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ITB China News 2018 - Day 1 Edition

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12 REGION ASIA FACTS &

12 REGION ASIA FACTS & FIGURES CHINA THE MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO “ASIAN TOURISM MIRACLE” © 2007 Dnor The continuous growth of Chinese outbound travel is an asset for all of Asia, the continent being well-placed to reap the benefits of China’s continuous travel boom. In addition, increased air travel competition, good value for money in services, easier visa entry facilities to an increasing number of Asian countries and quickly expanding transportation infrastructures are also stimulating travel demand in the region. Mount Everest and Ama Dablam Overall, there is an Asian tourism miracle. Last year, according to preliminary data from the UNWTO, Asia and the Pacific welcomed together 323.7 million foreign travellers, representing a growth of 5.8% over 2016. Growth was particularly strong in South Asia, up by 10.4%, and Southeast Asia, up by 8.3%. Asia represented consequently 24.5% of all international arrivals. This is a market share jump of eight points in less than a decade. Back in 2000, the Asia Pacific region was registering 110.4 million international arrivals, a share of 16.23%; in 2010, ASPAC market share in world tourism had already grown to 21.87%, equivalent to 208.2 million travellers. In absolute numbers, in only 17 years, total arrivals to the continent grew threefold. Within Asia, Northeast Asia (China-Japan-Korea) welcomed the largest number of travellers (159.3 million), followed by Southeast Asia with 120.1 million and South Asia with 27.7 million. The Pacific area welcomed 16.6 million and remains dominated by Australia, the sub-region’s largest destination. Looking specifically at China, last year was a new record year for Chinese travelling overseas. According to a report by top Chinese Travel Services provider Ctrip in cooperation with the China Tourism Academy, Chinese travellers generated 130.5 million trips outside their country, a 7% jump over the previous year (122 million travels in 2016). Looking in detail at statistics in many Asian countries, China is often now the number 1 inbound market. This is for example the case in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Maldives, Indonesia and North Korea. Within a year or two, Chinese travellers will also be the largest inbound market for the Philippines and Lao PDR. Thailand receives some 10 million Chinese travellers while Japan welcomed last year some 7.5 million of their neighbours Zhouzhuang, China A Different Idea (or Two) for Visiting Nepal The number of international tourists visiting Nepal continues to climb to giddy new heights, with +24.8% in 2017 taking figures to a new record of just over 940,000. One of the reasons for this sharp climb is the diversification of the country’s tourism offering. One such different idea is rafting: a great way for the adventurous to explore the typical cross section of natural as well as ethno-cultural heritage of the country. There are numerous rivers in Nepal which offer excellent rafting or canoeing experience. One can glide on calm jade waters with munificent scenery all about or rush through roaring white rapids, in the care of expert rivermen employed by government authorised agencies. One can opt for day of river running or more. So far, the government has opened sections of 10 rivers for commercial rafting. Hot Air Ballooning: Hot air ballooning is becoming very popular with tourists for it affords the most spectacular bird’s-eye view of the Kathmandu valley and the Himalayan ranges towering in the background. On a clear day, it’s a superb way to view the Himalayan (from over 6000m up), and the view of the valley is equally breath-taking. Paragliding: Paragliding in Nepal can be a truly wonderful and fulfilling experience for the adventure seeking. A trip will take you over some of the best scenery on earth, as you share airspace with Himalayan griffins, vultures, eagles, kites and float over villages, monasteries, temples, lakes and jungle, with a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayas. Jungle Safari: National Parks located specially in the Terai region in Nepal attract visitors from all over the world. A visit to these parks involves gamestalking by a variety of meansfoot, dugout canoe, jeep, and elephant back. One is bound to sight a one – horned rhino or two at every elephant safari. Besides the rhinos, wild boars, samburs, spotted deer, sloth bear, fourhorned antelope are also usually seen. A Royal Bengal tiger may surprise you by his majestic appearance STAND No. 641 ITB CHINA NEWS • Wednesday 16 th May 2018 www.itb-china-news.com

ASIA REGION 13 Royal Belum - The Land Before Time Malaysian Authorities work on opening-up the country’s oldest and largest state park to the public… little by little Khoo Salma Nasution Vice-president, Penang Heritage Trust GEORGE TOWN’S WORLD HERITAGE ARCHITECTURE UNDER SPOTLIGHT George Town, the capital of Penang, is a large, bustling city, and while it has a futuristic veneer, it’s heart still beats to the rhythm of its rich historic past. With Belum literally meaning “Land Before Time”, Royal Belum State Park is still one of Asia’s best kept nature secrets. It is part of Malaysia’s largest and oldest forest reserve – Belum Temenggor – in the northern part of the Malaysian Peninsula. Being contiguous with the smaller Bang Lang National Park and Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary in South Thailand, this makes the entire area one of Asia’s largest biodiversity basins. Opening up the park to the public entails treading a fine line between ensuring the protection of the local environment, while enabling people from around the world to experience this unique place that gives a true sense of “nature in the raw”. This activity is being carefully piloted by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority WORLD HERITAGE STATUS REQUESTED While in 2012, the Malaysian Government declared Royal Belum State Park a “National Heritage Site”, the park has now been submitted as a potential UNESCO World Heritage site. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is to study the proposal which was tabled in 2017 by the Permanent Delegation of Malaysia to UNESCO, following which the IUCN will provide the World Heritage Committee with an evaluation for further action. Along with the Taman Negara National Park, Belum Temenggor is one of the oldest rainforests in world, dating back over 130 million years. 14 of the world’s most threatened mammals; among them the Malaysian Tiger, the white-handed Gibbon, Asiatic Elephant, Malaysian Sunbear and Malayan Tapir still roam freely in Belum Temenggor. 316 bird species are known here. It is unique through the fact that in particular it is possible to see, in certain periods of the year, all 10 of Malaysia’s magnificent hornbill species. The forest is home to over 3,000 species of flowering plants, including the iconic rafflesia, whose flowers are the largest in the plant kingdom. 14 OF THE WORLD’S MOST THREATENED MAMMALS; AMONG THEM THE MALAYSIAN TIGER, THE WHITE-HANDED GIBBON, ASIATIC ELEPHANT, MALAYSIAN SUNBEAR AND MALAYAN TAPIR STILL ROAM FREELY IN BELUM TEMENGGOR. ORANG ASLI Semi-nomadic orang asli villages can be found today on some of the islands of Temenggor. These people still live in their traditional way in bamboo huts, hunting small mammals using blowpipes, fishing and gathering plants and honey from the forest. It is possible to visit a village if pre-organised through the local tour guide in advance STAND No. 754 “In the past, when people thought about Penang, they would think about beaches, Komtar, and the long bridge; but today, Penang has changed a lot,” explains Khoo Salma Nasution - vice-president of Penang Heritage Trust. “A main attraction is the George Town World Heritage site, and while a number of new hotels are opening, there are also many heritage buildings being repurposed for accommodation.” Penang was the first British outpost in South- East Asia, founded in 1786, and the city centre is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site measuring 2.5 sq km. The city features Malaysia’s best restored and readapted traditional architecture as well as a multitude of heritage trades and arts, and is a living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and traditions of Asia. Penang Heritage Trust has cultural heritage tours, and can also recommend certain tours or tour guides. There’s also a lot of information on the internet now, where people can find ideas of what to do and where to go. ASIA’S STREET ART CAPITAL Soon after George Town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the state government began capitalising on global interest, branding itself through the arts. To this end, street art has become a huge draw card since the onset of Instagram and other social media, through which visitors “put themselves in the picture”. The growing popularity of these works arguably makes George Town the Asian capital of street art STAND No. 754 ITB CHINA NEWS • Wednesday 16 th May 2018