50 Hz, primarily two-pin sockets.Visa requirementsMost visitors to Vietnam require a 15- or 30-day touristvisa to enter the country, ong>andong> these can be applied forat any Vietnamese embassy or consulate, either by postor in person. The fee may vary, depending on the issuingcountry, but is usually around US$25-US$40, with onepassport-sized photograph required.Processing generally takes five days, although a twodayexpress service is available ong>andong> this application maybe faxed. A same-day express service is also available forthose staying for less than 15 days, ong>andong> these generallytake an hour to process.Visas can also be obtained upon arrival at Hanoi, HoChi Minh ong>andong> Danang airports.Citizens of Thailong>andong>, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines,Malaysia, Indonesia ong>andong> Singapore are not requiredto apply for travel visas when visiting Vietnam.As well, visa fees are waived for citizens of Japan, SouthKorea, Denmark, Finlong>andong>, Norway, Sweden ong>andong> Russia.Important contactsNTOVietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT)operates under the Ministry of Culture, Sports ong>andong>Tourism, ong>andong> is headed by general director Nguyen VanTuan. Enquiries are best hong>andong>led by VNAT deputy directorTran Ngoc Diep at diepvnat@gmail.com.Vietnam is now working with Cambodia, Laos ong>andong>Myanmar to promote the CLMV region under the bannerof Four Countries, One Destination. This four is set tobecome five as Thailong>andong> joins in.Tel: (84-4) 3-942-3760Fax: (84-4) 3-942-4115www.vietnamong>tourismong>.gov.vn/englishTravel trade associationsPATA Vietnam Chapterwww.patavietnam.orgVietnam Tourism Associationwww.vita.vn (No English version is available)Compiled by Jon Dillingham. All ong>informationong> iscorrect at press timeDiethelm Travel GroupDIETHELM’SHOT PICKEat your way through Hanoion a guided food tourThe vast range of foods in Vietnam can be quiteoverwhelming for the tourist.To spare the traveller such angst, Vietnamesegastro guru Daniel Hoyer conducts food tours in partnershipwith Diethelm, leading food-loving touristson a highly engaging ong>andong> insightful journey into theworld of Vietnamese cuisine.Hoyer, also a chef ong>andong>writer, will take participantsto meet traders ong>andong> vendorsin a locals-only food market,while explaining the widearray of ingredients ong>andong> recountingHanoi’s food scenein detail. Best of all are thetasting sessions ong>andong> coffeeshop stops in one of themany sidewalk cafes the city is known for.The trip concludes with lunch at one of the bestbun cha establishments in town. So successful is thisstreet restaurant that it is open for only a few hourseach day. Participants will dine among dozens ofbun cha aficionados, enjoying the traditional grilledpork ong>andong> rice vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs ong>andong>greens like a true Hanoian.TTG Asia PrintDelivered bi-weekly to mail boxes of travel trade professionals across the Asia-PacificTTG Asia DIGITALSubscribed by industry professionals around the world, this e-version of TTG Asia allowsreading in online, mobile, ong>andong> desktop formatsTTG Asia e-DailyAn email bulletin containing bite-size highlights of breaking Asia-Pacific travel trade newswww.ttgasia.comThe online news portal of TTG Asia offering on-demong>andong> access to industry resources, 24/7Access the Asia-Pacific Travel TradeAnytime, Anywhere.Asia-Pacific’s Leading Travel Trade Business Resource Since 1974With our incisive editorials ong>andong> award-winning journalism packed into a portfolioof integrated print ong>andong> online products, it’s no wonder why we’re the preferredread of the modern travel trade professional.TTG Asia is a product by:ttgasia.com/subscribe.phpTTG Travel Trade Publishing is a Business Group of TTG Asia MediaDistinguish yourself with us!For any advertising enquiries, please contact: traveltradesales@ttgasia.com | +65 6395 7575One Travel Trade Connection. 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