PPS 1789/06/2013(022997) MCI (P) 027/10/2014 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE

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1 PPS 1789/06/2013(022997) MCI (P) 027/10/2014 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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3 Thousand Happy Moments 千禧 More than 100 hotels globally millenniumhotels.com GDS Chain Code: MU CHINA HONG KONG INDONESIA MALAYSIA PHILIPPINES SINGAPORE TAIWAN THAILAND

4 CONTENTS CONTENTS 08 BHUTAN 15 BRUNEI 21 CAMBODIA 27 CHINA 33 HONG KONG 41 INDIA 47 INDONESIA 54 LAOS 60 MACAU 66 MALAYSIA 75 MALDIVES 81 MYANMAR 87 PHILIPPINES 94 SINGAPORE 101 SRI LANKA 107 THAILAND 113 VIETNAM 120 DIETHELM TRAVEL LOCATIONS TTG Travel Trade Publishing is a business group of TTG Asia Media EDITORIAL Karen Yue Group Editor Gracia Chiang Deputy Group Editor Hannah Koh Assistant Editor, TTG Asia Online com) Lee Pei Qi Assistant Editor Xinyi Liang-Pholsena Assistant Editor, Thailand/Indochina (liang. Kathy Neo Copy Editor Mimi Hudoyo Editor, Indonesia S Puvaneswary Editor, Malaysia/Brunei Redmond Sia, Goh Meng Yong Creative Designers Tan Kok Yong Contributing Creative Designer Lina Tan Editorial Assistant CONTRIBUTORS Sim Kok Chwee, Greg Lowe, Rosa Ocampo, Prudence Lui, Hong Xu, Rohit Kaul, Feizal Samath, Tobias Esche, Lou Darriet and Li Xu SALES & MARKETING Michael Chow Group Publisher Shirley Tan Senior Business Manager Karen Cheung Senior Business Manager Jonathan Yap Senior Business Manager Cheryl Tan Corporate Marketing Manager Stephanie Toh Marketing Executive Cheryl Lim Advertisement Administration Manager ttgasia.com) Carol Cheng Assistant Manager Administration and Marketing (carol. PUBLISHING SERVICES Tony Yeo Division Manager Carol Wong Senior Circulation Executive Haze Loh Senior Creative Designer Lynn Lim Web Executive TTG ASIA MEDIA Darren Ng Managing Director Raini Hamdi Senior Editor OFFICES SINGAPORE 1 Science Park Road #04-07 The Capricorn Singapore Science Park II, Singapore Tel: (65) Fax: (65) HONG KONG Unit 2011, 20/F Harbour Center 25 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) Fax:(852) ADVERTISEMENT REPRESENTATIVES Australia Zorka Sipkova, Publisher s Internationale Tel: (61-2) Fax: (61-2) Germany Wolfgang Jaeger, IMV Internationale Medien Vermarktung GmbH Tel: ( ) Fax: ( ) India Meena Chand, Adcom International Tel: (91-11) Fax: (91-11) com; Indonesia Sarah G Hutabarat, Media Mandiri Tel: (62-21) Fax: (62-21) Italy Marco Reggiani, TTG Italia Spa Tel: (39-02) Fax: (39-02) Japan Michiko Kawano, Pacific Business Inc Tel: (81-3) Fax: (81-3) Korea SS Song, First Media Services Corp Tel: (82-2) /2 Fax: (82-2) Malaysia Gerald Saw Raffles International Media Sdn Bhd Tel: (6) Spain (Madrid) Luis Andrade, Luis Andrade International Media Tel: (34-91) Fax: (34-91) Sri Lanka Vijitha Yapa/Albadur Cader, Vijitha Yapa Associates Tel: (94-11) Fax: (94-11) Taiwan Virginia Lee/Shirley Shen/Kitty Luh, Spacemark Media Services Tel: (886-2) Fax: (886-2) Thailand Chower Narula/Anchana Nararidh, World Media Co. Ltd. Tel: (66-2) Fax: (66-2) worldmedia.co.th; The Philippines Eduardo S Bassig, ESB Marketing Services Tel: (63-2) Asian Tourism Guide 2014/2015 is published by TTG Travel Trade Publishing, a business group of TTG Asia Media Pte Ltd. It is mailed free on written request to readers who meet predetermined criteria. Paid subscriptions are available to those who do not meet the criteria. CORPORATE HEAD OFFICE Kian Gwan II Bldg., 12/F 140/1 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel (66-2) Fax (66-2) Maarten Groeneveld Chief Executive Officer Patama Narintarangkool Group Managing Director, Finance Edyta Peszko Group Procurement & Product Director Martyn Hedges Head, Business Development CORPORATE SALES OFFICE Kian Gwan II Bldg., 14/F 140/1 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel (66-2) Fax (66-2) James Ramage Group Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Sam Vincent Key Account Director Rafael Domingo Key Account Director Nataly Wanhoff Key Account Director Tony Champion Head of Sales & Marketing Europe Victor Mogilev Market Manager Russia/CIS & Eastern Europe Chavaroon Satarujawongse Sales Manager Jérémie Descelles Strategic Account Manager MCI (P) 027/10/2014 PPS 1789/06/2013(022997) Printed by Times Printers Pte Ltd List of new hotels in each destination by no means exhaustive. All images courtesy of Diethelm Travel Group unless otherwise credited. 2 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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6 FOREWORD Darren Ng Managing Director TTG Asia Media PUSHING AHEAD WITH BETTER CONTENT Dear travel trade partners, Change is the only constant in life, and improvement is what we consistently seek in the production of our annual Asian Tourism Expert Guide. In the seventh edition of the guide, we continue to bring you tourism performance analysis of 17 Asian destinations which you have told us you love as well as product highlights and recommendations, some of which are contributed by our partner Diethelm Travel Group. New to this edition include a calendar of key events in each destination we feel travellers should look out for and plan their itineraries around, as well as personal recommendations from our very own TTG reporters on things to do and places to stay, eat and visit. We hope you will continue to find this publication indispensable in the course of your business, and we welcome your frank feedback on how we can do even better for the next edition. Please write to us at Warmest regards, Maarten Groeneveld CEO Diethelm Travel Group JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME Dear travel trade partners, The Diethelm Travel Team is delighted to once again be working in cooperation with TTG Asia to present the latest and the best of the region with the Asian Tourism Expert Guide. Beautifully illustrated, and packed with Diethelm Travel s insider tips, this publication spotlights the most innovative of travel suggestions in Asia. Drawing on our long expertise we showcase our travel selections under five different themes, namely Trend Watch, Discover the Unforgettable, Urban Retreat, Hot Dates, and Because We All Care. Additionally, under a special section named Diethelm To You, our travel experts in each of the countries offer personal advice and tips on the latest newsworthy activities and destinations. Experience-led activities come in many forms and with an introduction of the Diethelm Design department, we offer journeys that go beyond the usual touring experience allowing travellers to immerse themselves more deeply into varied aspects of the Asian cultures. We hope you enjoy this edition of the Asian Tourism Expert Guide. It is our great pleasure to share unforgettable Journeys of a Lifetime with you and your clients. Warmest regards, 4 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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10 BHUTAN BHUTAN By Sim Kok Chwee Though best known as a cultural destination, Bhutan is beginning to see the need for product diversification. Visitors focus on culture and the colourful tshechus (festivals) has resulted in the shortage of airline seats and hotel rooms during the spring and autumn peak seasons. According to the Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2013, 72 per cent of all visitors are keen on cultural sightseeing while another 13 per cent are attracted to cultural festivals. As such, the tourism industry has attempted to coax off-season travellers with lesser-known nomad, mountain and matsutake festivals as well as sporting activities such as white-water kayaking, bird-watching and farmstays. However, this has had minimal impact. In 2013, 65.4 per cent of all international visitors arrived in the five months of March, April, September, October and November. In 2014, the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) boldly experimented with the enticement of low prices under the guise of a Bhutan-Thailand Friendship offer celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two kingdoms, but aiming to attract Thai nationals and others with proof of residency in Thailand to visit Bhutan during the leaner months of June, July and August. The usual US$200 per day tariff was available at just US$65. All stakeholders were urged to reduce their tariffs and Drukair s fares for these packages were slashed by half. The target of 3,000 visitors under this promotion was quickly and easily exceeded. Meanwhile, limited air access and infrastructure, and high tour packages prices have continued to keep visitor numbers under control, helping Bhutan mitigate the cultural erosion and environmental impact brought on by mass tourism. As its prime minister Tshering Tobgay said: We don t want so many tourists in Bhutan that the very purpose of visiting Bhutan is destroyed. Arnold Zimmer/123RF.COM p Masked dancers at Drupchen Festival in the dzong of Punakha 8 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

11 BHUTAN CAMBODIA CHINA HONG KONG LAOS MALAYSIA MALDIVES MYANMAR SINGAPORE SRI LANKA THAILAND VIETNAM JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE 12 COUNTRIES IN ASIA WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Extensive Range of Products Diethelm Design High Responsiveness Support Professional Guides Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Diethelm Distinctive Product Development Awesome Deals Online Booking Tool XML/API Connectivity Business Intelligence Kian Gwan II Building, 14/F, 140/1 Wireless Road Lumpini, Patumwan, Bangkok Thailand Tel: (+66-2) Fax: (+66-2) FOLLOW US ON:

12 ARRIVALS BHUTAN As per Bhutan Tourism Monitor, Visitor arrivals hit a new peak in 2013 with a total of 116,209 visitors, growth of 1.3 per cent year-on-year. International visitors totalled 52,783 while regional visitors from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives totalled 63,426. In recent years, visitor arrivals from Asia-Pacific have grown more robustly than those from the western hemisphere and in 2013, Asia-Pacific markets carved out a 48.4 per cent share of international visitor arrivals. Arrivals from Malaysia grew strongest at 55.2 per cent followed by Singapore with 26.9 per cent and China with 26.5 per cent. Japan the star performer in 2012 when it grew 76.7 per cent witnessed a correction when arrivals slumped 42.4 per cent in Visitors from Europe and North America accounted for 30.4 and 18,6 per cent respectively of all international arrivals. International visitor arrivals in 2013 generated tourism receipt of US$63.49 million, a marginal increase from the previous year s collection of US$62.8 million. First-time visitors accounted for 87.6 per cent of total international visitors in 2013 and the highest incidence of repeat visitors are those from Thailand, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and France. For 2014, in a departure from previous practice, TCB declined to provide visitor arrival statistics for the top 10 market citing the likelihood of changes. The NTO did, however, provide a ranking of the top 10 markets at press time (see table below), possibly based on arrival statistics for the period from January to August Compared against 2013 s top 10 (see table above), it is noteworthy that India (classified as a regional source market) is ranked alongside others in the international market, and given the country s proximity to Bhutan and Wouter Tolenaars/123RF.COM Top 10 source markets in 2013 Country Arrivals Year-on-year change (%) US China 4, Japan 4, Thailand Germany 2, UK 2, Australia 2, Singapore 2, Malaysia 2, France 1, Source: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2013 Top 10 source markets in January-August India 6 Germany 2 China 7 Malaysia 3 US 8 UK 4 Thailand 9 Australia 5 Japan 10 Singapore Source: TCB the fact that Indian nationals do not require visa and are exempted from the US$200/US$250 daily tariff, it is ranked at the top. China has overtaken the US while Thailand has overtaken Japan in the ranking. Malaysia too has grown strongly and with better choices of Bangkok and Singapore as gateways into Bhutan, it is the market to watch. TCB has set its sight on welcoming 133,000 international and regional visitors in 2014 and 155,000 in The Royal Government of Bhutan has designated 2015 for Visit Bhutan campaign and is in the process of compiling a Calendar of Events. There will also be a dedicated website for this promotional year at New hotels in 2014 and Hotel Norbuling, Thimphu Hotel Vara, Phunakha, 19 keys Dorji Elements, Thimphu, 24 keys 2015 Le Meridien Thimphu, 78 keys, January Druk Deothjung Hotel, Trashigang, March Le Meridien Paro, 59 keys, April Tashi Namgay Resort, Phuntsholing Peaceful Resort, Thimphu (Note: According to TCB, Bhutan Ventures Hospitality Put Ltd will open five hotels two in Paro and one each in Thimphu, Wangdi and Bumthang by end-2015.) p View of the Taktshang monastery in Paro 10 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

13 HOTEL PERFORMANCE AIR ACCESS Overall, according to Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2013, the average length of stay of visitors to Bhutan was 6.9 days and those from longhaul source markets stayed longer than the increasingly larger number of visitors from Asia-Pacific. Swiss visitors stayed the longest at an average of 10.8 days, followed by their counterparts from Australia, Germany and France all of whom stayed slightly longer than nine days. Within Asia-Pacific, visitors from Singapore stayed longer than their Asian peers with an average of 7.2 days while those from Malaysia stayed 5.2 days and others from Thailand, Japan and China stayed slightly longer than four days on average. The spread of bed-nights consumed is biased towards the western and central regions, with Paro grabbing 33.7 per cent share of bed nights followed by Thimphu (24.31 per cent), Punakha (14 per cent) and Bumthang (9.7 per cent). Throughout the kingdom, there are nine hotels of five-star rating, eight of four-star, and 45 of three-star. Top performers among the five-star rated hotel properties (in terms of bednights) are Uma Paro, Hotel Zhiwaling in Paro and Hotel Taj Tashi in Thimphu. Due to the demand nature of flight operation in Bhutan dictated largely by the geography and mountainous terrain around Paro Airport, Bhutanese carriers continue to enjoy exclusivity in the provision of scheduled air services. Tashik Air conducting business as Bhutan Airlines launched services from Bangkok and Kathmandu in October From end-september to early-october, both Drukair and Bhutan Airlines operate a series of additional flights to and from Bangkok and Kathmandu. According to Druk Asia, the existing twice-weekly Paro- Kolkata-Singapore service may be increased to thrice weekly in 2H2015. Singapore is gaining popularity as a gateway to Bhutan for travellers from Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Australia, and the existing services enjoy annual load factor of 62 per cent, and almost full during the peak season. Paro Airport continued to be constrained by limited parking space for aircraft and plans for the expansion of the ramp is hindered by the fact that land needed is controlled by the Indian Air Force. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY BHUTAN Distribution of star-rated accommodation providers 5-star 4-star 3-star 2-star 1-star Paro Thimphu Bumthang Punakha Wangdue Phrodrang Trongsa Chhuka/ Phuentsholing Trashigang Monggar Haa Samdrup Jongkhar Total Source: Bhutan Tourism Monitor 2013 Best time to visit Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the most popular as clear skies and cool weather prevail. Trekkers are attracted to the ideal conditions in the mountains and this continues into February for lowaltitude trekkers and bird-watchers. Throughout the year, temple festivals with spectacular performances are staged. Tipping culture Although tour prices are all inclusive, the going rate for tipping tour guides and drivers is US$5 per person per day. Tipping is seldom expected in other establishments, some of which already have a service charge. Public transportation Tour packages already come with transportation and one hardly ever needs to resort to public transportation. Taxis exist in small numbers. Sound advice Travelling around Bhutan involves a significant amount of driving through mountains and valleys. Visitors should pack some motion sickness pills and take them ahead of the drive. Matching the seasonal pattern of international arrivals, room occupancy rates in each of the star-rated category swung wildly from a high in October to the low when measured on an annual basis. In 2013, five-star rated hotels enjoyed 63 per cent occupancy in October but annual average occupancy rate AOR) is a paltry 28 per cent. Fourstar hotels fared worse with 39 per cent in October compared to AOR of just 13 per cent. Three-star hotels occupancy in October was 50 per cent but AOR slipped to 17 per cent. It should however be noted that actual occupancy rates throughout the year were higher than these statistics show as they only take into account international arrivals but did not include regional and domestic visitors, government guests and corporate guests etc. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Tourism Council of Bhutan Website: Travel Trade Associations Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators Website: Visit Bhutan 2015 Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

14 BHUTAN SPOTLIGHT ON BHUTAN WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Bhutan has been known for cultural tourism, but now we are seeing the growth of activity tours leveraging the Kingdom s breathtaking mountain scenery. More nature-based activities, such as trekking, bird watching, wilderness tours and adventure sports have drawn more tourists to the destination recently. Bhutan is one of the few places in the world that is truly authentic and unspoiled, offering true peace of mind that keeps visitors coming back. TREND WATCH The new rafting tour is gaining popularity. With rapids ranging from Class II to IV, it is a visually appealing tour showcasing the best of the western valleys of Punakha, Thimphu and Paro. It is one of the most interesting and important tours in Bhutan even though rafting is a fairly new concept to the country, usually done in the Po Chu and Mo Chu rivers east of Punakha. It allows visitors to take in the beauty of the mountains and valleys, passing by culturally important landmarks such as the Punakha Dzong as well as the different types of flora and fauna. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE p Punakha Dzong (top); Punakha white river rafting Tshelung Ney cave is located above Rabday Bridge, about an hour and a half from the capital Thimphu. Legend has it that around 800 AD, the second Buddha Guru Rinpoche visited many places in Bhutan, with Tshelung being one of the holy places that was blessed. The word Tshe means life and it is believed that people who visit Tshelung Ney will be blessed with a long life, and if they drink from a stream near a cliff 12 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

15 there, their sins will be purified by the holy water extracted by Lam Drukpa Kuenlay (the divine mad man). There are many treasured imprints left behind by Guru Rinpoche, Lam Drukpa Kuenlay and many other religious figures. BHUTAN URBAN RETREAT An overnight stay at a local farmhouse offers an experience of the Bhutanese people s way of life. The farmhouses are decorated and built in a classical style with three storeys. The ground floor is used for housing cattle, the top floor as a store, while the family lives in the middle. Farming still plays an important role in Bhutanese daily life as a leading occupation. Visitors can observe age-old farming traditions as the family goes about its daily tasks, and enjoy homecooked meals. As electricity and running water are not available, hot water is provided by the family, served in a washbowl. A traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath is widely practised in Bhutan for relieving various health complications and illnesses, and is a must-try for visitors looking to soothe aches and pains. Another interesting tradition is soaking in a menchu (water with herbal essences), believed to be useful for curing infirmities. p Image of Guru Rinpoche printed on a rock (top); Paro Valley with prayer flags swinging in the wind ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

16 BHUTAN q Paro Tshechu Steve Allen/123RF.COM BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Draktsho is the first of its kind in the country, a community service organisation that aspires to create awareness and encourage people living with disabilities to have meaningful participation in society. As attitudes towards disabled people and other minority groups become more positive, there is still a lack of understanding about them, referring to them as disadvantaged individuals whose disabilities cause suffering. It is, however, merely the environment that imposes constraints, preventing people with disabilities from running their lives in a way equal to non-disabled people. In May 2014, the Diethelm team screened a Bhutanese movie called Baeyul The Hidden Paradise for Draktsho students and staff, led by Aum Deki Zam, project coordinator of Draktsho. The movie showcased good moral values for our youths. A local cinema was rented for the screening to increase public awareness and encourage support and donations from locals and foreigners, to help keep Draktsho alive. DIETHELM TO YOU HOT DATES Paro Tshechu, March 28-April 4, 2015 This is a Buddhist dance festival and one of the major annual events in Bhutan. It is held across the country to commemorate Guru Rinpoche, who brought tantric Buddhism to Bhutan. People gather to enjoy a collective showcase of dance, music and drama through masked dancers in colourful, fancy costumes seeking to portray Guru Rinpoche and celebrate the events of his life. The dancers move to the rhythm of trumpets, cymbals, flutes and Bhutanese folk songs, all to demonstrate the triumph of good over evil. Thimphu Tshechu, September 23-25, 2015 This annual festival held in the capital city is witnessed by thousands of people, many of whom travel from neighbouring dzongkhags (administrative and judicial districts). The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods. Performance by masked dancers, such as the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru) and Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags), are fun to watch and contain theatrical elements. Along with the equally important Atsaras, who are more than just clowns they are believed to provide protection against evil forces. My favourite place is the Buddhist site popularly known as Kuensel Phodrang. The Buddha Dordenma statue is located on a hilltop in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park, overlooking the southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. From here, one can get a beautiful view of the capital Thimphu. UGEN PENJOR Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Bhutan The Buddha Dordenma statue fulfils an ancient prophecy from the 8 th century AD and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. It has a height of 51.5m, making it one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, and is made of bronze and gilded in gold. Another 125,000 bronze and gold-gilded, but smaller Buddha statues are placed within the Buddha Dordenma, with 100,000 eight-inch tall and 25,000, 12-inch. The throne Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall. Just beneath the statue is a new 199.3ha park which caters to the locals and tourists who may be joggers, hikers, bikers, students, nature lovers, photographers, religious people and many others, thanks to its close proximity and easy access from the city. My favourite place to eat is the Bhutanese Restaurant because it gives you a complete local culinary experience, with seaweed soup, buckwheat noodles, red rice and spicy emi datse (chilli and cheese). The modern setting also offers a Bhutanese touch, featuring a beautifully designed interior with a stupa. The chef works hard to get the authentic Bhutanese taste, and the staff are very hospitable. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 14 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

17 BRUNEI BRUNEI By S Puvaneswary Brunei Tourism is not aiming for volume but welltravelled tourists looking for fresh experiences in a new destination in South-east Asia. So far, most of its visitors are from Asia-Pacific destinations, which are within six hours flight from the capital city Bandar Seri Begawan. The NTO is constantly working towards creating awareness for the destination s ecotourism, sports, heritage and cultural offerings through fam trips for tour wholesalers and retailers from its key markets. Bandar Seri Begawan best depicts the culture and heritage of Brunei, while Temburong, Muara and Tutong are places visitors will enjoy for nature. Popular beaches are located in Muara, Jerudong and Tutong, whereas diving, a Bandar Seri Begawan best depicts the culture and heritage of Brunei, while Temburong, Muara and Tutong are places visitors will enjoy for nature. Diving, a new product Brunei Tourism wants to promote, can be best enjoyed at Brunei Bay. Urs FLUEELER/123RF.COM p The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

18 BRUNEI new product Brunei Tourism wants to promote, can be best enjoyed at Brunei Bay. The NTO is also promoting its culture and Muslim way of life, targeting especially Muslim travellers from China, Malaysia and Indonesia. For 2014, it is targeting 240,149 tourists, an increase from 2013 s total of 224,904 arrivals. At press time, 2015 s arrivals target has yet to be determined. ARRIVALS The top 10 source market in 1Q2014 were Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, UK, India, Japan and Thailand. These 10 countries accounted for 84 per cent of total tourist arrivals (53,282) to Brunei. Malaysia remains the top destination due to easy air accessibility and close proximity. Comparing 1Q2014 with the corresponding period in 2013, among the top 10 source markets, only China and India turned in positive growth of 4.4 and 0.7 per cent respectively. All other markets recorded a decrease. Markets that showed the biggest decrease were the UK (-56.2) and Australia (-38.2), due partly to Brunei Tourism s shrunken budget for promotions in these two markets. The longhaul market remained small compared with the Asia-Pacific market, which made up the bulk of air arrivals to the Sultanate. Hence, the main focus of Brunei Tourism s marketing efforts will continue to be on Asia- Pacific. For 2014, the NTO will focus on B2B and B2C consumer travel shows around Asia where there are direct flights to Brunei. Top 10 source markets in 2013 Country Malaysia 57,476 China 30,481 Philippines 18,868 Indonesia 18,109 Singapore 17,819 Australia 13,823 UK 12,162 India 6,281 Thailand 6,063 Japan 5,747 Arrival numbers Top 10 source markets in 1Q2014 Country Arrivals numbers in 1Q2014 Arrivals numbers in 1Q2013 Malaysia 14,303 15, China Indonesia Singapore Philippines Australia UK India 1, Japan 1, Thailand 1, Source: Brunei Tourism Yearon-year change (%) Urs FLUEELER/123RF.COM p A fisherman at sea around the capital 16 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

19 HOTEL PERFORMANCE According to Brunei Tourism, the inventory in Brunei was 3,567 rooms, including hotels and apartments as of August There are only two new hotel openings in 2014 V Plaza Hotel, in Kuala Belait and Stoneville Hotel, in Temburong. As per the Brunei Association of Hotels, the average occupancy rate (AOR) in Brunei for 1H2014 was 38.8 per cent, lower than 2013 s 53 per cent. The increase was largely attributed to Brunei chairing of the ASEAN Summit. There is only one five-star property in Brunei, which is The Empire Hotel & Country Club. The 522-room hotel s AOR and revenue per available room in 1H2014 were 27.5 per cent and B$76 (US$59) respectively. This year s low occupancy was attributed to a decrease in arrivals. While the introduction of the Sharia law in May 2014 received support from some Muslim travellers, according to inbound travel consultants, it also made promotions to non- Muslim markets more difficult. Recent airline disasters also raised safety concerns among international travellers, which resulted in some short-term deferments on non-essential travel. Brunei rates are fixed throughout the year, with no high or low season. For travel consultants, there are no blackout dates other than during Chinese New Year. According to some inbound consultants, Brunei hotels are maintaining contract rates for departure check-in hall, improved security system, baggage handling and the expansion of floor areas. Costing B$150 million, the renewal project is expected to double annual passenger capacity to three million. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit All year round; rooms are easy to secure at any time of the year, except during Chinese New Year. Tipping culture Tipping is not expected. Public transportation There are no metered taxis in Brunei and the limited number means flagging one down is not easy. There are six bus routes servicing the Bandar Seri Begawan area and they operate from 6.30 to Water taxis are the most common means of transportation at Kampung Ayer. Sound advice Ask for permission before taking photographs inside a mosque. BRUNEI New hotels in 2014 V Plaza Hotel, Kuala Belait, 82 keys, 1Q Stoneville Hotel, Temburong, 36 keys, 1Q AIR ACCESS Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) commenced flights between Melbourne and London via Bandar Seri Begawan and Dubai on April 3, 2014, using its Dreamliner B787. It makes two stops, which breaks the journey into three legs. The first leg departs Melbourne and arrives in Brunei s capital, while the second leg departs Bandar Seri Begawan to arrive in Dubai, where it makes an hour-long fuel stop before continuing on to London. In May 2014, the airline signed a contract with Airbus covering the firm order of seven A320neo aircraft plus three options, under the latest phase of its fleet modernisation programme. Delivery of the fleet will begin in Featuring a two-class premium layout, the aircraft will be operated on the airline s regional network linking Bandar Seri Begawan with destinations across Asia. Additionally, RBA resumed services to Bali In July 2014 and Ho Chi Minh City in October. The airline had suspended flights to Bali and Ho Chi Minh City in 2008 and 2011 respectively. Meanwhile, Brunei International Airport is undergoing expansion and renovation works which are scheduled for completion in 4Q2014. Once completed, there will be a new p Water taxis waiting for customers IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Brunei Tourism Website: Travel trade associations Association of Travel Agents Brunei Website: Brunei Association of Hotels gmail.com Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

20 BRUNEI SPOTLIGHT ON BRUNEI WITH S PUVANESWARY WHAT S KEY Kampong Ayer is a must-see destination for all, regardless of age. It is a historic settlement of more than 4,000 houses built on stilts over Brunei River, and is home to more than 20,000 people. Many of these houses have been in continuous occupation for at least 400 years. For royal watchers, Brunei History Centre has a wealth of information regarding the Sultans of Brunei, from family trees to replicas of royal tombs to reference books on regal matters. It opens from Monday to Thursday and Saturday, 7.45 to 12.00, to Admission is free. Then there is Royal Regalia Museum on Jalan Sultan, a tribute to the Sultan. The main gallery presents a recreation of the coronation of the Sultan, while another is devoted to information on the Sultan s life up to the time of his coronation. It is open from Saturday to Thursday, 9.00 to 16.30; Friday, 9.30 to and to Admission is free. For nature lovers, a must-visit attraction is Ulu Temburong National Park. Within the park, visitors are kept off the delicate vegetation on the forest floor, thanks to a series of canopy walkways rising above the treetops. There are many experiences to savour here, from watching gibbons foraging along the river at daybreak to taking on the Grade 1 and 2 rapids on the Temburong River. p Kampong Ayer in Bandar Seri Begawan (top); Royal Throne, at the Royal Regalia Museum 18 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

21 WHAT S NEW Diving is being promoted by Brunei Tourism. There is relatively little fishing in Brunei waters, resulting in many diving sites still in pristine condition and still mostly unknown to the diving community at large. There are shallow coral dives perfect for inexperienced divers, as well as more challenging reef- and wreck dives. Tour operator Oceanic Quest has charted more than 50 potential dive sites in Brunei waters, the most interesting and accessible dive sites being the sheltered waters of Brunei Bay and coastal reefs of Brunei. These sites are very accessible, with the Brunei International Airport being less than 30 minutes drive. Brunei Tourism and some inbound operators are strongly promoting the Sultanate s Malay heritage and Islamic traditions. Tours are designed to give participants enriched with meaningful and memorable experiences of an ancient Sultanate, where strong religious faith and practical modern life harmoniously co-exist. Itineraries include visits to Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Islamic Exhibition Gallery to view some of His Majesty s priceless collection of ancient Holy Qurans and manuscripts, mosques, as well as various museums in Brunei. BRUNEI p Diving in crystal clear waters ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

22 BRUNEI their services. Tourists are usually taken on a tour of the house by the owner and served lunch or tea. Interactive activities such as learning to make local handicrafts or a traditional dish can also be arranged with advance notice. Some itineraries also include a one- or two-night homestay experience. Freme Travel Services and Sunshine Borneo Tours offer homestay programmes at Kampong Sungai Matan and Kampong Ayer respectively. p Ulu Temburong National Park Brunei Tourism and operators are strongly promoting the Sultanate s Malay heritage and Islamic traditions. Tours are designed to give participants meaningful and memorable experiences of an ancient Sultanate, where religious faith and modern life harmoniously co-exist. WHAT S GOING ON Royal Regatta, February/March 2015 The regatta is jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It features traditional boat race events and speed boat competitions. Hari Raya Aidilfitri, July 18 and 19, 2015 His Majesty the Sultan will have an Open House at Nurul Iman Palace, which gives visitors a chance to meet and wish His Majesty and other members of the Royal Family. Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day, May 31, 2015 This event is held at Haji Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien Park. It comprises a military parade and displays such as parachuting shows for the public. His Majesty the Sultan s Birthday, July 15 Every year, His Majesty will deliver a speech, usually at Taman Haji Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien, followed by an investiture at the Istana Nurul Iman. There will be a twoweek celebration to mark this happy occasion around the world, culinary delights and entertainment. Revellers can also participate in a series of guided hiking tours to discover the city s hidden places. HOW TO HELP Many inbound travel operators offer tour programmes that take visitors to the homes of local communities to experience the local way of life. Homestays benefit the villagers, who are paid a fee by the local tour operator for I RECOMMEND... What to do: Kampong Ayer is a great way to experience the lifestyle and S PUVANESWARY customs of local villagers who choose to live in houses built on stilts above water. It is about experiencing how a simple life can still be meaningful and happy. Take a tour of the village on water via the water taxis. It gives one a different perspective from walking along the village on foot via the boardwalks. Where to stay: For me a holiday means quality time spent lazing. The luxurious The Empire Hotel & Country Club offers just the right facilities that kept me happy during my three-day stay in the Sultanate a few years back. It has a lovely beach with water sports activities as well as a swimming pool and a cinema playing the latest movies. What to eat: Ambuyat, a dish native to Brunei, is a must-try. It is derived from the interior trunk of the sago palm. An Ambuyat set will comprise Ambuyat and dips as well as traditional Brunei dishes to accompany your meal, such as sweet potato leaves cooked in gravy, fried fish, and pais marinated meat wrapped in banana leaves and grilled or baked. What to see: Head to Royal Regalia Museum for a better understanding of Brunei Royalty. Visitors get a glimpse of the Sultan s full royal regalia, including the crown and royal chariot, along with a vast collection of opulent treasures and gifts given to His Majesty and chronicling his achievements. All photos in Brunei section from Brunei Tourism unless otherwise stated. 20 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

23 CAMBODIA CAMBODIA By Greg Lowe Cambodia s tourism sector remains in good health and continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years, with the destination targeting 4.6 million international arrivals in 2014, rising to five million in 2015 and eight million by 2020 when annual spending is forecast to reach US$5billion. Growth has been buoyed by the increase in LCCs servicing the country over the past few years. The destination s performance was negatively affected early in the year by Thailand s protracted political crisis, where a spate of cancellations to Bangkok the key transit hub in the region also caused arrivals to decline in Cambodia. Phnom Penh also faced its own unrest during the first half of the year when sporadic and occasionally violent labour disputes spilled onto the capital s streets. The situation has since returned to normal. However, Cambodia is still sold as an extension to a regional trip rather than as a destination in its own right, a key problem often cited by travel experts. Ancient temples, especially the Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap and Khmer Rogue-era memorials remain key attractions. DMCs say about 80 per cent of their clients, especially those from longhaul markets, head straight to Angkor; most of the remaining 20 per cent land in Phnom Penh but will also visit Siem Reap. Sihanoukville is being promoted as the country s premier beach destination, but it currently only has a few international-standard four- and five-star properties and cannot yet compete with beach destinations in established markets such as Phuket. Jan Skwara/123RF.COM p Monument of independence, Vimean Ekareach in Phnom Penh ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

24 CAMBODIA ARRIVALS p Vimean Ekareach at night, in Phnom Penh More than 2.5 million international travellers visited Cambodia from January to July, representing 4.5 per cent growth from 2.4 million visitors a year earlier, according to data from Cambodian Ministry of Tourism s statistics and tourism information department. While the performance was positive, the rate of growth was significantly lower than the 17.5 per cent achieved in 2013 in fact, arrivals had grown by between 14.9 per cent and 24.4 per cent each year since 2010 so the effects of political problems on the domestic front and in neighbouring Thailand have been significant. Vietnam remained the key source market with 492,920 visitors during the period, a three per cent decline from the previous year, followed by China (318,245, +19 per cent), South Korea (267,915, -0.1 per cent), Laos (230,699, +3.9 per cent) and Thailand (125,732, -3.2 per cent). It is worth noting that Cambodian tourism figures include cross-border trade almost half of the arrivals to the country travel overland which skew the data in favour of neighbouring Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Japan and the US are the only other places from where arrivals exceeded 100,000 in the first seven months, with 121,679 (11.7 per cent) and 116,146 (2.7 per cent) respectively. Statistics on tourism spending and length of stay are published annually. The most recent figures are from 2013, when 4.2 million international arrivals stayed an average 6.8 days per person, up from 6.3 the previous year. Total tourism spending was US$2.5 billion, up from US$2.2 billion in Ralf Kleemann/123RF.COM HOTEL PERFORMANCE Reliable data on hotel performance is hard to come by in Cambodia, a market that is not yet covered by the likes of STR Global. The most recent data published by the Ministry of Tourism shows average occupancy in 2013 was 69.4 per cent, up less than one percentage point from 68.5 per cent the previous year. Average occupancy has been above 65 per cent since Siem Reap remains the key hotel investment market, with a number of international branded resorts including Sofitel, Park Hyatt, Anantara, Raffles, Le Meridien, as well as a number of luxury boutique properties such as Soneva Kiri. This provides a stark contrast to the situation in Phnom Penh, which currently only has three five-star properties, Sofitel Phokeethra Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel Le Royal and InterContinental Hotel. Hoteliers report occupancy is above 60 per cent in the capital, but the luxury market remains soft. Most leisure visitors stay just one or two nights, with MICE groups staying a little longer. Anecdotal evidence from international travel specialists based in Cambodia suggests the country s lack of infrastructure and attractions dampen its allure with leisure tourists. Phnom Penh especially needs more for tourists to do in the city for the hotel market to be able to sustain more international-standard properties. While there has been an increase in weekend arrivals from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, the overall numbers are still relatively low, industry players shared. The market is even less developed in Sihanoukville, which the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism is promoting as the country s prime beach destination, where there is a serious shortfall in quality accommodation. Cambodia Airports, which runs the local airport, says the resort town only has about 1,000 four- and five-star rooms. Several DMCs say the properties they can use for longhaul clients from Europe and the US include the 391-key Sokha Beach Resort and the luxury 27-villa Song Saa Island resort. Another option is the four-star 113-room Independence Hotel & Spa. Cambodia s tourism sector remains in good health and continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years, with higher arrival targets set for 2014 and beyond. Source markets in January-July 2014 Market Arrival numbers Total 2,541, Vietnam 492, China 318, South Korea 267, Laos 230, Thailand 125, Source: Ministry of Tourism, Statistics and Tourism Information Department Year-on-year change (%) Performance from 2010 to 2013 Year Average occupancy Average length of stay (days) Tourism receipts (US$, millions) , , , ,547 Source: Cambodia s Ministry of Tourism, Statistics and Tourism Information Department 22 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

25 CAMBODIA Kessudap/123RF.COM p Royal Palace in Phnom Penh New hotels in 2014 and Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence, 523 rooms, 3Q Rosewood Phnom Penh, 148 rooms, 2015 AIR ACCESS Some 5.1 million passengers passed through Cambodia Airports facilities in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville last year and the operator expects the figure to rise to 5.4 million this year. It also plans to invest US$120 million to double capacity of the international terminals at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports from 2.5 million to five million by the end of 2015 and early LCCs the likes of AirAsia are adopting a wait-and-see strategy with Sihanoukville. Increased room capacity is essential if the market is to become feasible for budget airlines, the lifeblood of much of the country s trade. It would only take four or five Airbus A320s, the aircraft favoured by LCCs, to fill most of the destination s rooms. Sihanoukville is also expanding its runway to 2,500m and renovating the facility as a cost of about US$40million. The destination welcomed its first seasonal direct charter flight from Seoul in July when Skywings Asia Airlines launched its inaugural flight. China is a key source market for Cambodia, serviced by seven airlines, four regular and three additional seasonal connections during the winter, according to Cambodia Airports. A number of new domestic players have recently entered the market. In September, Cambodia s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation licensed Apsara International Air to launch a service between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and its CEO was reported as saying there are plans to start flights to China next year. Bassaka Air plans to start flights to China from December The same month Cambodia Bayon Airlines will launch domestic flights, with an eye on expanding its network to China in the near future. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit December and January are the best months to visit Cambodia, humidity is at its lowest and temperatures range from C. April is the hottest month when the mercury reaches 40 C. Tipping culture Some restaurants include service, otherwise tipping is at your discretion. Keeping some Cambodian riel, the local currency, is useful for small tips; otherwise you have to break out US dollars. Public transportation There are very few taxis in Cambodia, but the tuk tuk a three-wheeled motorised vehicle is ubiquitous. Short rides around Phnom Phen start from US$2, more if you flag one down outside an expensive hotel. Sound advice You can only withdraw Cambodian riel from an ATM if you have a local bank account. Otherwise it s US dollars all the way. Be sure to keep small denomination notes with you at all times. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Tourism Cambodia Website: Travel trade association Cambodia Association of Travel Agents Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

26 CAMBODIA SPOTLIGHT ON CAMBODIA WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Cambodia is a country full of awe-inspiring culture and history that recently decided to promote its natural attractions, including astonishing scenery with dense, unexplored mountains, forests, rivers, caves and waterfalls. Cambodians are extremely hospitable and warm in Conde Nast Traveller s annual readers choice survey in 2014, visitors voted Siem Reap one of the friendliest cities in the world. Not only did travellers enjoy Siem Reap s beautiful sights, delicious cuisine and the extraordinary Angkor Wat, but also the kindness and friendliness of the Cambodian people. TREND WATCH With an extensive list of new excursions and cruises, Cambodia has much more to offer than temple visits. The RV Indochine, the flagship of Compagnie Fluviale Du Mekong, is available for cruising on the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. Each of the 24 wellappointed cabins offers a luxurious experience in a stylish and cosy environment. Cruise company Aqua Expeditions also launched a five star cruise ship, the Aqua Mekong, in September 2014 for trips from My Tho and Siem Reap. p Ta Promh Khmer temple; Buddhist monks (top; middle); RV Indochine 24 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

27 While cycling tours continue to be the best way to explore Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, other options include kayaking, hiking and bird watching. CAMBODIA DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE Phnom Krom is a small 140m hill located 12km south-west of Siem Reap near the north end of Tonle Sap Lake. The view from the hill is breathtaking. Visitors can sit back, relax and take in the view while enjoying a sunset cocktail. Alternatively, expert local Vespa drivers are available to whisk visitors to striking surroundings, introducing them to Cambodia s exotic cuisine typically involving fresh spices and herbs. These guided tours expose visitors to the Khmer way of life. To enjoy the real Cambodian food scene in Siem Reap, some exploration is needed. Vespa Adventures offers a special ride that leads participants out of the main tourist areas and into the real Khmer nightlife. After an exciting Vespa day ride, participants will find themselves on a bustling street of vendors peddling an overwhelming variety of unusual food and fruits. The tour ends with visits p Vespa Adventure s-after Dark Foodie tour in Siem Reap (top); Phsar Thmei central market in Phnom Penh ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

28 CAMBODIA q Plae Pakaa by Cambodian Living Arts chanting. The final day is the most important. On this day, at every pagoda around the country, the mass collection of offerings is dedicated to the souls of ancestors. In the early morning, visitors can join the crowd at pagodas and take photos of the locals of all ages in traditional costume. Women especially don their best traditional dresses and come wearing silk, embroidered blouses and scarves, and bearing offerings, candles and incense. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) has taught nearly 600 students in nine different provinces studying a variety of traditional forms of Cambodian dance, music and theatre. In 2010, the school realised there was a dearth of jobs in the arts sector. With the help of friends and donors, it built a stage from the ground up at the National Museum, creating Plae Pakaa, a top-ranking cultural performance in an open-air theatre showcasing traditional Cambodian dance and opera accompanied by live music. Through Plae Pakaa, CLA employs over 100 arts professionals including dancers, singers, musicians, and production technicians. Diethelm Travel Cambodia recommends and encourages visitors to join CLA s events, including the events on the must-do list for travellers. DIETHELM TO YOU to some great restaurants that only the locals know about, featuring freshly prepared food. URBAN RETREAT Visitors ought to visit the village of Kompong Khleang near Siem Reap, as this permanent community is one of the largest on the Tonle Sap Lake, home to over 20,000 people living in gigantic stilt houses and making a living from fishing. It is a spectacular site where a private boat can be boarded to visit a small island at the centre of the village to see its market, school and brightly painted pagodas. Continuing on, life in floating houses on the lake can be observed. An overnight stay in a fisherman s house can be arranged, including a dinner prepared by the family. After breakfast the following morning with the family, participants will travel through rice paddies on the ox cart. HOT DATE PCHUM BEN DAY, September 28-October 13, 2015 This is a colourful religious festival for blessing the souls of those who have passed away. It lasts 15 days, each of which is called Kan Ben. During the first 14 days, the local people take food to their local pagoda in the hope that it will reach the souls of their ancestors and friends through the monks My favourite place is the central market (Phsar Thmei) of Phnom Penh. The unique Art Deco building with its high dome and four arms branching out into hallways crammed with countless stalls of goods is a landmark in the city. Within, visitors can find PIERRE JUNGO Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Cambodia watches, jewellery and stalls that sell luggage, clothes, fabrics, shoes, electronic goods, stationery and countless other products. Particularly interesting are the wet and dry markets around the central dome where seafood, desserts and every spice needed to prepare Cambodian food are sold. It is open until 17.00, allowing plenty of time to explore. I also recommend a cycling tour out of the city to the countryside, taking a ferry to cross rivers, and passing coriander gardens and small wooden houses. Visits can be paid too to the schools and small rural pagodas, before returning to town with a completely altered view of life outside Phnom Penh. Bicycles are also the best means of transportation in Siem Reap. Then, my favourite eating place is the Mie Café. A quiet place near the bustling city centre of Siem Reap, its appeal lies in its wooden house and the fresh smell of the garden. The décor is warm, simple and beautiful and the service, very friendly. Chef and owner Pola Siv has created a truly unique menu to boast about. He is a self-made man who realised his dream with this restaurant after training in the hospitality sector in Switzerland. My favourite dish is roasted eggplant with fried pork. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 26 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

29 CHINA CHINA By Hong Xu According to China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), China s domestic tourist numbers in 2013 increased 10.3 per cent year-on-year, reaching 3.3 billion. China Tourism Academy, the research arm of CNTA, has anticipated that for 2014, the number of domestic tourists will hit 3.6 billion, up 11.3 per cent year-on-year, while outbound tourist numbers will increase 18.2 per cent to 116 million. It has also projected that total foreign tourist arrivals will stop declining and will be equivalent to 2013 s. According to Bernold O Schroeder, CEO of Pan Pacific Hotels Group, China is now the world s largest outbound tourism market and spender, and the Experienced Affluent consumer segment is expected to spearhead the explosive growth of China s outbound market over the next decade. By 2020, China will account for 50 per cent of Asia s outbound expenditure. He noted that the Chinese traveller s appetite has grown tremendously over the past few years. Currently, about two-thirds of outbound travel is to Hong Kong and Macau, but as the market matures and with the easing of visa requirements, travellers will start to venture farther to Southeast Asia and longhaul destinations. Additionally, they are already beginning to eschew packaged tours for independent travel, and prioritise local cultural experiences, outdoor activity and relaxation over shopping. China s new tourism law since October 2013 banning zero-fare tours has also led to a decline in outbound numbers to countries like South Korea and Australia, so O Schroeder recommends that travel agencies reinvent their offerings to cater to preferences for independent travel. Shao Qiwei, director of CNTA, has projected that in the next five years, the number of China s outbound tourists will exceed 500 million. ARRIVALS Foreign tourists arrivals fell 3.3 per cent year-on-year to 26.3 million in Wu Wenxue, deputy director of CNTA, attributed the fall to the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the sharp drop of Japanese tourists, natural disasters in China, as well as the appreciation of the renminbi. However, he is upbeat foreign tourist arrivals in 2014 will rebound. In 2013, Asia remained China s major source market region, with total tourist arrivals of 16.1 million and accounting for 61.2 per cent of total foreign visitors, albeit decreasing 3.4 per cent year-on-year. South Korea sent the most number of tourists. Vietnam witnessed the largest growth rate of 20.1 per cent. Apart from the African market, all other markets witnessed a year-on-year drop. European tourists totalled 5.7 million, down 4.4 per cent. Oceanian tourists totalled 863,400, down 5.6 per cent. In 1H2014, China attracted 12.5 million foreign tourist arrivals, a year-on-year drop of 1.78 per cent. Tourists from Asia reached 7.7 million, accounting for over 60 per cent of total foreign visitors. There were seven Asian countries in the top 10 source markets. The US is the third source market, after South Korea and Japan. The number of foreign tourists for sightseeing in 1H2014 was about 4.2 million, accounting for 34 per cent of total foreign tourist arrivals; 2.6 million, or 21 per cent, came for business; the rest are for other purposes, such as visiting friends or relatives. From January to July 2014, the number of foreign tourists continued to decline. Official statistics showed that, during this period, China attracted 14.7 million foreign tourist arrivals, a year-on-year drop of 1.4 per cent. Arrivals from Vietnam recorded the largest year-on-year increase of 21.3 per cent, while Japan saw the largest drop of 7.1 per cent. International source markets in January-July 2014 Country Arrival numbers South Korea 2.3 million +2.0 Japan 1.5 million -7.1 US 1.2 million -1.3 Russia 1.7 million -4.8 Vietnam 917, Mongolia 599, Malaysia 594, Philippines 557, Singapore 522, Overall total 14.7 million -1.4 Source: CNTA Year-onyear change (%) ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

30 CHINA HOTEL PERFORMANCE The year 2013 was a challenging one for China s hotel industry. The Chinese government s policies to restrain public consumption had hit the high-end hotels hard, competition among mid-level hotels was fierce, and the budget hotel sector became saturated, with declining profits. According to CNTA, by end-2013, there were 11,687 registered star-rated hotels across the country, with approximately 1.5 million rooms or 2.7 million beds. Aggregated revenue was RMB229 billion (US$37.4 billion), of which 42.3 per cent were revenue from F&B and per cent from rooms. In 2014, China s hotel sector is basically a continuation of 2013 s, which is essentially flat. According to Han Ming, president of China Hotel Association, the toughest challenge the hotel industry is facing now is the substantial decline in income from F&B and meeting segments. However, comparing to the first year when the government s policy of restraining public consumption was announced (December 2012), it s much better now; the domestic hotel sector is slowly recovering with growing demand from the general public, he said. According to Han, in 1H2014, average occupancy rate (AOR) in fact rose from the same period in 2013, while average room rate (ARR) dropped slightly. In 2Q2014, the aggregated revenue of the total 11,955 hotels were RMB52.28 billion, out of which, 41.4 per cent were revenue from F&B and 46.1 per cent from rooms. Meanwhile, Jesper Palmqvist, director, Asia Pacific of STA Global, said China s hotel sector still has great potential and that it is not true to say that supply has exceeded demand. Chuyu/123RF.COM China s hotel sector still has great potential and it is not true to say that supply has exceeded demand. No. of properties in 2013 Overall 11,687 5-star star 2,361 3-star 5,631 2-star 2,831 Performance in 2013 Indicator Overall 5-star 4-star 3-star AOR 56.0% 56% 57% 55.6% ARR RMB333 RMB687 RMB363 RMB216 Revenue per available room (RevPAR) RMB186 RMB385 RMB207 RMB120 Top 10 cities in 2013 by key performance indicators AOR ARR RevPAR Changsha Sanya Shanghai Kunming Shanghai Sanya Lhasa Beijing Changsha Sanya Chengdu Beijing Shenzhen Guanghzou Guangzhou Lijiang Shenzhen Wenzhou Guiyang Xiamen Fuzhou Nanjing Wuhan Wuxi Haikou Qingdao Nanjing Fuzhou Lijiang Shenzhen Performance in 2Q2014 Indicator Overall 5-star 4-star 3-star AOR 54.35% 56.13% 54.8% 53.87% ARR RMB326 RMB666 RMB345 RMB210 RevPAR RMB177 RMB374 RMB189 RMB113 p The Bund in Shanghai, at dusk Top 10 cities in 2Q2014 by key performance indicators ARR AOR RevPAR Shanghai Changsha Shanghai Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou Sanya Nanjing Sanya Guangzhou Jinan Beijing Chengdu Shenzhen Shenzhen Shenzhen Zhuhai Changsha Xiamen Guangzhou Xiamen Hangzhou Lhasa Hangzhou Tianjian Xiamen Nanjing Qingdao Fuzhou Fuzhou Source: CNTA 28 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

31 New hotels in Waldorf Astoria Beijing, 171 keys, 1Q Hotel Pullman Shanghai South, 338 keys, 1Q Lushan Resort, Jiujiang, 297 rooms, 2Q Millennium Resort Hangzhou, 151 keys, 2Q JW Marriott Hotel Beijing Central, 412 keys, 2Q Hyatt Regency Chongming Shanghai, 235 keys, 2Q The Westin Chongqing Liberation Square, 336 keys, 2Q F-hotel, Ningbo, 81 keys, 3Q The GtEL Qingdao, 152 keys, 3Q Hyatt Regency Suzhou, 355 keys, 3Q JW Marriott, Zhengzhou, 416 keys, 3Q St Regis Hotel, Chengdu, 279 keys, 3Q Wanda Realm Hotel, Jining, 280 keys, 3Q Hengtong Gloria Resort Suzhou, 72 keys, 3Q Hilton Qingdao Golden Beach, 431 keys, 3Q Wanda Vista Hotel, Dongwan, 302 keys, 3Q The Azure Qiantang, Hangzhou, 205 keys, 3Q Grand Mercure Beijing Dongcheng, 202 keys, 3Q The Westin Blue Bay Resort, Hainan, 356 keys, 3Q Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian, 71 keys, 3Q Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel, 329 keys, 3Q The Westin Zhujiajian Resort, Zhoushan, 263 keys, 3Q G Charlton Hotels & Resorts, Sanya, Hainan, 402 keys, 3Q Blue Horizon International Hotel Gaomi, Weifang, 311 keys, 3Q Doubletree by Hilton Hainan Qixianling Hot Spring, 254 keys, 3Q Sheraton Zhuhai Hotel, 548 keys, 4Q Hotel Nikko Guangzhou, 400 keys, 4Q Rosewood Beijing, 283 keys, 4Q W Beijing Chang an, 353 key, 4Q Grand Hyatt Lijiang, 312 keys, 4Q Yanqi Lake Kempinski Hotel Beijing, 595 keys, 4Q Crowne Plaza Guangdong Zengcheng, 340 keys, 4Q Pan Pacific Hotel and Serviced Suites Tianjin, 319 keys, 4Q DoubleTree by Hilton Haikou Meilan, Hainan, 543 keys, 4Q Hongqiao International Airport, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, Shenzhen Baoan International Airport, Kunming Changshui International Airport, Xi an Xianyang International Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport and Hangzhou Xiaoshan international Airport. Passenger throughput of airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou accounted for 29 per cent of all. On July 31, 2014, the State Council officially approved Zhejiang Yiwu Airport to be open to international flights. At present, the airport has completed construction of its international terminal, it has plans to initially open flights from Yiwu to South-east Asian countries. The Chinese government has also encouraged airline companies to venture out. As a result, domestic airlines launched as many as 92 new international flights in For instance, China Southern Airlines started new flights from Shenzhen to Danang, and from Changchun to Bangkok. It also increased flights from Guangzhou to Delhi. China Eastern Airlines launched Nanchang-Phuket, Nanchang-Singapore, Wuhan-Phuket, and Chengdu-Chiang Mai flights. In 2014, Air China launched Beijing-Rangoon as well as Beijing-Cheju flights. The Yunnan branch of China Eastern Airlines has set its eye on the South-east Asian market with new flights from Kunming to Naypyidaw and Jakarta. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit Spring or autumn is the best for most places, with the exception of some tourist attractions. Tipping culture Tipping is not practised in China, as a service charge applies on most bills. Public transportation Taxis are the most convenient option in most cities, but in Beijing and Shanghai, the subway is a well-developed mode to get around. Sound advice Do not visit the country during holidays such as the week-long National Day, as everywhere in China will be crowded. IMPORTANT CONTACTS CHINA AIR ACCESS According to Civil Aviation Administration of China, as of end- 2013, there were 193 domestic airports, 10 more than the year before. These newly opened airports were Alxa Left Banner Bayanhot Airport, Alxa Right Banner Badanjilin Airport and Ejin Banner Taolai Airport, which are all in Inner Mongolia; Hebei Zhangjiakou Airport, Sichuan Daocheng Yading Airport, Guizhou Kaili Huangping Airport, Anhui Chizhou Jiuhuashan Airport, Guizhou Bijie Feixiong Airport, Jiangxi Yichun Mingyue Mountain Airport, and Gansu Gannan Xiahe Airport. The top 10 airports in terms of traffic in 2013 were Beijing Capital internal Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai NTO China National Tourism Administration Website: China Tourism Academy Website: Travel trade associations China Association of Travel Services Website: Shanghai tourism Trade Association Website: China Tourist Hotels Association Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

32 CHINA SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL With the introduction of high-speed trains in many cities and an increase in flights, both domestic and international, today s China is more accessible. The eyes of the world are on China and the government is promoting tourism by announcing further expansion plans of its 72-hour visa-free policy to additional cities in China, including a continuation of their efforts in expediting visa applications. Additionally, China s Tibet Autonomous Region founded a chamber of tourism in the capital of Lhasa to bring more visitors to the area. Once a landmark in Chinese culture, Beijing s Dashilar Teahouse opened its doors again after 40 years of closure and renovations. TREND WATCH China is still a mystery to many. From the modern, vibrant Shanghai to the cultural experience of Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xi an to a cruise along the Yangtze River, China has something for every visitor. Now, the country even offers a beach destination with Sanya, known as the Hawaii of China, providing a wide choice of accommodations for all categories of visitors. p Potala Palace under the morning sunshine in Lhasa, Tibet (top); Wuzhizhou Beach in Sanya 30 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

33 DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE q The Terracotta Warriors in Xi an Kingsway Tented Resort is located about two hours drive from Lijiang on the riverside of the Yangtze, with Yulong Snow Mountain to the east and Laojunshan National Park, known as the Grand Canyon of China, to the west. The whole area covers 45km 2 of grassland, with the tent camp parked in the centre. Meanwhile, Gladin Prairie is a little-known alpine meadow with beautiful scenery and quiet places to hide in the mountains. The meadow east of the famous Yangtze River First Beach is perfect for camping, and allows for a panoramic view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain s 13 peaks. CHINA URBAN RETREAT The Brilliant Resort & Spa located in Kunming, Yunnan offers a spa with an outdoor garden pool. The entire property spans 15,000m 2, including a unique water house with a glass floor and large windows affording views of beautiful Yangzonghai. Then, a visit to Amdo in February allows an experience of colourful Buddhist and minority culture at the Monlam Festival. Buddhist Thangka paintings are on display at Guomari monastery, the Longwu monastery offers the chance to see monks debating, and Labrang monastery Manit Larpluechai/123RF.COM p Jade Dragon snow mountain near Lijiang in Yunan ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

34 BECAUSE WE ALL CARE CHINA q Longwu Temple, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Huangnan Prefecture, Qinghai Yunlong County is located in western Yunnan s Lancang Rift Valley, in the Dali Prefecture. It is mountainous and many children have to live on campus to attend school. As average income in the region is quite low, some students still lack basic necessities such as stationery and clothing. Diethelm Travel visited and organised donation drives to improve the living conditions of the children at the school, enduring a three-hour drive from Dali, passing Connaught Deng village in Yunlong, the first Chinese landscape village and one of the top 10 tourist towns in Yunnan. The town is also known for its Shimen wel. Connaught Deng is located in the mountains north of Deng Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, an area with thousands of years of Bai village culture. It is projected that China s total foreign arrivals will stop declining and will be equivalent to 2013 s. DIETHELM TO YOU features lectures from professors and Monlam chanting ceremonies. Diethelm offers tours to Amdo region, located in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau comprising Qinghai, northern Sichuan and southwest Gansu provinces. Many families in Amdo are nomads who maintain the traditional Tibetan culture and lifestyle, herding yaks and sheep. The area is known for its well-preserved monasteries and sacred mountains. HOT DATES Chinese New Year, February 18-23, 2015 This is the most important festival in China, where families gather and celebrate with many colourful activities. As it is celebrated nationwide, there is diversity in the types of parties. Mid-autumn Festival, September 27, 2015 In the evening of this important day, watch families stay up late together eating moon cakes, gazing at the moon and admiring colourful lanterns. Ganlanba is one of my favourite places, also known as Menghan in the Dai language, some 26km down the Mekong River from Jinghong. With fertile land growing an abundance of rice and various tropical fruits, it has traditionally been inhabited by JULIA SHI Managing Director, Diethelm Travel China Dais. With vast paddy fields in the countryside spread across a canvas dotted with Dai villages, the region paints a picture of peaceful rural life. The people are hospitable and hardworking, maintaining most of their ancestors traditions, such as practising Theravada Buddhism, living in stilt houses, growing rice and being optimistic about life. Since Ganlanba it s a flat region with paved roads connecting the villages, biking around is recommended. Another place I like is Mount Nannuo, 25km to the west of Jinghong city, and famous for tea production. The local residents are mostly Aini, a sub-branch of Hani, living at elevations of 1,200 to 1600m. The cool and humid climate paired with fertile forest soil yields a superb quality of tea. This is a good place for short hikes, walking across the forest with numerous aged tea trees, some of them hundreds of years old, and passing the Aini villages while learning about their history and culture. The locals are very friendly and will think nothing of inviting visitors into their home for a chat with family members over a cup of homegrown organic tea. My favourite restaurant is Cai Chun Qing located at the corner of Man Ting Lu and Meng Long Lu in Xishuangbanna. It is a Dai restaurant offering a wide range of local food, from traditional sour shrimp soup to simple fried rice options, you can always find something to your taste. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 32 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

35 HONG KONG HONG KONG By Prudence Lui Encouraged by the continuous growth in visitor arrivals in recent years, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) projected high 8.6 per cent growth to about 59 million arrivals for Over half of the total marketing budget for set at HK$330.6 million (US$42.6 million) will be used for promotions targeting overnight visitors, and out of this 75 per cent will be for the international markets, compared to 70 per cent in The remaining 25 per cent will be used to drive the China market, particularly overnight arrivals from non-guangdong areas. Relatively new markets like Russia, India, the GCC countries, Vietnam and the Netherlands had achieved satisfactory performance in As of Aug 2014, there were about 532,256 visitors from these new markets, representing year-on-year 3.8 per cent growth. India grew 15.4 per cent, but Vietnam plunged 24.9 per cent. For , HKTB has stepped up promotions to draw Russian and Indian visitors while increasing investment in Vietnam. Meanwhile, despite a commendable year-on-year performance in terms of arrival numbers in the first eight months of 2014, the trade remains cautious for the results in the last quarter, in view of the Occupy Central protest that started in late September. At press time, it is still early days to assess the impact the incident still ongoing has had on tourism, nor is there any clear indication of when it would end. In 2011, the Hong Kong government conducted a review of the regulatory framework of the tourism sector and decided to set up a statutory body, the Travel Industry Authority (TIA), to oversee the regulation of travel agencies and tourist guides. The Tourism Commission has commenced the drafting of the new legislation and other relevant work for the establishment of TIA, which is expected to come into operation in late 2015 at the earliest. p Crowded skyscrapers In the city ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

36 HONG KONG ARRIVALS The year 2014 could be another record year for Hong Kong as total arrivals for the first seven months went up 12.3 per cent to about 33.9 million. The top source market was China, followed by Taiwan, South Korea, the US, and Japan. There were about 15.8 million overnight visitors, a 10.5 per cent increase. Again, China led the pack with 10.8 million arrivals, up 13.2 per cent. In the same period, the shorthaul markets contributed about 5.2 million visitors (up 4.5 per cent excluding China) as per HKTB s statistics. South Korea replaced the US as the third top source market. Leveraging on the stable economic development in the region, HKTB has increased its marketing budget in , rolling out image-boosting campaigns in South-east Asian markets like South Korea and Taiwan. As for the longhaul segment, traffic from the US and Europe for Jan-July 2014 dropped a slight 0.3 per cent yearon-year to about 2.6 million. HKTB has decided to maintain its presence in these markets through public relations and digital marketing efforts, with a focus on attracting highspending, mid-career achievers and the MICE segment. It will also collaborate with major travel agencies and airlines to push multi-destination itineraries featuring Hong Kong and the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region. Top five source markets and respective arrivals in January-July 2014 Country Arrival numbers China 26.1 million Taiwan 1.2 million US 653,437 South Korea 716,548 Japan 612,519 Year-on-year change in overnight arrivals in Jan-July 2014 (%) Overall shorthaul +8.5 Overall longhaul +0.3 China South Korea Singapore +25 Indonesia Source: HKTB HOTEL PERFORMANCE As of June 2014, Hong Kong was home to 231 hotels, or 71,066 rooms. According to Hong Kong Hotels Association (HKHA), the city did very well in the first eight months of 2014, with average occupancy rate (AOR) of 89 per cent, average room rate (ARR) of HK$1,450 (US$187), and revenue per available room of HK$1,300. However, new inventory is slowing a little with new room additions of three to four per cent per annum expected in HKHA, executive director, James Lu said room rates are not expected to soften, as the future addition of new hotel rooms in Hong Kong is well within HKHA s estimates of new tourism demand. The conclusion may be drawn that China s new tourism law curbing zero-fare tours implemented since October 2013 minimally affected top-rated hotels. Occupancy for High Tariff B hotels, which tend to be supported by leisure travellers, remained slightly below the 90 per cent level, indicating continual strong leisure demand to Hong Kong. According to HKTB, approximately 2,488 hotel rooms are expected to enter the supply in 2H2014. As at 2Q2014, approximately 843 hotel rooms were added, most of which belong to independent or locally operated properties with relatively smaller room count (below 150 rooms). If all projects materialise, hotel room supply will increase 4.8 per cent to 73,348 rooms by end p The MIRA Hong Kong Year-on-year change in ARR in 1H2014 (%) Overall +2.8 Tariff A hotels +3.3 Tariff B hotels +3.1 Source: Jones Lang LaSalle s Hotels & Hospitality Group 34 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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38 HONG KONG New hotels in 2014 and A3 Hotel, Kowloon, 37 keys 1Q Residence G, Kowloon, 29 keys 1Q Dorsett Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, 547 keys, 1Q iclub by Regal Tin Hau Hotel, Hong Kong, 338 rooms, 2Q The Pottinger Hong Kong, 68 keys, 2Q Ovolo Southside - Wong Chuk Hang, 162 keys, 3Q TUVE, North Point, Hong Kong, 68 keys, 3Q Pop Hotel ( Tsim Sha Tsui), 63 keys, 3Q iclub Sheung Wan Hotel, Hong Kong, 248 keys, 3Q Somerset Victoria Park Hong Kong, 92 keys, 3Q The Bauhinia Hotel ( Tsim Sha Tsui ) extension project, 89 keys, 3Q IW Hotel, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, 90 keys, 3Q HSRS Red Hotel, Kowloon, 22 keys, 3Q China Grand Hotel, Hong Kong, 214 keys, 3Q Ai Boutique Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, 76 keys, 3Q Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Mongkok, 148 keys, 4Q p Hong Kong Disneyland s night parade Some of the facilities to expect include a five-storey Midfield Concourse with 20 aircraft parking stands, an Automated People Mover linking Terminal 1, and a cross-field taxiway. Meanwhile, the government has approved in principle the construction of HKIA s third runway. The Airport Authority has submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment Report to the Environmental Protection Department in April 2014, with a target to put the three-runway system into operation by Hotel sáv, Hung Hom, 388 keys, 1Q Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong extension project, 75 keys, 1Q ECOTEL, Sham Shui Po, 72 keys, 1Q B & G Hotel, Sham Shui Po, 48 keys, 2Q Chuen Lung Spa Hotel, Tsuen Wan, 78 keys, 2Q The Kush Hotel, Hong Kong, 199 keys, 3Q The Emperor Hotel, 210 keys, 3Q Silka Tsuen Wan, 240 keys, 4Q King s Hotel, Kowloon, 99 keys, 4Q Austin Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, 100 keys, 4Q Source: HKTB AIR ACCESS The award-winning Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) serves as a major regional aviation hub and continues to ensure its competitiveness hardware and software upgrade. New international destinations for additional scheduled passenger services in 2014 include Irkutsk (Russia), Kagoshima (Japan), Minneapolis (US) and Wuyishan (China). The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) approved the applications from Thailand s Siam Air Transport Company and Japan s Vanilla Air to commence scheduled passenger services to and from Bangkok in September 2014 and to and from Tokyo in November 2014 respectively. From February to August 2014, frequencies were increased to Seoul (+42 services), Shanghai (+28) and Osaka (+20). The long-awaited Jetstar Hong Kong is still queuing for an Air Operator s Certificate and CAD noted its application is still being processed at press time. In terms of infrastructure, the Midfield Development is in progress with Phase 1 scheduled for completion by end The Midfield area is the last piece of land on the airside for large-scale development on the airport island. It is located to the west of Terminal 1 and between the two existing runways. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit October to February, as the weather is perfectly cool and free from typhoon. Tipping culture As service charge applies to most bills, there is no need to tip, but visitors are free to reward excellent service. Public transportation The city is well connected by a highly efficient and comprehensive transportation network at affordable rates. Sound advice Wi-Fi.HK provides the public and visitors free Wi-Fi connection at hotspots under the identifier named Wi-Fi.HK with their smartphones or mobile devices, or at places with the Wi-Fi.HK signage. The Wi-Fi service is either completely free or free for at least 30 minutes, with no registration required. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Hong Kong Tourism Board Tel: (852) Website: Travel Trade Associations Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents Quality Tourism Services Scheme com/hk/qts Travel Industry Council PATA Hong Kong Chapter Chapters/ ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

39 SPOTLIGHT ON HONG KONG WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL HONG KONG Hong Kong is quintessentially a city of compact variety, where strikingly different worlds historical versus modern, East versus West coexist. Fascinating contrasts are also manifested through its offer of global lifestyle trends. TREND WATCH Family fun seems to be the latest trend to look out for in Hong Kong, with a number of new attractions offered. First, there is Disney Paint the Night Parade, a colourful, high-tech visual treat for visitors at Hong Kong Disneyland, which was launched in October 2014 following two years of preparation. In the same month, Hong Kong also opened its first observation wheel in the central district, right next to Victoria Harbour, offering visitors another vantage point from which to take in amazing views of the city. Additionally, viewing will soon take another form up at Victoria Peak, where development plans are underway for the Zipline. Then, at Ocean Park, the new Shark Mystique is a threelevel shark aquarium offering over 100 sharks and stingrays which can be observed from a panoramic 360-degree view, interactive games revealing hidden secrets about sharks, and a chance to support the FINished with FINS shark conservation campaign. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE Perhaps Hong Kong s best-kept secret is the colonial architecture strategically dotting its central district, in p Traditional junk boat in Hong Kong harbour (top); Hong Kong city skyline ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

40 HONG KONG particular Government Hill, which played an essential part in the city s colonial history. Historical buildings include St John s Cathedral, the second-oldest building in Hong Kong and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East; the Court of Final Appeal, the former French Mission; and the Museum of Tea Ware, the former residence of the commander of the British force. Across the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui is yet another cluster of colonial buildings, such as Heritage 1881, the former Marine Police Headquarters Compound until Previously comprising a main building, a stable block and a signal tower, the premises are now a deluxe suite hotel and a mall, with most of the historical artefacts intact. Across the road, the Clock Tower is the only remnant of the original Kowloon Station on the Kowloon-Canton Railway linking the city with China. Nearby is the Peninsula Hotel, which was opened in 1928 and used to accommodate European travellers upon their arrival on the Trans-Siberian rail link in the colonial days. URBAN RETREAT The Tai O Fishing Village on the western side of Lantau Island, nicknamed the Venice of Hong Kong, offers p Giant bronze Buddha statue (top); Tai O Fishing Village in Lantau Island 38 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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42 HONG KONG visitors insights into the life and culture of a traditional fishing community. Find stilt houses built over waterways, and stores selling pungent salted fish and shrimp paste. There s also the colonial Tao O police station, which was turned into a boutique hotel in 2012 called Tai O Heritage, offering nine rooms and a restaurant. Up in the Ngong Plateau of Lantau Island, you will find the celebrated Po Lin Monastery, constructed in 1906 and noted for its architecture, Buddhist artefacts and scriptures. In 1993, the 34m high bronze Tian Tan Buddha statue was constructed. Minutes away is the retail and entertainment centre Ngong Ping Village, which is adjacent to the Skyrail cable car upper station connecting Tung Chung via a 25-minute scenic gondola ride. Another getaway option is some 60km directly west of Hong Kong and less than an hour away by ferry the historical city of Macau. In 2005 the Historic Centre of Macau was designated a World Heritage Site. Find cultural elements of the East and West here, among other attractions. p Traditional steamed buns for the Cheung Chau Bun Festival HOT DATES Cheung Chau Bun Festival, May 22-26, 2015 This is one of the most colourful events on the island of Cheung Chau. The locals offer handmade buns to the sea god Pak Tai to thank him for protecting the island and to ward off evil spirits. Dragon Boat Carnival, June 20, 2015 This event comprising exciting rounds of traditional boat racing adds a modern twist with participants and spectators from around the world. Along with lots of beer and cheers, it gathers thousands at the stunning Victoria Harbour every year. Wine & Dine Festival, October/November 2015 This four-day popular outdoor event presents wines from around the world, culinary delights and entertainment. Revellers can also participate in a series of guided hiking tours to discover the city s hidden places. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Hong Kong has 1,092km 2 of land with three-quarters of the landscape varying dramatically from sandy beaches and rocky foreshores to woodlands and mountain ranges. In fact, most of Hong Kong s parks have over 1,000 species of plants. Some 38 per cent of the land in Hong Kong has been designated as parks and special areas that provide statutory protection for the habitats of their flora and fauna. The government has been providing more facilities to help visitors enjoy and understand the countryside, with visitor centres at most of the parks. A number of management centres have been established in key locations within the parks, providing construction, maintenance and protection services. A good example of the government s conservation efforts is the Hong Kong Wetland Park in the New Territories, which is a combination of conservation, education and tourism. The park comprises a 10,000m 2 visitor centre, a 60ha Wetland Reserve, and a Wetland Interactive World featuring themed exhibition galleries, a theatre, an indoor play area for swamp adventures and a resource centre. DIETHELM TO YOU While there is a lot to do in Hong Kong, we can t forget the food it offers! For an unforgetable Chinese culinary experience, go yum cha, which means literally to drink tea and is an everyday morning ritual of the locals. The city is littered RICHARD WILLIS Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Hong Kong with yum cha restaurants serving dim sum, a delicious assortment of Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized portions traditionally served in steamer baskets or on tiny plates. Menu prices are very affordable. Lunch can be enjoyed at one of the many cha chaan teng or tea restaurants commonly found in Hong Kong. They are well known for their wide-ranging and affordable menus featuring both local and western cuisine. Treat yourself to some Silk Stocking milk tea, among others. End the day with a memorable seafood feast at one of the fishing districts, such as Leiyuemun, Saikung, or Lamma Island. Find rows of restaurants offering picturesque sea views in alfresco setting. For drinks, head to The Pawn, a popular watering hole and eatery located in a four-storey tenement building in the historical Wan Chai district. It is listed as a local heritage conservation site and was leased to tenants after the restoration of the famous Woo Cheong Pawn Shop. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 40 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

43 INDIA INDIA By Rohit Kaul The Indian government is looking to implement its long-awaited electronic travel authorisation scheme by December 2014, which will allow foreign travellers to apply for visas and receive online confirmation in five working days. India s travel trade expects arrivals to rise by 20 per cent after implementation. The NTO also came up with a new five-year strategy in 2H2014 to rejuvenate the Buddhist heritage circuit spanning Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which includes the improvement of infrastructure, connectivity, hotels, roadside amenities and other tourist facilities to the tune of US$200 million. Funds will be raised through public-private partnership. From January to August 2014, India received 4.7 million arrivals, an increase of 7.4 per cent over the same period in Total tourism revenue during these eight months rose 4.6 per cent to hit US$12.7 billion, slower than the eight per cent growth to US$12.2 billion in the previous corresponding time frame. ARRIVALS In 2013, the US, UK, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka remained the top four markets like they were in 2012, while Russia managed to enter the top 10, taking the fifth position previously held by Canada in Australia, in ninth position the year before, was elbowed out from the list. The top 15 markets and their market share for India for August 2014 were Bangladesh (14 per cent), the US (12.7 per cent), UK (9.2 per cent), Sri Lanka (6.8 per cent), Japan (3.6 per cent), France (3.2 per cent), Malaysia (3.1 per cent), Germany (2.8 per cent), UAE (2.4 per cent), Oman (2.3 per cent), Australia (2.3 per cent), Canada (2.2 per cent), China (2.1 per cent), Pakistan (2.1 per cent) and Nepal (2.1 per cent). India s national tourism board is targeting one per cent of global tourism share by 2017, compared to 0.6 per cent in Szefei/123RF.COM p Morning on the Ganges, Varanasi, India ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

44 INDIA Top 10 source markets in 2013 Country Arrival numbers US 1,085,309 UK 809,444 Bangladesh 524,923 Sri Lanka 262,345 Russia 259,120 Canada 255,222 Germany 252,003 France 248,379 Malaysia 242,649 Japan 220,283 Top 10 source markets in 2012 Country Arrival numbers US 1,039,947 UK 788,170 Bangladesh 487,397 Sri Lanka 296,983 Canada 256,021 Germany 254,783 France 240,674 Japan 220,015 Australia 202,105 Malaysia 195,853 Total tourist arrival numbers; year-on-year change (%) million; million; +5.9 January- August million, +7.4 Source: Bureau of Immigration, India p Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai According to the report, Kolkata was the best performing hotel market in terms of AOR (72 per cent) in 2013/2014, while Mumbai registered the highest ARR (Rs7,105) and Goa posted the strongest RevPAR (Rs4,778) among the 13 major Indian markets. Although Noida witnessed the largest growth in supply (33.1 per cent) in 2013/2014, it recorded the most increase in occupancy (21.1 per cent) due to a rise in the demand from the MICE segment, consequently also resulting in the highest RevPAR growth (7.4 per cent) across the country. AOR in Noida rose from 44.4 per cent in 2012/2013 to 53.8 per cent in 2013/2014. RevPAR jumped in tandem from Rs2,985 to Rs3,206 respectively. Delhi s (excluding Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida) branded supply has grown at a CAGR of 10 per cent over the last five years, while ARR registered Rs6,943 in 2013/2014, a six per cent year-on-year drop. Malgorzata Kistryn/123RF.COM HOTEL PERFORMANCE According to HVS India s Hotels in India: Trends & Opportunities 2014 report, average occupancy rate (AOR) in India moved from 59.3 per cent in 2011/2012 to 57.8 per cent in 2012/2013 and 58.9 per cent in 2013/2014. Over the same timeframe, average room rates (ARR) have consistently fallen from Rs6,032 (US$98) to Rs5,773 and now, Rs5,531. RevPAR dropped in 2013/14 with the four-star segment registering the maximum decline (-5.9 per cent), followed by the five-star deluxe segment (-1.7 per cent) and the three-star segment (-1.5 per cent). The fact that these three categories accounted for 65 per cent of new supply in 2013/2014 is a likely explanation. After registering a drop of two per cent in 2012/2014 over 2011/2012, the two-star category registered the highest RevPAR growth in 2013/2014 at 12.7 per cent over the previous year, due to the eight per cent annual increase in average rate that highlighted the acceptance of branded economy and budget hotels across India. National inventory recorded 103,855 rooms as of March 31, 2014 for 2013/2014, an increase of 10.2 per cent yearon-year. Average occupancy in major cities in 2013/2014 City Average occupancy rate (%) Agra Bengaluru Delhi Mumbai Goa Kolkata Source: HVS Research Year-on-year change (%) RevPAR in India in 2013/2014 Category RevPAR (US$) Year-on-year change (%) 5-star deluxe star star star star Source: HVS Research 42 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

45 New hotels in 2014 and The Pratap Palace A Keys Resort, Ajmer, 80 keys, 1Q Courtyard by Marriott Bilaspur, 106 keys, 2Q Holiday Inn Jaipur City Centre, 172 keys, 2Q Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur, 59 keys, 2Q Lemon Tree Hotel, Whitefield, Bengaluru, 130 keys, 2Q Park Inn by Radisson Gurgaon Bilaspur, 98 keys, 2Q Hilton Jaipur, 125 keys, 2Q Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks, 247 keys, 3Q Lords Resort Sasangir, Junagadh, 56 keys, 3Q Keys Ras Resorts, Silvassa, 85 keys, 3Q Radisson Blu Hotel Kolkata Hastings, 100 keys, 4Q Sheraton Greater Noida Hotel, 254 keys, 4Q 2015 Conrad Pune, 310 keys, 3Q Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center, 325 keys, 4Q Aloft New Delhi Aerocity, 200 keys, 4Q Swissôtel Bangalore Whitefield, 144 keys, 4Q November Meanwhile, Vistara, the joint venture between TATA Sons and Singapore Airlines, is expected to commence domestic operations from October ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit India, being a country with diverse geography, is suited for yearround travel. Visits to India s hill and mountain destinations such as Leh in Ladakh and Manali are recommended in the summer season from April to June. During the winter months from November to April, beach destinations like Goa or the desert state Rajasthan are good choices. Tipping culture Tipping is expected in Indian restaurants and hotels but also dependent on how posh the establishment is. About 10 per cent of the total bill is a fair amount. Public transportation India has a public as well as a private transport system. Major cities such as New Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai have a good metro network for commuters. Private taxis are available but flagging one down on the street is not advisable, and bookings should be made by calling private taxi operators. Most Indian cities have three-wheel ride known as auto-rickshaws, which form an essential part of budget transportation. INDIA AIR ACCESS Sound advice Refrain from giving money to beggars, who have become a menace in India and often harass tourists. India s aviation sector saw many changes in 2014, and largely positive. In March, Cathay Pacific Airways rolled out double-daily direct flights to Hong Kong, while a new bilateral air services agreement between India and Dubai allowed more airlines from both countries to increase weekly flights, paving a way for 11,000 more seats on the route. In the aftermath, Dubai-based LCC flydubai began four-times-weekly flights to Delhi and thrice- weekly services to both Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in June. Also in June, flag carrier Air India became the 27 th member of Star Alliance and resumed four-times-a-week New Delhi- Moscow services after a gap of 15 years, while AirAsia entered the Indian market with two daily flights on the Chennai- Bengaluru-Chennai route and a daily flight for Bengaluru-Goa- Bengaluru. The month of July saw Etihad Airways launched doubledaily frequency operations to Bengaluru, Chennai and Kozhikode. The following month, budget carrier SpiceJet started thrice-weekly flights between Bagdogra and Kathmandu, and a daily Kolkata-Bangkok service in September. September also witnessed AirAsia begin operations in North India with daily direct flights to Jaipur and Chandigarh from Bengaluru. In the same month, LCC IndiGo introduced additional flights first daily non-stop flights on the Bengaluru-Chandigarh and Chandigarh-Srinagar routes, and second non-stop daily flights out of Bengaluru to Goa and Trivandrum. IndiGo also announced daily Delhi flights and commenced second daily non-stop Ahmedabad-Kolkata and Kolkata-Bangkok services. At press time, Jet Airways is scheduled to kick off direct daily flights between Delhi and Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh City in IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Ministry of Tourism Website: Travel trade associations Indian Association of Tour Operators Website: Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India Website: Reddees/123RF.COM t Hyderabad Travel Agents Association of India Website: com Travel Agents Federation of India Website: Outbound Tour Operators Association of India Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

46 Dmitry Rukhlenko/123RF.COM INDIA SPOTLIGHT ON INDIA WITH ROHIT KAUL WHAT S KEY The world-famous Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) showcases the grandeur of the royal families of yesteryear, be it Delhi s Red Fort, Agra s Taj Mahal or Jaipur s Amber Fort. Old World Experiences offers customisable itineraries exploring both the best and also the offbeat places in Delhi. Nickolay Stanev/123RF.COM India boasts a number of adventure and theme parks. Worlds of Wonder in Noida is India s first theme park to have all rides imported from the same world-class suppliers that sell to Disney, Universal and Six Flags. Kingdom of Dreams provides visitors a taste of Bollywood and Indian culture, art, heritage and cuisine through live entertainment. In the financial capital of India, Mumbai EsselWorld offers rides, an ice-skating rink, a bowling alley, a dance floor and F&B outlets. For visitors in New Delhi looking to hit a nightclub, S Pangaea is the place to be. Located at Ashok Hotel, the highend nightlife venue features exclusive corner tables for guests who can enjoy exclusive stewards and personalised guards. WHAT S NEW The snow-clad mountains and turquoise lakes of the Ladakh region in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is the perfect alternative to the Golden Triangle, Kerala or Goa. p Amer Fort in Jaipur t Taj Mahal monument in Agra 44 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

47 The Indian government is looking to implement its long-awaited electronic travel authorisation scheme by December 2014, which will allow foreign travellers to apply for visas and receive online confirmation in five working days...the trade expects this to increase arrivals by 20 per cent. Khardung La Pass in Ladakh is the highest motorable road in the world with a 360º view of the Himalayan Range. Lavasa, a four-hour drive from Mumbai, is pegged as India s largest hill city and gaining popularity as a holiday destination. Visitors call on Lavasa to enjoy its serene nature trails or jet-ski. Another new option for visitors is theme park Adlabs Imagica, which is 75km away from Mumbai and stars 26 attractions and five themed restaurants spread across six zones, namely Viva Europa, Arabia, Asiana, Americana, India, and Zambo Africa. INDIA Kampee Patisena/123RF.COM p Adlabs Imagica (top); beautiful Pangong Lake in Ladakh ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

48 INDIA WHAT S GOING ON Decennial Exposition of St Francis Xavier, November 22, 2014-January 4, 2015 Every 10 years, the mortal remains of St Francies Xavier are carried from the mausoleum in Basilica of Bom Jesus in a procession around the Se Cathedral in Goa, where it is kept for the next 44 days for Christian pilgrims to venerate. Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, December 1-10, 2014 The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a 10-day showcase of Nagaland s traditional and cultural heritage, and was named in tribute to the hornbill the most admired and revered bird of the Nagas. Rann Utsav, December 1, 2014-March 5, 2015 Desert life is the main draw of Rann Utsav, held in the arid lands of the Kutch district, Gujarat. The festival celebrates traditional and local arts, crafts, music, dance, people and nature. ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, January 21-25, 2015 Touted as the largest free literary festival on earth, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival brings together some of the best regional and international thinkers and features live music sessions and interactive workshops. Marina Pissarova/123RF.COM Surajkund International Crafts Mela, February 1-15, 2015 Held during the first two weeks each February, the annual Surajkund International Crafts Mela in the state of Haryana displays the diversity of Indian tradition and culture. Visitors can expect a wealth of food, folk performances, and handicrafts. Nehru Trophy Boat Race, August 8, 2015 Snake boats or chundan valloms tear down the placid waters of Punnamada Lake, competing for the prized trophy to commemorate the visit of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India to visit Alappuzha. The event also comprises ceremonial water processions, floats and decorated boats. The regatta is jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It features traditional boat race events and speed boat competitions. HOW TO HELP Salaam Baalak Trust offers a unique city walk through the streets of Paharganj and the New Delhi railway Station area, led by street children trained by the trust. These guides provide visitors an education in the area s heritage as well as a glimpse into their own lives and experiences. The city walk aims to sensitise people to the lives of street children and open visitors eyes to the potential in each street child, while giving the latter an opportunity to improve their communication skills and self-esteem. All proceeds from the tour, which is 100 per cent nonprofit, go directly to the trust to help it empower more street children. p Crowded street with shops and people in Main Bazaar or Paharganj I RECOMMEND... What to do: When in Delhi, visitors should take a ride on Delhi s Metro ROHIT KAUL network for a first-hand experience of life in the Indian capital. Adventure lovers can brave a four-and-a-half-hour drive from New Delhi to Rishikesh, which offers a unique, thrilling river-rafting experience on the Ganges. Where to stay: The Imperial Hotel in Connaught Place, built in 1931, offers a luxurious abode to visitors looking for an atmosphere of colonial elegance. What to eat: Those looking to experience the finest modern Indian cuisine incorporating molecular gastronomic concepts, Farzi Café located in Gurgaon is the place to be. What to see: A visit to the walled city of Old Delhi is akin to travelling in time. The former capital of the Mughal empire, Old Delhi was once filled with luxurious mansions, mosques, and gardens, and today remains testament to great Mughal era. 46 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

49 INDONESIA INDONESIA By Mimi Hudoyo Tourism has been a leading sector for the Indonesian economy, contributing to the national GDP and attracting investments to the country. Statistics Indonesia s data show GDP contribution from tourism in the first half of 2014 grew 6.9 per cent year-onyear, higher than the national economic growth rate of 5.17 per cent. In 2013, the sector contributed US$28.8 billion to GDP, which was 3.8 per cent share of the total. Tourism investments also grew significantly, with materialised investments in tourism in 1H2014 recording a year-on-year increase of per cent to US$256 million. Of this, direct foreign investment totalled US$243 million. On the domestic front, 1H2014 saw 107 million trips taken, with the total number expected to hit 255 million by end The year 2013 recorded 248 million domestic trips. Tourism will continue to play an important role in Indonesia, given that it is included in President Joko Widodo s 22 Clever Solutions for Indonesia plan, in which a goal of hitting 20 million foreign arrivals to Indonesia by 2020 has been set. This goal will require tourism-related government agencies and stakeholders to work doubly hard to be achievable. Ronen/123RF.COM ARRIVALS Indonesia has been witnessing a steady growth of international arrivals in 2014 and the tourism authority is optimistic the targeted arrival numbers of 9.3 to 9.5 million by the end of the year will be achieved or even surpassed. Total visitor arrivals between January and July 2014 reached 5.2 million, a 9.4 per cent increase over the same period in 2013, to which the minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, had said: This means that the growth rate in the first seven months was above the targeted eight per cent. Mari is optimistic performance would continue to be high, pointing out that since arrivals in the second half of the year is traditionally higher than the first, Indonesia should be able to surpass the 9.5 million target, hopefully nearing 10 million. In the first seven months, the top five markets in term of arrival numbers remained the same as those of 2013, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China, and Japan. Of these, China charted significant growth of about 26 per cent, while Japan turned in the only negative result. An interesting trend to note is that growth from the Middle Eastern countries was the highest compared with the same period in Although the numbers were still very small, arrivals from Bahrain was up by 69.7 per cent (from 475 arrivals to 806); the UAE, by 54.6 per cent (from 3,827 to 5,917); Egypt, by 47 per cent (from 2,967 to 4,360); and Saudi Arabia, up by 42.8 per cent (from 59,360 to 84,789). Top five markets in terms of arrival numbers Country January- July 2014 January- July 2013 Yearon-year change (%) Singapore 848, , Malaysia 720, , Australia 609, , China 548, , Japan 259, , Source: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy t Mt Bromo taken in East Java ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

50 INDONESIA HOTEL PERFORMANCE According to Matt Gebbie, director, Pacific Asia of Horwarth HTL, which released the results of its Indonesia Hotel Market Sentiment Survey in mid-september, generally there is a positive sentiment among hoteliers in Indonesia for the second half of the year compared to the same period in However, he pointed out: As a country, Indonesia is more bullish about growth in average room rate (ARR) and total revenue than in average occupancy rate (AOR) in the second half. Hoteliers in Bali are projecting that ARR, AOR and revenue will increase zero to 10 per cent in 2H2014, but with a greater increase in revenue than in AOR and ARR. In Jakarta, AOR and revenue are expected to increase zero to five per cent, and ARR by five to 10 per cent. In Central Java and West Java, AOR is projected to grow zero to five per cent, while ARR and revenue are expected to be up by five to 10 per cent year. Yanti Sukamdani, chairman of Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association, also projected an overall positive outlook for 2H2014. She said: (Many) companies, which had been taking a wait-and-see stand due to the general and presidential elections in the first half of the year, have started travelling and organising their meetings as soon as the results came out in August. Government offices traditionally also organise more meetings and conferences towards the end of the year, she added. AOR and ARR performance in January-July 2014 City AOR; year-on-year change ARR; year-on-year change Bali 67.3%; +6.4% US$128; +10.3% Jakarta 63.7%; -6.9% US$95; +11.1% Bandung 61.9%; -2.4% US$66; +11.4% Source: STR Global AIR ACCESS Tourism has been the leading sector for Indonesia, contributing to the GDP and attracting foreign investments. Paris is in addition to the KLM daily service to Jakarta from Amsterdam-Schiphol via Kuala Lumpur. As such, Air France KLM offers 14-weekly flights between Europe and Jakarta. On the medium-haul routes, Garuda has launched daily and thrice-weekly services for Jakarta-Tokyo (Haneda) and Makassar-Medan-Jeddah respectively. Garuda s sister company and low-cost Citilink made its regional debut by launching Surabaya-Johor Bahru daily flights in March 2014 while AirAsia expected to increase its Kuala Lumpur-Balikpapan services from thrice weekly to daily from October. Meanwhile, some airlines stopped operations and pulled out their services in Indonesia s Merpati Nusantara Airlines ceased operations in February citing financial problems, followed by Tigerair Mandala in July. In October, Jetstar pulled out its four-weekly services between Perth and Lombok, reportedly owing to insufficient demand on the route. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit June and July are best, when events such as Jakarta Great Sale, Jakarta Fair and many contemporary as well as traditional festivals take place. Tipping culture Tipping is common, especially at restaurants that do not always impose a service charge. Public transportation Reliable metred taxis are available at hotels and shopping malls. Sound advice Smoking is prohibited indoors. Buildings provide dedicated space for smokers. Garuda Indonesia officially became a member of Skyteam in The airline had earlier, in May, launched the Jakarta- Amsterdam non-stop service five times a week, making itself the only airline connecting Indonesia and Europe non-stop, with a total flying time of 15 hours. The service replaced the previous Jakarta-Amsterdam via Abu Dhabi, with Jakarta- Abu Dhabi since then served by Etihad Airways through codesharing. After Amsterdam, in September, Garuda also launched a service to London, its second destination in Europe. The service is operated via the Boeing ER aircraft with a capacity of 314 passengers. Indonesia has also seen more European connections in 2014 with the reopening of Lufthansa s five-weekly Frankfurt- Jakarta service via Kuala Lumpur on June 1 and the Air France s new daily service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Jakarta via Singapore on July 10. The service from IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Website: Travel trade associations Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies Website: Association of Air Ticketing Companies in Indonesia Website: Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association Website: 48 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

51 UNLIMITED JOURNEY DISCOVER THE HIDDEN GEMS OF INDONESIA Raja Ampat Island, West Papua welcome to the heart of wonders

52 INDONESIA New hotels in 2014 and Swiss-Belhotel International Swiss-Belinn Kemayoran, Jakarta, 156 keys, November Swiss-Belhotel Tuban, Bali, 312 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Airport, Jakarta, 152 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Lagoi Bay, Bintan, 195 keys, December Hotel Ciputra, Cibubur, Jakarta, 107 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Petitenget, Bali, 111 keys, December Archipelago International Aston Solo Hotel, 168 keys, 3Q Hotel Neo Gatot Subroto, Bali, 112 keys, 4Q Aston Banua Hotel & Convention Center, Banjarmasin, 206 keys, 4Q Harper Mangkubumi, Jogjakarta, 115 keys, 4Q Quest Balikpapan, 79 keys, 4Q Neo Petitenget, Bali, 101 keys, 4Q Aston Bekasi Hotel & Conference Center, Jabar, 176 keys, 4Q Aston Priority Simatupang, Jakarta, 296 keys, 4Q The Alana Yogyakarta, 268 keys, 4Q Hotel Neo Kuta Legian, Bali, 118 keys, 4Q Aston Sentul Lake Resort & Conference Center, 220 keys, 4Q Santika Indonesia Hotel Santika Premiere Gubeng, Surabaya, 232 keys, January Hotel Santika Premiere Bintaro, Jakarta, 167 keys, January Hotel Santika Cikarang, 120 keys, March Hotel Santika Premiere Kota Harapan Indah, Bekasi, 152 keys, April Hotel Santika Banyuwangi, 120 keys, December Tauzia Hotel Management Harris Hotel & Conventions Puncak, 138 keys, 3Q Harris Hotel Cokroaminoto, Bali, 87 keys, 4Q Harris Hotel & Conventions Bekasi, 332 keys, 4Q PHM Hospitality The 1O1 Bogor Suryakencana, Bogor, 156 keys, end-2014 The 1O1 Jakarta Sedayu Darmawangsa, Jakarta, 138 keys, end-2014 ACCOR The Royal Surakarta Heritage Solo, Mgallery, 150 keys, May The Hermitage Hotel Jakarta, 90 keys, May Pullman Surabaya City Centre, 291 keys, June Double Tree by Hilton Jakarta Diponegoro, 253 keys, June Courtyard by Marriott Bali Seminyak, Bali, 290 keys, August Indoluxe Hotel Jogjakarta, 200 keys, October The Ritz-Carlton Bali, 313 keys, 4Q 2015 Swiss-Belhotel International Swiss-Belhotel Rasuna Epicentrum, Jakarta, 323 keys, May Swiss-Belinn Tunjungan, Surabaya, 190 keys, May Swiss-Belinn Simatupang, Jakarta, 154 keys, May Swiss-Belhotel Pangkalpinang, Bangka, 142 keys, December Swiss-Belresort Jimbaran, Bali, 273 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Yogyakarta, 123 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Darmo, Surabaya, 239 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Kelapa Gading, Jakarta, 316 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Pekanbaru, 200 keys, December Swiss-Belhotel Makassar, 284 keys, mid-2015 Swiss-Belresort Belitung, 100 keys, mid-2015 Swiss-Belhotel Jambi, 119 keys, mid-2015 Swiss-Belhotel Serpong, Tangerang, 104 keys, mid-2015 Swiss-Belinn Singkawang, West Kalimantan, 127 keys, mid-2015 Swiss-Belinn Bandung, 122 keys, mid-2015 Swiss-Belhotel Berau, 167 keys, end-2015 Swiss-Belresort Ubud, Bali, 21 keys, end-2015 Swiss-Belresort Puncak, West Java, 127 keys, end-2015 Swiss-Belinn Airport, Surabaya, 154 keys, end-2015 Swiss-Belresort Pecatu, Bali, 198 keys, end-2015 Archipelago International Royal Kamuela Senggigi, Senggigi Lombok, 55 keys, April Grand Aston Tunjungan Surabaya, 316 keys Aston Sorong City Hotel, Papua, 152 keys Aston Berau City Hotel, Kaltim, 120 keys Aston Gajah Mada, Jakarta, 176 keys Aston Titanium Cijantung City Hotel, Jakarta, 221 keys Aston Pekalongan City Hotel, Jateng, 100 keys Aston Karawang Hotel, Jabar, 153 keys The Alana Solo, 251 keys Harper Perintis, Makassar, 159 keys Harper Juanda, Samarinda, 175 keys Quest San Denpasar, Bali, 180 keys Tauzia Hotel Management Preférénce Hotel Kotagede, Jogjakarta, 12 keys, 1Q Preférénce Hotel Rumah Luwih, Bali, 75 keys, 2Q Preférénce Hotel Tijili Resort Seminyak, Bali, 121 keys, 2Q Harris Hotel Skyline, Surabaya, 262 keys, 1Q Harris Hotel & Conventions Ciumbuleuit, Bandung, 210 keys, 1Q Harris Hotel Gubeng, Surabaya, 160 keys, 1Q Harris Hotel Pontianak, 149 keys, 1Q Harris Hotel Harbor, Balikpapan, 212 keys, 2Q Harris Hotel Samarinda, 120 keys, 2Q Harris Hotel Barelang, Batam, 188 keys, 2Q Harris Hotel CBD, Balikpapan, 200 keys, 4Q Harris Hotel Luwuk, Sulawesi, 136 keys, 4Q Harris Resort Benoa, Bali, 280 keys, 4Q Harris Hotel Cikarang Cibarusah, 220 keys, 4Q Harris Hotel Cilandak, Jakarta, 130 keys, 4Q YELLO Hotel Jemursari, Surabaya, 150 keys, 3Q YELLO Hotel Renon, Bali, 140 keys, 4Q YELLO Hotel Grand Dadap City, Cengkareng, 180 keys, 4Q YELLO Hotel Benoa, Bali, 100 keys, 4Q Eden Hotel Benoa, Bali, 200 keys, 4Q 50 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

53 SPOTLIGHT ON INDONESIA WITH MIMI HUDOYO INDONESIA Bali Marine Safari Park WHAT S KEY With lack of public spaces in Jakarta, shopping malls have become the recreational norm. There are more than 170 shopping malls within the city and in the outskirts. Most shopping malls offer international and local branded Alicenerr/123RF.COM products, F&B outlets, supermarkets and children s playgrounds. Some of the prominent malls are Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Plaza Indonesia Shopping Centre, Senayan City, and Living World Alam Sutra. In Indonesia, family fun opportunities are aplenty too. Taman Impian Jaya Ancol amusement park is one of Jakarta s most attractive facilities. Visitors should not miss out other theme parks outside Jakarta, such as Taman Safari Indonesia in Cisarua, Bogor; and Bali Safari Marine Park. In terms of natural attractions, special interest travellers may enjoy trekking at mountains like Mt Rinjani in Lombok, the Kelimutu Crater Lake in Flores, and Mt Tambora in Sumbawa. Other activities include snorkelling, diving and under-water photography in Bunaken (North Sulawesi); Wakatobi in south-east Sulawesi; and Raja Ampat in Papua. Flores Exotic Tours takes visitors to exotic and remote areas in Flores for cycling, hiking and photography, while Incito Tour offers bird-watching tours in Sulawesi, and ikat weaving in East Nusa, Tenggara islands. p Bali Marine Safari Park t Kelimutu Crater Lake in Flores ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

54 INDONESIA WHAT S NEW The Komodo National Park is gaining popularity, thanks to years of promotions the tourism authority and stakeholders have been conducting. Apart from its Komodo dragon sanctuary, the park is also famous among divers for its underwater treasures. Its neighbour, Flores Island, is also increasingly being noted by international travellers for its culture, underwater world, and lush nature. Another emerging destination is Raja Ampat in West Papua, which offers amazing diving spots, coral gardens, an abundance of fish species, and scenic archipelagic areas of more than 1,500 small islands. Meanwhile, new attractions that have sprang up include Taman Nusa in Gianyar Bali, a cultural park displaying various traditional houses from around Indonesia as well as museums amid 15ha tropical nature. In Sentul, Bogor, Jungleland Adventure is a new theme park with 31 attractions in three zones, each dedicated for children, families and adults. Some rides for kids include Ship Adventure, Jeep Tour, and Mini Bumper Car; in the family zone, there are the 3 Point Basket, 152m Water Flume slide, Flying Bike, and Haunted House. For adults seeking adrenaline-pumping rides, there are Mega Drop, Air Race and Disk O, to name just a few. The existing Ancol Dreamland in Jakarta has added Ice Age Arctic Adventure early-2014 in cooperation with film- Paul Kennedy/123RF.COM JungleLand p JungleLand Adventure in Sentul, Bogor (top); Raja Ampat in West Papua 52 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

55 Tourism will continue to play an important role...it is included in newly sworn-in President Joko Widodo s 22 Clever Solutions for Indonesia plan. maker 20 th Century Fox. Sid s Arctic Tour, an eight-minute dark ride, takes visitors through the jungle, mountain and the melting iceberg depicted in the four films. Sumatra and Beyond/123RF.COM INDONESIA WHAT S GOING ON Bali Spirit Festival, March 31-April 5, 2015 This is a vibrant and uplifting festival in Ubud, comprising yoga, dance, and music with celebrated teachers from around the world. Bali International Triathlon, June 21, 2015 This event in Jimbaran features an Olympic 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride, and 10km run, as well as a 500m swim, 20km bike ride, and five-kilometre run. Tour de Singkarak, September 19-27, 2015 This professional road bicycling race in West Sumatra draws the crowd every year. p CSR activities organised by Sumatra and Beyond Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, March 6-8, 2015 This is one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world, staging Indonesia and international jazz singers and musicians. It has been organised annually since HOW TO HELP Many of the villages in Indonesia are still preserving their cultures and traditions, allowing international visitors to not only observe but also take part in their everyday life and activities. In various areas across the country, village tourism has been developed to help preserve the environment and the local inhabitants, who used to conduct environment-damaging activities such as coral and fish bombing as well as tree chopping for a living. Visitors staying in the locals homes, taking part in their activities and buying handicrafts from them contribute to the local economy directly. Visitors can also share expertise, such as product packaging, simple marketing and book keeping, with the management team. Non-profit organisations such as Indecon and Karang Lestari Coral Restoration Foundation in Bali help develop sustainable tourism and create CSR programmes for the villages. Meanwhile, planning company Sumatra and Beyond specialises in green tourism programmes and is incorporating CSR activities such as coral planting and school painting into its tour and training programmes. Travel companies such as Bali Prana Travel & Leisure, DMC Bali Plus and Bali Adventure Travel too offer tailor-made CSR programmes. I RECOMMEND... What to do: In Jogjakarta where I was born and grew up, visitors should drive MIMI HUDOYO up north to Kaliurang and take a jeep tour up the Merapi Mountain, through the villages affected by Merapi s devastating eruption in Jogjakarta is also centre of the batik material. There are a number of upmarket batik boutiques, such as Mirota Malioboro, but I love to stroll along the narrow lanes of Beringharjo traditional market, making choices from the piles of colourful batik and testing my bargaining skill. Where to stay: I like the high-end Grand Aston Yogyakarta for its modern comfort, and Royal Ambarrukmo for its Javanese hospitality touch. The budget Amaris is also a good option. The room is spacious and the breakfast spread great. What to eat: Jogjakarta is famous for its gudeg (young jackfruit sweet stew) comprising chicken, egg, tofu and cow-skin cracker sambal. Yu Djum is famous for this dish and has several outlets in town. What to see: In Jogjakarta, sunrise atop the Borobudur Temple should not be missed, followed by a walk around the temple and learning from the guide Buddha s story, depicted by the relics displayed. ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

56 LAOS LAOS By Li Xu The tourism industry in Laos plays a significant role in the country s economy by directly contributing nearly US$600 million to the GDP and creating 120,000 jobs in The number of international visitor arrivals grew healthily at a double-digit rate, with remarkable increases seen in Asian source markets such as South Korea. Goals have been set for 2015: international arrivals of 4.2 million and a tourism revenue of US$639.7 million. Despite the Lao PDR Tourism Strategy , there is a lack of clear vision and strong leadership at the national level for tourism development. Located in the centre and bordering with all other countries in the Great Mekong Sub-region (GMS), Laos stands at a critical position for the GMS sustainable tourism development with the potential to become a regional leading ecotourism destination. Ongoing and proposed infrastructure projects like hydropower stations, roads and high-speed railroads will have a deep impact on not only locals lives but also the environment and tourist flows in the region. Without explicit policy direction and planning, Laos is likely to miss the great opportunities for sustainable development. Improvements have been carried out for infrastructure and tourism facilities so that tourists can enjoy better experiences and visit more than Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Trade and tourism are expected to be boosted in Attapeu, a province bordering Vietnam and Cambodia, when the new international airport is completed by mid Hidden gems like Si Phan Don and Vang Vieng are gaining popularity. Kristina Afanasyeva/123RF.COM p Beautiful view from Patuxai monument in capital Vientiane 54 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

57 ARRIVALS HOTEL PERFORMANCE International visitor arrivals to Laos reached close to 3.8 million in 2013, growing 13.5 per cent year-on-year from 3.3 million in 2012, generating tourism revenues of US$595.9 million. Asia-Pacific contributed the largest portion of visitors at 91.9 per cent, with high increases recorded in North-east Asian source markets like South Korea, China and Japan, while intra-asean travel is growing fast. Targeting a total of nearly four million international arrivals for 2014, Laos welcomed over two million international tourists in the first six months, with over one million from Thailand, followed by Vietnam (506,012), China (187,162), South Korea (50,168) and the US (33,242). Laos top source markets have not changed for years and will probably remain the same in the next few years if there is no strategic planning and promotions soon. Thailand again topped the top source markets for Laos in 2013, with total arrivals numbering over two million. While its market share declined to 54.5 per cent in 2013 from 58.2 per cent in 2012, Thailand was still far ahead of Vietnam, whose market share was 24.1 per cent. A rise of over 50 per cent was recorded in the number of tourists from South Korea for a second year and Korean tourists showed their strong spending power in the tourist expenditure numbers, marking South Korea the most significant new market for Laos tourism. In comparison, the traditional western markets, including the US, France, the UK and Germany, showed moderate growths in visitor arrivals and no big improvement in tourist expenditures. In 2013, international tourists stayed 8.4 days in average and spent US$69.5 per day per person. Among them, tourists from Thailand and Vietnam spent US$52 and US$30 per day per person respectively, with an average stay of three days. Except for those from China, tourists visited Laos in the dry season usually with no specific month preference. Arrivals from China in 2013 and 2014 were much higher in February, the month that the Spring Festival holidays fell in. According to the Tourism Development Department of Laos, the average occupancy rate was 54 per cent countrywide in 2013, three per cent lower than the previous year in spite of the double-digit increase in international visitor arrivals. As the two most popular destinations, Vientiane and Luang Prabang enjoyed the highest average occupancy rates, both over 70 per cent saw 34 new hotels and 80 new guesthouses open in Laos, half of which are located in the capital city of Vientiane. At the end of 2013, 491 hotels and 1,868 guesthouses across Laos, accounting for 39,782 rooms with 52,301 beds, were available for tourists. Currently no reliable average room rate or revenue per available room (RevPAR) figures are released regularly for the hotel sector in Laos. C9 Hotelworks estimated that RevPAR in Luang Prabang increased to US$91 between 2012 and There are five hotels with 520 rooms in Laos pipeline as of August 2014, according to STR Global, including Anantara Luang Prabang the only international project in Luang Prabang s pipeline and Centara Grand Hotel in Vientiane. New hotels and guesthouses in Laos in 2013 Hotels Guesthouses Total Vientiane Luang Prabang 3 12 Source: Tourism Development Department New hotels in 2014 and 2015 There are five hotels with 520 rooms in Laos pipeline as of August 2014, according to STR Global. As at press time, the names for new openings in 2014 and 2015 are unavailable. LAOS Top 10 source markets in 2013 Country Arrival numbers Year-on-year change (%) Thailand 2,059, Vietnam 910, China 245, South Korea 81, US 61, France 52, Japan 48, UK 41, Australia 35, Germany 29, Source: PATAmPower Bounmy Thongpaseuth/123RF.COM u HDR Hor-Tam-Ma-Sa-Pa in Vientiane ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

58 AIR ACCESS LAOS As of end-2013, eight registered airlines served four international airports and nine domestic airports in Laos, carrying a total of 447,000 passengers and 744,000 transit passengers from and to Laos. The country is connected with 14 cities in seven Asian countries Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia via regular direct flights, according to air traffic data from Amadeus for June 2014; the monthly passenger number of all the nonstop international routes was about 100,000. The government-owned Lao Airlines dominantly handles the air capacity, domestically and internationally. On the busiest international routes, Bangkok-Vientiane and Bangkok- Luang Prabang, Lao Airlines account for no more than half of the air capacity, while Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways serve the rest. AirAsia, China Eastern Airlines and Vietnam Airlines are the foreign carriers dominantly serving the specific routes not covered by Lao Airlines. While expanding its current fleet of 14 aircraft with two new ATR72-600s (70 seats each) this year, Lao Airlines is studying new international markets by launching charter flights from Tokyo to Luang Prabang and Vientiane since August The airline is now exploring the launch of direct flights between Vientiane and Jakarta. While Luang Prabang International Airport s new terminal came into use in June 2013, its expanded runway has not yet welcomed more-than-usual air traffic. Meanwhile, Thai Airways has started four-times weekly flights between Bangkok and Luang Prabang since October 2014, adding to existing services by Lao Airlines and Bangkok Airways. Two new airports under currently construction in Laos. Attapeu International Airport, a US$36 million project expected to be completed in May 2015, was about 70 per cent completed at press time. The other project, Nongkhang Airport, however, is in serious delay for completion. Anan Bootviengpunth/123RF.COM p Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit November to February is the best time to visit Laos as it is dry and cool; in November and December, the river is still high enough for a relaxing river trip. Tipping culture Tipping is not expected in Laos although some high-end restaurants may add 10 per cent of the bill as service charges. A tip for good service is always appreciated. Public transportation Due to the lack of English signages, the public bus network within a city can be quite confusing for visitors. Tuk-tuks and jumbo buses are commonly used by tourists, and prices shall be negotiated before getting on. Sound advice Watching the peaceful and spiritual monk s alms-giving ceremony at sunrise is a wonderful experience to observe an ancient Lao tradition. While watching and taking photos, keep a respectful distance from the monks to avoid causing offence. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism Website: Travel trade associations Lao Hotel & Restaurant Association Website: laohotelassociation.org/ Lao Association of Travel Agents Website: p Boat trip along Nam Song river in Vang Vieng 56 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

59 SPOTLIGHT ON LAOS WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL LAOS Laos offers the perfect environment to explore culture, nature or sporting activities. With the added capacity of new aircraft to the Laos Airlines fleet, it is easier for more people to explore what the country has to offer. At the same time, sustainable tourism has been one of the main focuses in the country, making Laos a world-renowned ecotourism destination emphasising natural and cultural heritage conservation, along with local socio-economic development. TREND WATCH Laos has always been a place for nature lovers, especially for fans of cycling, kayaking and trekking. One reason trekking is a highlight in addition to the abundance of beautiful nature is the opportunity to observe local ethnic minorities. Additionally, the country is gaining upmarket tourists as demand hikes for four- and five-star hotels in Luang Prabang, with a number of hotels there currently undergoing renovation. Asian visitors now play a vital part in overall arrivals. p Beautiful bridge over Song River in Vang Vieng t Tad Sae Waterfall in Luang Prabang ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

60 DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE LAOS q My Dream Resort The Nam Nern Night Safari & Ecolodge is an experience visitors will not soon forget. They can take a longtail boat drifting down the Nam Nern River, with the engine turned off at certain points in order to spot wild animals. Activities include bird watching, wildlife tracking, discovery of medicinal plants and an early-morning hike, topped off by an overnight stay at the Ecolodge within the Nam Et National Park. The Ecolodge overlooks the river at the forest s edge and is managed by the community, who built it in traditional Laotian style. This area is trying to create a sustainable link between tourism and the conservation of wildlife, nature and the community. Tourism revenue is shared equally between the 14 villages in the area and channelled towards activities to develop each village based on its requirements. URBAN RETREAT For a high-end urban retreat in Luang Prabang, a visit to the Amantaka Resort is highly recommended, while a cosy boutique-style alternative would be My Dream Resort. In p Wat Phou in Champasak 58 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

61 Vientiane, Settha Palace s cultural attractions should not be missed. For accommodation offering comfort amidst stunning nature and ethnic minorities, visitors should check out Muang La Resort, Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp, La Folie Lodge, and Sinouk Coffee Resort, just to name a few. LAOS HOT DATES The Wat Phou Festival, February 4-6, 2015 This festival is organised every February in Champasak Province. Activities include elephant racing and Lao traditional music and dance performances. A trade fair for products from southern Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is also a highlight. The Elephant Festival, February 2015 This festival in Sayaburi Province has taken place since 2007 to raise awareness about protecting the Asian elephant. There will be elephant processions, a selection of the Elephant of the Year, and lectures about elephant conservation. There is entertainment such as Lao dances, circus performances and an outdoor cinema. The Boun Pimai Lao New Year, April 14-16, 2015 This is a three-day nationwide festival, also called the Water Festival because the locals splash each other with water to purify one another for the new year ahead. Boun Son Heua, August 2015 This is a crowd-drawing boat racing festival in Luang Prabang that marks the end of the rainy season in August. Boun Song Heua, October 2015 This boat racing festival in Vientiane occurs in October to take advantage of the water level of the Mekong River. That Luang Festival, November 2015 This runs for a week in Vientiane and the main event centres on the Golden Stupa where hundreds of monks gather to pray. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Mak Phet is a restaurant in Vientiane run by Peuan Mit organisation, which was established by Friends-International in co-operation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, to give an opportunity to street children and disadvantaged youths to cook and serve delicious traditional cuisine. Diethelm Travel Laos encourages visitors to have their meals at Mak Phet and includes it in travel programmes not only for them to enjoy the local food, but also to support the local community. Over in Laos, children still lack books to read apart from school textbooks. There is limited publication and the books do not reach the villages that need them the most. Big Brother Mouse is a non-profit organisation that works with several locals to publish books children will enjoy, translated into Lao and English. Diethelm also promotes Big Brother Mouse to visitors and encourages them to support the organisation. p Elephant Village in Luang Prabang DIETHELM TO YOU One of my favourite places is the old town of Luang Prabang and the hilly countryside around it. The beautiful waterfalls near Luang Prabang, especially the Tad Sae Waterfall, are very suitable for my kids to swim. The Elephant Village in Luang Prabang is another MICHAEL ROEHRIG Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Laos favourite, where one can relax looking at the mountain range and the elephants. Another option is to spend a relaxing weekend in a bungalow along the river in Vang Vieng. My recommended festivals are the Lao New Year and Hmong New Year celebrations they are a must-see in Laos, while elephant riding and kayaking on one of Luang Prabang s small rivers are worthwhile activities. Then explore Luang Prabang valleys by bicycle or on foot to see all the hidden gems it has to offer. In terms of food, my favourite dish is Sin Daat, which is simply a Korean-style barbeque. The best time to eat it is during the cold winter months, and the best places to have it are the small restaurants in Luang Prabang. The local noodle soup pho is nutritious enough for an entire meal and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or as a snack in between. The most characteristic Luang Prabang dish is a heavy stew called orlam, but be careful not to eat the chunks of woody ingredients that give the stew its special taste. Another Laotian dish I recommend is fried riverweed (sometimes called riverweed chips) topped with sesame, garlic and sometimes chilli, served with a variety of Laotian dipping sauces. It makes a perfect side dish while sipping a BeerLao. Another delight not to be missed is Laos sausage made from pork, lemongrass, shallots, lime leaves, garlic and chilli. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

62 MACAU MACAU By Prudence Lui Visitor arrivals to Macau has continued to grow steadily and Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) is prudently optimistic that for 2014 and 2015, the number of visitor arrivals will go up, albeit at a single-digit rate. According to the Macau Statistics and Census Service, in January-July 2014 visitors to the city went up eight per cent compared with the same period in 2013, with China taking a dominant 67 per cent share of the total. Positioning Macau as a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure will continue to be MGTO s guiding principle for years to come. Additionally, the NTO is paving the way to add more regular activities for visitors, while reinforcing signature events such as the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest and the newly added Chinese New Year Parade. The city s tourism sector can also expect to benefit Positioning Macau as a World Center of Tourism and Leisure will continue to be the Macau Government Tourist Office s guidig principle for years to come. further from the addition of new hotels and integrated resorts currently under construction, as well as several heritage-value buildings being restored to their past glory. More than seeking to increase arrival numbers, Macau wants to attract visitors to stay longer, and to spend more in the city. Sean Pavone/123RF.COM p Resorts and casinos at Nam Van Lake 60 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

63 ARRIVALS HOTEL PERFORMANCE In the first seven months of 2014, visitor arrivals reached 18,037,241, up by eight per cent year-on-year. Of the total, 67 per cent or about 12.1 million visitors were from China, a year-on-year increase of 14.4 per cent. Among the top 10 source markets in the same period, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore recorded growth, while Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand sent fewer visitors than the year before. The US was elbowed out of the top 10 by Singapore, which took the ninth position. South Korea continued to be a bright star among Macau s shorthaul markets. For medium-haul and longhaul markets, India and Russia showed great potential, while despite an unfavourable economic scenario, several longhaul markets including the US and Western Europe countries like the UK, Portugal, Spain and Italy, recorded growth. The city remains a popular escape for day trips, given that same-day visitors hit 9.6 million, accounting for 53.5 per cent of total visitors for the first seven months. Overnight visitors rose 1.7 per cent to 6.3 million. Top 10 source markets in January-July 2014 Country Arrivals Market share (%) Yearon-year change (%) China 12,085, Hong Kong 3,719, Taiwan 558, South Korea 315, Japan 172, Philippines 149, Malaysia 137, Indonesia 117, Singapore 111, Thailand 109, Top four longhaul markets in January-July 2014 Country Arrivals US 106,594 Australia 63,505 Canada 40,066 UK 34,192 The city has 103 hotels and guesthouses as at end-july 2014, offering 28,892 rooms with average occupancy rate (AOR) of 86 per cent. As at end-june 2014, there were 27 fivestar hotels offering around 18,400 rooms. The pace of new developments slowed down after the debut of three hotels at Cotai Central in 2012 and In the first seven months of 2014, the total number of overnight hotel guests grew 1.7 per cent to 6.2 million, while average room rate (ARR) rose 11.7 per cent to US$199. Knight Frank s Greater China Hotel Report 2014 indicated that while demand from Chinese VIP gamblers had proven vulnerable after the country s crackdown on corruption, the rapid growth of Macau s mass-market gaming industry continued to attract investment from world-renowned global casino and entertainment hotel operators. The report also predicted that the ARR of Macau s hotels would achieve growth of five to 10 per cent in Looking ahead, in order for Macau to maintain its growth momentum and the subsequent hotel demand,the city needs to develop a long-term strategy to adapt more quickly to the changing spending pattern of consumers, as well as the challenges from neighbouring countries such as Japan and Manila, where new casinos are being planned. Based on information provided by the Macau Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau, as of 2Q2014, a total of 46 projects were under construction and appreciation, of which 18 were under construction. According to preliminary estimates, this in turn would provide around 25,600 rooms. New hotels and entertainment complexes are slated to open in 2014, 2015 and beyond, with the major ones mostly concentrated in Cotai, but extended to around Macau Peninsula and Taipa. The new complexes and hotels will add new F&B outlets, retail space, meeting and event space, among other entertainment offerings. Giovanni Gagliardi/123RF.COM MACAU Top four source markets by package tours in January-July 2014 Country Arrivals China 5,178,600 Taiwan 436,500 Hong Kong 250,000 South Korea 217,000 Source: Statistics & Census Service, MGTO u Bright and colourful night scene in Cotai Strip ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

64 MACAU Keng Po Leung/123RF.COM p Beautiful city skyline New hotels in 2014 and Grand Coloane Beach Resort (rebranded from Westin Resort Macau), 208 keys, 2Q Harbourview Hotel, 445 keys, 3Q Crowne Plaza Macau, 208 keys, end Ritz-Carlton, 250 keys JW Marriott, 1,100 keys St Regis Hotel, 439 keys Legend Palace Hotel, 229 keys, 2Q Hollywood Roosevelt Macau, 373 keys, mid-2015 The Parisian Macao, 3,000 keys, end-2015 Source: MGTO, Knight Frank s Greater China Hotels Report 2014, official websites of related operators AIR ACCESS Premium Lounge, following the kick-off of a Food Paradise outlet in 1H2014. The new lounge with 135 comfortable seats is the only independent airport lounge in Macau and features two spacious VIP rooms. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit Autumn and winter (October to February), as the weather is pleasantly cool Tipping culture Not a must but visitors, may reward good service Public transportation Buses and taxis are very affordable but should be avoided during the peak hours. Sound advice The ban on smoking ban has been extended from general public places to include public gaming areas of casinos and slot machine lounges from October 6, Insufficient international connections, especially on longhaul routes, limited the growth of the city s arrivals. By the end of July 2014, Macau International Airport (MIA) had established connections to 35 destinations, including 21 in China. Other destinations included Japan (Osaka and Tokyo), Taiwan (Kaohsiung, Taipei, and Taichung), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), the Philippines (Clark and Manila), Singapore, South Korea (Seoul, Busan), and Vietnam (Danang). In March 2014, Jetstar resumed its route to Vietnam, while Xiamen Airlines launched the Dalian-Macau direct service. In September 2014, Air Macau inaugurated the direct Macau-Tianjin route. Flights to Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, were also expected to be launched by a new airline also in September. According to Macau International Airport, the airport recorded more than 3.1 million passengers and 29,000 flight movements in Jan-July 2014, up 11 per cent and eight per cent respectively compared to the same period last year. In 2013, there were a total of five million passengers and 48,950 flight movements. The airport meanwhile continues to upgrade its facilities and infrastructure. In August 2014, it opened a Plaza IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Macau Government Tourist Office Website: Macau Business Tourism Centre Website: Travel Trade Associations Travel Industry Council of Macau Association of Macau Tourist Agents Macau Hotel Association Website: PATA Macau SAR Chapter Website: org/index.htm 62 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

65 SPOTLIGHT ON MACAU WITH PRUDENCE LUI MACAU Assawin Chomjit/123RF.COM Assawin Chomjit/123RF.COM WHAT S KEY Visitors are spoilt for choice shopping in Macau, with most of its integrated resorts housing leading international brands in their malls. Largo do Senado offers antique furniture and other items, while Taipa Flea Market provide a diverse range of collectibles every Sunday. The city also boasts post-colonial Portuguese culture manifested in its cuisine and architecture, as well as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. MGTO offers four walking trails named Step Out, Experience Macau s Communities Historical, Nature and Creativity, East Meets West, and Arts and Culture for explorers of lesser-known quarters. Macau s nightlife and entertainment options are aplenty, and famous for their variety. Most bars, restaurants and discotheques open all night long, while world-class shows dazzle the audience, including the reputable House of Dancing Water and Taboo show by Franco Dragone. p Senado Square t The historic church ruins of St Paul ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

66 WHAT S NEW MACAU In August 2014, City of Dreams rolled out SOHO, a trendsetting dining and entertainment hotspot. The area features a vibrant array of premium entertainment offerings as well as a mix of international cuisines and sophisticated bars. There are 16 restaurants and bars and daily live performances, so it is becoming a place in Macau to see and be seen. Macau also witnessed the third expansion of Shoppes at Cotai Central, which was completed in summer 2014, adding newly designed shopping space. It is now home to 36 new shops, which include a number of key international brands from designer brands. Meanwhile, integrated resort Sands Cotai Central has continued to appeal to family visitors, with a new offering the DreamWorks Birthday Parties at Shrekfast as a unique birthday party for kids. The next new wave of integrated resorts will descend onto Cotai Strip from Projects in the pipelines include Studio City, SJM Cotai, Wynn Palace, MGM Cotai and The Parisian Macao. In mid-2015, Galaxy Macau s Phase 2 development will see new facilities like Ritz Carlton and the world s largest JW Marriott, adding meeting, event and banquet space as well as bigger gaming capacity. Infrastructure wise, MGTO noted that the construction p DreamWorks Birthday Party (top); SOHO 64 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

67 of the new Taipa Ferry Terminal is expected to be completed within 2014, along with the revamping of the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal. WHAT S GOING ON Macau Food Festival, November 7-23, 2014 This event excites tastebuds with delicious Asian, European, Chinese and local delicacies. The foodfest liberally blends culinary delight with live entertainment, games and beer competitions in an atmosphere of street stalls, booths and tents. Restaurant is run by the Institute for Tourism Studies and serves as a training ground for its students. Visitors may also support the Seasons Training Restaurant at Macau University of Science and Technology, which provides a formal and experiential learning environment for students of the new Bachelor of Food and Beverage Management Programme in the faculty of hospitality and tourism management. The training restaurant follows a Farm to Table concept, sourcing for the freshest ingredients from local farmers in close proximity to the school. The campus also boasts a garden supplying fresh herbs. MACAU The 15 th anniversary of the SAR Establishment, December 20, 2014 This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Macao Special Administration Region s return to China and the event will comprise diverse celebrations set to wow both visitors and locals. Chinese New Year, February 19-21, 2015 It s one of the key signature celebrations for MGTO, with programmes like float parade, artists performance, and firework displays to celebrate the festival together with locals and visitors. Macau Art Festival, May-June 2015 This is an artistic panorama of events from theatre, dance, music, circus, multimedia and visual arts. Dragon Boat Festival, June 20, 2015 Taking place on Nam Van Lake on the historic Praia Grande shorefront, many local and foreign teams participate in this event, which has become one of the international sporting community s favourite outdoor parties in Macau. Macau International Fireworks Display Contest, September-October 2015 It s one of Macau s signature events which sees the city s sky illuminated by spectacular firework displays, which can be enjoyed from many vantage points on the Macau Peninsula and Taipa Island. Macau International Music Festival, October-November 2015 As a major annual event attracting hundreds of thousands to the city, this is a platform for internationally renowned artists from all over the world to showcase their talent. Macau Grand Prix, third week of November, 2015 This is the most internationally prestigious event on the local calendar since its debut in The event draws world-class motorcycle, WTCC and Formula 3 racers to Macau to compete. HOW TO HELP CSR programmes are pretty limited in Macau but visitors may consider booking a meal in local training restaurants run by university students under the guidance of instructors/chefs. Nothing beats heartfelt appreciation and participation to help refine their skills. The Educational p ITS training restaurant entrance I RECOMMEND... What to do: For those tired of the hustle-andbustle city life, I recommend a day PRUDENCE LUI out at the countryside of Macau. Coloane offers a couple of hiking routes that suit different levels of strength. The Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail next to Hac Sa Bay is an easy one for family vsitiors. On the southern tip of Macau, it offers spectacular scenery. Where to stay: My favourite place to stay is the Pousada de Mong-Ha, which is a training hotel run by the Institute for Tourism Studies. It s located on a small hill called Mong-Ha in the Macau Peninsula, so the environment is tranquil. I like their zealous and attentive service. What to eat: A lot of places offer local specialties like egg tarts and Portuguese cuisine, which are a must to try. The Lord Stow s Bakery in Coloane is reputable for egg tarts whereas the Macau Peninsula is home to several traditional Portuguese restaurants, such as A Lorcha, Macau Military Club and Solmar. What to see: I like the St Lazarus Parish area, which has paved the way for the city s contemporary artistic creation, surprising visitors with its the number of galleries, studios and storytelling venues. ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

68 MALAYSIA MALAYSIA By S Puvaneswary In 2013, Malaysia attracted 25.7 million international arrivals, which contributed RM65.4 billion (US$20.7 billion) in tourism receipts. For 2014, the government is aiming for more, with a target to attract some 28 million tourists and RM76 billion in receipts. Its campaign Visit Malaysia Year 2014 strives to meet these targets by organising special events throughout the year. However, 2014 has not been smooth-sailing for the country s tourism business. Two airline tragedies involving national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) occured, namely the disappearance of MAS Flight 370 on March 8 (at press time, the wreckage of the plane and its 239 passengers and crew have yet to be found), and the shooting down of MAS Flight MH17 by a missile as the airplane flew over Ukraine on July 17 (killing all 298 passengers and crew on board). Thereafter, Sabah also reported several cases of abduction off its coast, impacting tourism to the state. Despite these setbacks, Tourism Malaysia s directorgeneral, Mirza Mohammed Taiyab, said in August 2014 that arrivals were on track and that the target for the year would be met. In fact, for 2015 declared as Malaysia Year of Festivals an even higher target of 29.4 million international arrivals and RM89 billion in receipts has been set. The NTO is also promoting destinations beyond the capital city of Kuala Lumpur to spread the economic benefits of tourism to secondary destinations, including Penang, Langkawi, the east coast islands off Peninsular Malaysia, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. Tourism Malaysia p Kilim Geoforest Park in Langkawi 66 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

69 2014 WINNER Meeting facilities, recognised by the world. At the 5-star One World Hotel, you can expect ample space, luxuriously appointed with spectacular chandeliers and state-of-the-art facilities including simultaneous interpretation system, live feed facility and mood lighting with variable colour setting and free Wi-Fi. However, what makes corporate functions here extra special is the opportunity to put fun back into functions. Take a refreshing dip in our pools, lose yourself in a sensual massage, treat yourself to award-winning cuisine, catch the latest action flick, enjoy a round of golf or indulge in retail therapy. There s so much to do and experience, especially with the 1 Utama shopping centre right next door. What s more, we have been recognised locally, regionally and internationally as the Best Convention Hotel, so you know that you ll be in good hands. Anything s possible in One World. To add some excitement to your next event, speak to our Conventions and Events team today at or Find us on Certificate of Excellence Asia's Leading Conference nce Hotel th World Travel Awards International Star for Leadership in Quality Award 2013 Gold Category One World Hotel first avenue, bandar utama city centre, petaling jaya, selangor, malaysia. toll free domestic: toll free international: tel: fax: website:

70 ARRIVALS MALAYSIA New hotels in 2014 and Grand Alora Hotel, Alor Setar, 235 keys, 1Q The Royale Bintang Penang, 80 keys, 1Q Ibis Styles Ipoh, 113, 1Q The Qamar Paka Resort Terengganu, 75 keys, 1Q Legoland Hotel, Johor, 249 keys, 1Q Silka Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, 319 keys, 1Q Best Western Premier The Haven, Ipoh, 100 keys, 2Q Vivanta by Taj- Rebak Island Langkawi, 95 keys, 2Q G Hotel Kelawai, Penang, 208 keys, 2Q The Blue Mansion, Penang, 18 rooms, 2Q Capri by Fraser, Kuala Lumpur, 240 keys, 2Q Pacific Express Hotel Central Market, Kuala Lumpur, 207 rooms, 2Q Sama-Sama Express klia2, 70 keys, 2Q Grandis Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, 70 keys, 2Q ibis Styles Sandakan Waterfront, Sabah 138 rooms, 2Q Imperial Hotel Kuching, 336 keys, 2Q Best Western CentreStage Petaling Jaya, 300 keys, 3Q Ritz-Carlton Langkawi, 132 keys, 3Q Dorsett Putrajaya, 218 keys, 3Q, Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru, 335 keys. 3Q Le Kuala Lumpur, 222 keys, 3Q The Wembley - A St Giles Premier Hotel, Penang, 415 keys, 4Q Cititel Express Penang, 234 keys, 4Q The Rice Miller Hotel & Godowns, Penang, 45 Luxury Suite and 21 Residences, 4Q B St Regis Kuala Lumpur, 208 keys, 4Q Four Points by Sheraton Puchong, Kuala Lumpur, 249 keys, 4Q Best Western i-city Hotel & Suites Shah Alam, 216 keys, 4Q Swiss-Garden Hotel & Residences Malacca, 306 guestrooms and 484 serviced units, 4Q Swiss-Garden Resort Residences Kuantan, 264 keys, 4Q Austin Central Hotel Johor Bahru, 322 keys, 4Q The Waterfront Hotel, Kuching, 208 keys, 4Q Majestic Tower Hotel, Kuching, 263 keys, 4Q Avangio Hotel Kota Kinabalu, 103 keys, 4Q 2015 Best Western Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, 200 keys, 1Q D Majestic Kuala Lumpur, 100 keys, 1Q Novotel Melaka, Malacca, 374 keys, 1Q Lexis Hibiscus, Port Dickson, 639 keys, 1Q Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa, in Sarawak, 101 keys, 1Q Lexis Suites Penang, 222 keys, 2Q KIP Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 199 keys, 2Q Best Western Plus One Gateway Port Klang, 100 keys, 2Q The Regent Kuala Lumpur, 238 keys, 2Q Dorsett Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, 371 keys, 3Q Le Méridien Putrajaya, 350 keys, 3Q Best Western Premier Melaka, 210 keys, 3Q Sri Jati, Kuala Lumpur, 54 keys, 4Q Dorsett Putrajaya, 218 keys Malaysia s international tourist arrivals totalled 11.5 million as of May 2014, an increase of 10.1 per cent over the same period in The top 10 generating markets for the first five months of 2014 were Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Brunei, India, Philippines, Australia, Japan and UK. They accounted for 86.8 of total tourist arrivals for the first five months of the year. Shorthaul destinations within the Asia-Pacific region continued to be the largest contributor of foreign tourist arrivals, with 73.2 per cent share (8.4 million) of total arrivals. Among destinations from this region, Vietnam registered the highest growth of 25.6 per cent, followed by Thailand (+15.1), the Philippines (+13.9), Singapore (+11.3) and Cambodia (+10.7). Traffic from China unsurprisingly took a drastic tumble in the wake of MAS flight MH370 s mysterious disappearance along with 153 Beijing-bound Chinese nationals on board. Some 30,000 tourists from China cancelled or have suspended their holidays up to early 2015 after the incident, and tourism arrival statistics for April 2014 revealed a 19.5 per cent year-on-year drop to 132,158 Chinese tourists. In May, a further year-on-year drop of 31.6 per cent was recorded. Other markets that registered a decline were Sweden, Myanmar, Khazakstan, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Brunei. Source markets with double-digit growth in Jan-May 2014 Country Year-on-year growth (%) Turkey 62.5 Bangladesh 57.3 South Korea 40.0 Egypt 39.2 Oman 33.2 Ireland 29.4 Nepal 28.6 Italy 20.5 Russia 20.2 UAE 19.0 Iraq 15.0 Markets with year-on-year decline in Jan-May 2014 Country Year-on-year decline (%) Sweden 9.2 China 6.5 Myanmar 6.0 Khazakstan 5.5 Taiwan 3.6 Sri Lanka 3.3 Brunei 0.6 Source: Tourism Malaysia, Immigration Department 68 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

71 HOTEL PERFORMANCE The Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia has estimated the room supply in Malaysia will reach 234,000 rooms by 2020, up from 150,974 rooms of all star-rated categories as of July According to Malaysian Association of Hotels, the country has 172,310 rooms of both star and non-star categories as of July Of these, the number of star-rated rooms total 150,954. Meanwhile in Penang, all hotel guests have been paying a bed tax since June 1, 2014, which is channelled for tourism development and promotion. The tax, called Local Government Fee, costs RM3 (US$0.93) per room per night for four- and five-star hotels, and RM2 per room per night for three-star hotels and below, including dormitories, budget hotels, hostels and guesthouses. Hotel rates in Malaysia are one of the lowest in Asia, and are expected to increase between eight and 15 per cent among three to five-star categories in on March 20. However, the airline Miri-Terengganu services were suspended on June 1, citing commercial reasons for the decision. In April, AirAsia also introduced three new routes: Johor Bahru-Tawau, Singapore-Kota Bharu, and Singapore- Terengganu, at the same time proudly becoming an exclusive operator of these routes. It also resumed flights from Kuala Lumpur to Danang and Clark in August and October respectively. The longhaul AirAsia X commenced four-weekly services to Nagoya from Kuala Lumpur from March 17. This is the airline s third destination in Japan after Tokyo and Osaka. For China destinations, four-weekly flights to Xi an were introduced in July, and in August, plans to fly to Chongqing from February 2015 were announced. Meanwhile, Malindo Air s services from Kuala Lumpur to Mumbai and Delhi had ended Malaysia Airlines monopoly on these routes. The airline started daily services to Delhi on December 30, 2013 and five-weekly services to Mumbai on February 18, MALAYSIA ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Total no. of rooms by star rating as of June 2014 State/City 5-star 4-star 3-star Selangor 3,168 2,493 1,027 Malacca 267 3,174 2,985 Kuala Lumpur 10, Sabah 3,061 1,840 4,796 Sarawak 1,257 2,042 3,227 Source: Malaysian Association of Hotels Performance of luxury and upper-upscale hotels in Jan-July 2014 State/City AIR ACCESS Average occupancy (%) Average room rate (RM) Revenue per available room (RM) Kuala Lumpur Penang Langkawi Sarawak Source: STR Global Low-cost carrier terminal klia2 opened on May 2, All low-cost airlines flying into Kuala Lumpur now use this new terminal. Klia2 is located two kilometres from Kuala Lumpur International Airport s main terminal building. As for air connection developments, the low-cost AirAsia and AirAsia X showed the most improvements in connections within its network in In March, AirAsia improved accessibility between east and west Malaysia by introducing new flights between Kuching and Langkawi; Miri and Penang, as well as Miri and Terengganu. The four weekly Kuching-Langkawi route marked its eighth domestic route from Kuching, while the fourweekly Miri-Penang and three-weekly Miri-Terengganu routes were Miri s fifth and sixth domestic route to be operated respectively. All of the new routes commenced operations Best time to visit During the fasting month of Ramadan, for good hotel rates and offers. Tipping culture Tipping is usually not expected, otherwise, about 10 per cent of total bill may be offered if service warrants it. Some establishments include a service tax. Public transportation One can flag a taxi off the street and commuting by bus, train and monorail services is cheap and easy. Sound advice Carry small change when using public transport. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Tourism Malaysia Website: Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau Website: Travel trade associations Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents Website: Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association Website: Malaysian Association of Hotels Website: Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners Website: The Malaysia Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers Website: PATA Malaysia Chapter Website: Chapters/6510 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

72 MALAYSIA SPOTLIGHT ON MALAYSIA WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL As a destination, Malaysia continues to attract travellers who are looking for beaches, culture, and adventure. The country has also been the centre of international events in 2014, for instance, it hosted the two-day South Indian International Movie Awards, honouring the artistic and technical achievements of South India s film industry; as well as the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour that thrilled tennis fans across the country. TREND WATCH Visitors should explore the city of Georgetown the way locals do on a bicycle, experiencing its cultural diversity and wandering deeper into the city to places bypassed by the usual mode of transport. The Street of Harmony should not be missed with its row of places of worship from different religions all co-existing in peace. Little India is the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur, and strolling through its streets allows you to absorb the taste, sight and scent of Malaysia. Visitors will enjoy this area s delicious cuisine while visiting renowned heritage buildings. Bargaining at the street markets and venturing through hidden alleys are all part of the exotic discovery. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE The hidden Villa Samadhi is a sanctuary in the midst of bustling Kuala Lumpur. Here, visitors can relax and lounge by the lagoon while getting a pampering traditional Malay massage. p Landscape of Kuala Lumpur (top); Nasi Lemak, a Malay curry paste rice dish 70 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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74 MALAYSIA Over in Langkawi, an attraction not to be missed is the new and unique Mangrove Evening Boat Ride, through which visitors can marvel at the calm mangrove waters just before sunset on board a beautiful yacht, cheered by an orchestra of cicadas and greeted by nocturnal animals that roam the night. The evening can be completed with a romantic, mesmerising sunset view. Then, Pasir Belanda is a homestay resort in Kampung Banggol. The rural village is quiet, and the local community warm-hearted. The kampung, or village, experience is complete for visitors who will get the chance to make their very own batik art or cook traditional Malay meals, as well as take a walk through the jungle and over the river with the new entourage of chatty village children. Simon Gurney/123RF.COM URBAN RETREAT The Malay culture uses spa treatments for their health benefits. The famed Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kuala Lumpur has been recognised as one of the top 10 spas in Malaysia. It offers the Butler-Drawn Revitalising Bath, which includes Chinese treatment followed by a Malay bath. A unique facial to try is the 90-minute Caviar Facial Treatment. A four-seater low-flying airplane can be chartered to p Golden statue of Lord Muragan outside Batu Caves (top); collage of the unique ancient windows in Georgetown 72 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

75 Incorporating Luxury Travel The 23rd IT&CMA and 18th CTW Asia-Pacific 29 Sep 1 Oct 2015 Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld Bangkok, Thailand Mark Your Calendars! Participate At The World s Only Doublebill Event In MICE And Corporate Travel CTW Asia-Pacific IT&CMA The Leading International MICE Event Centered In Asia-Pacific Exhibitors MICE & Luxury Travel Buyers MICE & Luxury Travel Buyers Association Professionals & Executives Media MICE, Association & Luxury Travel Organised By Endorsing and Supporting Associations Official Media The Leading Corporate Travel Management Conference For The Asia-Pacific Exhibitors & Sponsors Corporate Travel Managers Conference Delegates Media Corporate Travel Supported By Host Country Official Airline Official Venue Mobile App Partner

76 MALAYSIA whisk visitors off to the most famous places in Kuala Lumpur, such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the humongous Batu Caves. Then, located only 20 minutes from the city centre, is a beautiful 16ha heritage hotel Carcosa Seri Negara which boasts a glorious garden and a private butler. HOT DATES Thaipusam, February 2015 A celebration of the full moon by the Tamil population. Visitors are treated to unforgettable parades where Hindu devotees pierce themselves with long needles and walk on fire. National Day, August 31 Malaysia gained independence on August 31, This day is filled with parades and performances all over the country. F1 Malaysian Grand Prix, March 29, 2015 This nail-biting F1 race draws the crowd around the Sepang Circuit. Colours of Malaysia, May 2015 This dazzling showcase of parades is held in Kuala Lumpur, featuring thousands of dancers from several ethnicities performing all sorts of traditional dances, in colourful costumes. Le Tour de Langkawi, February 2015 This bicycle race has been an annual event since 1996, with the route changing yearly. The race covers most states in Malaysia s peninsula. Rainforest World Music Festival, August 7-9, 2015 This is one of the largest gatherings of world music lovers at the Sarawak Cultural Village. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Diethelm Travel Malaysia is dedicated to helping the Iban longhouse community improve their socio-developmental conditions. Its assistance, for instance, has helped resuscitate the Iban Warrior Dance, a dying tribal ritual. Performed with live music, the dance welcomes guests into the longhouse. Through each visitor taken to the longhouse, Diethelm supports the Ibans by supplying its own rice and vegetables. Diethelm also employs the Ibans for their boat services, and encourages them to save money for school fees, ceremonies or emergencies. Annually, it works with international schools for community service programmes, in which students learn to assist the Ibans in building dams and gabion walls to stop soil erosion, fixing water pipes, renovating, and more. Its goal is to help the Ibans become more self-sufficient and less reliant on government aid and unstable farm rubber-tapping income. It also contributes to the preservation of orang utans, turtles and sun bears, as well as their environment. p Kek Lok Si in Penang DIETHELM TO YOU Penang is one of my top destinations in Malaysia, a fantastic city with great beaches and a potpourri of cultures. When I visit Penang I always end up at the Unesco World Heritage site of Georgetown. When anyone talks about Malaysia, they inevitably MANFRED KURZ Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Malaysia bring up its food. With a diverse variety of local food, I consider the Georgetown Eating Asia Heritage Walk a must. Visitors should try charcoal-toasted bread, dim sum (Chinese dumplings and snacks), char siu bao (pork bun) and many others, look around local coffee shops to enjoy a typical Malaysian breakfast, and be a part of the local culture. They should also try out a cooking class to learn a dish or two of traditional Malaysian food all ingredients are bought fresh from the local market, and participants can sweat it out grinding and making their own coconut milk, among other tasks! Then, Kek Lok Si is a Buddhist temple in Penang, which some rate as the largest in South-east Asia. This stunning temple is a blend of Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals. Then go see the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also known as the Blue Mansion. Built in the 1890s, this indigo blue mansion was built by Cheong Fatt Tze, a Chinese businessman that valued European culture. Last but not least, visitors should also check out the Penang National Park. Comprising 1,213 hectares, the park features 417 types of flora and 143 species of fauna, and a wide range of activities such as a canopy walks, jungle trails, and bird watching. It is accessible via a beautiful mangrove cruise through a fascinating fishing village. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 74 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

77 MALDIVES MALDIVES By Feizal Samath The Maldives is undergoing transformation. Known for decades as a top-end, one-island-one-resort destination with room rates from US$250 per night, the government commenced in July 2014 the development of an integrated resort project on the uninhabited northern islands of Thumburi and Hulhiyandhoo in Laamu Atoll, with rates from US$100 per night. Part of a larger plan to build an additional 2,100 rooms in the mid-market range in projects on each of the Maldives 23 atolls within the next five years, the project targets the mid-market traveller and is scheduled for completion in It will comprise a few four- to five-storey hotels with a total of 200 rooms in 23 units under three different categories, including guesthouses; beach clubs/bars; wellness centres and spas; dive schools; restaurants; and shopping centres. Additionally, the authorities are looking for investors for the Ihavandhippolhu Integrated Development Project on Ihavandhippolhu Atoll, to build export processing zones and other infrastructure, including an airport, a cruise hub and a yacht marina. The search is on too for a partner to expand the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) to meet demand in 2018, when over five million visitors are expected, up from the current one million. Last but not least, the construction of a three-kilometre bridge across the sea, between the capital Male and Hulhumale island, which is connected to INIA, is due to start, while congestion issues have prompted the authorities to plan the relocation of the existing central port in Male to the adjacent island of Thilafushi. Klemenr/123RF.COM p Capital Male ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

78 MALDIVES BlueOrange Studio/123RF.COM Known for decades as a top-end, one-island-one-resort destination with room rates from US$250, the government commenced in July the development of an IR project that will offer rooms rates from US$100. HOTEL PERFORMANCE ARRIVALS p Diving in crystal clear waters For the seven-month period from January to July 2014, arrivals from China rose a commendable 19.8 per cent year-on-year to 214,518, accounting for 30.6 per cent of total international arrivals. The momentum in Chinese arrivals is expected to intensify with the authorities building a new range of mid-market hotels, a segment for which there is a lot of potential, particularly from China. Arrivals from India also charted good double-digit growth, with a 16.7 per cent year-on-year increase to 21,405. The UK market, which recorded negative growth in the 2013 comparative period, reflected marginal growth of 3.4 per cent, similar to the moderate growth recorded by Germany and Italy. Switzerland dropped two positions to the bottom of the 10 source markets, with negative growth for unexplained reasons, while Russia, another emerging source market, sent 41,974 visitors, down by 5.5 per cent due to an evolving political crisis. The number of accommodation properties in January to July 2014 averaged 291 against 2013 s 255, with bed strength averaging 26,894 against 26,016. The number of operational resorts increased to 105 from 101 while guesthouses, a growing segment actively promoted by the government to attract mid-market travellers, rose sharply to 111, from 72 in the comparative 2013 period. The average occupancy rate showed variations in the different categories. Occupancies in resorts and hotels showed an appreciable rise, with the exception of safari vessels, which fell to 27.6 per cent from 31.2 per cent in January-July While the total number of room nights from all categories rose 6.7 per cent to 4,304,953 from 4,035,677 in January-July 2013, the average duration of stay per visitor fell to 6.1 days from 6.4 days. Meanwhile, another 2,100 rooms are expected to add to the current 30,000 inventory in the next five years, exclusively catering to mid-category travellers at US$100- $200 per night. According to industry sources, three- to four-star resorts are value for money, with beachfront rooms selling at about US$350 (low season) and US$450 (high season) per room night, all inclusive. Beach villas at luxury resorts range from around US$900 (low season) to US$1,350 (high season), while water villas range from around US$1,200 (low season) and US$2,000 (high season). Top 10 source markets in January-July 2014 Country Arrivals Year-on-year change (%) China 214, Germany 53, UK 51, Russia 41, Italy 35, France 33, India 21, Japan 20, South Korea 19, Switzerland 19, Source: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Number of properties; beds Category January-July 2014 January-July 2013 Resorts 105; 22, ; 22,423 Hotels 16; 1,473 17; 1,546 Guesthouses 111; 1,510 72; 1,003 Safari vessels 59; ; 1,044 Source: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Average occupancy rate (%) Category January-July 2014 Resorts Hotels Guesthouses Safari vessels Source: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture January-July ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

79 MALDIVES t Cluster of water villas New hotels in 2014 and Maalifushi by COMO, Thaa Atoll, Maldives, 66 keys, January 2014 Amilla Fushi, Baa Atoll, 60 keys, November 2014 JA Manafaru, Haa Alifu Atoll (formerly Beach House, A Waldorf Astoria Resort), 83 keys, 2H Radisson Maldives Hulhumale, Kaafu Atoll, 250 keys, July 2015 Finolhu, Bar Atoll, 126 keys, mid-2015 AIR ACCESS As visitors from Asia grew, particularly from China, new Asian airlines began flying into the Maldives over the past year while other international carriers increased frequencies. While Cathay Pacific Airways began four-weekly, non-stop flights from Hong Kong in October 2013, Tigerair Singapore followed suit in January 2014 with four-weekly A320 flights in direct competition with Singapore Airlines, an old regular. In February 2014, agreements were signed between the Maldives and Saudi Arabia for main domestic carrier Maldivian to fly to Jeddah, Riyadh, and Medina. Both Maldivian and Mega Maldives, the country s private international carrier, have expressed interest in having flights to Saudi Arabia, which are yet to start. AirAsia X suspended its Kuala Lumpur-Male service in March 2014, seven months after the service s launch in September 2013, citing challenging business conditions. MEGA Maldives resumed thrice-weekly flights to Chengdu, Chongqing and Hangzhou in June 2014 after having suspended these services last year. These seasonal flights operate from June to mid-december and mid-january to March. The three-year old airline has weekly flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and is considering expanding routes to Jeddah and Jakarta in the next few months. Maldivian expanded its international routes to Wuhan, China in July It also flies to Chongqing (China), Chennai, Trivandrum and Dhaka. The domestic carrier operates daily flights from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Male to Dharavandhoo in Baa Atoll, Fuvahmulah in Gnaviyani Atoll, Hanimaadhoo (international airport) in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, Kaadedhdhoo in Huvadhu Atoll, Kadhdhoo in Laamu Atoll, Kooddoo in southern Huvadhu Atoll, and Thimarafushi on Kolhumadulu Atoll and Gan (international airport) in Addu Atoll. Meanwhile, seaplane transfers from the international airports to outlying resorts became more focused and efficient after US-based Blackstone Group acquired local operators, Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA), in Renamed TMA, the operator now deploys 44 Twin Otters (including three brand new 400 series, the world s largest seaplane fleet) with 100,000 flights annually. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit Peak travel season is between December and April when the weather is calm, while February and March are the sunniest and an ideal refuge for European holidaymakers from winter back home. For Asian travellers, it is an all-year destination. Tipping culture A service charge of 10 per cent is usually added to the bill but customers may choose to leave a tip, which may range from US$1-$20. Taxis are also freely available at a fixed rate of 25 rufiya (US$1.64) to any destination on this tiny island. Public transportation Taxis are widely available. Sound advice Alcohol is available in the resorts but banned in the capital, as is carrying alcohol on arrival. Wearing bikinis or skimpy beachwear is also banned in all the local islands. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Website: Marketing & Public Relations Corporation Website: Travel Trade Associations Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators Website: Maldives Association of Tourism Industry Website: Liveaboard Association Maldives Website: www. liveaboardassociation.mv Maldives Association of Yacht Agents Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

80 MALDIVES SPOTLIGHT ON MALDIVES WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Hailed as one of the most beautiful tropical destinations, the Maldives continues to be on travellers wish list. Its luxury offerings have reached a new high with the opening of the ultra-luxurious Amilla Fushi Island Resort in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll end Meanwhile, Finolhu, described as Amilla s hot, fun and loving younger sister will be offering an affordable beach club twist come 4Q2015. Huvafen Fushi TREND WATCH Ecotourism and the Maldives wide swath of natural resources have perpetuated the popularity of diving, snorkelling and other water and beach-based activities. To capitalise on the locale, underwater discos and spas have opened and proven to be a hit, while more properties are planning to cash in on the stunning location and rich marine life. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE Furnished in a style that echoes the calm and soothing nature of the ocean, it offers a variety of treatments under and above water. From thermal zones to a salt-water flotation pool, guests can enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and watch rainbow-hued fish dart about while relaxing under the skilled hands of a trained masseuse. Guests are encouraged to experience the Lime Light Ritual, which is a 180-minute signature underwater experience that begins with a Lime is the world s first underwater spa at Huvafen Fushi. p Snorkelling in the clear blue Maldivian sea (top); Huvafen Fushi 78 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

81 stimulating massage, followed by a stay in the relaxation pod with fresh fruit and herbal teas while taking in views of stingrays, clownfish and a myriad of other sea creatures. Kurumba Maldives MALDIVES URBAN RETREAT Kurumba is a landmark, being the very first resort to open in the Maldives. The only resort that is defined as a semibusiness location, it is situated a mere 10 minutes away from the airport and 15 minutes from the capital Male, making it an ideal urban escape for visitors seeking both business and pleasure. With warm and friendly staff, the resort also offers varied accommodation choices, from pool villas to beach bungalows that are linked to many dining and entertainment options. One of the popular activities at Kurumba is sport fishing, which attracts amateurish as well as professional anglers. Yellowfin tuna, wahoo, barracuda and sailfish are aplenty in the Indian Ocean, bolstered by the country s sustainable fishing practices. The fishing equipment provided is high quality and customised according to the species the angler wishes to target, while the boat is equipped with braided lines, dedicated rods and new lightweight jigs that ensure a successful catch. Kurumba Maldives p Coral planting (top) and Sand Bar at Kurumba Maldives ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

82 MALDIVES u Coral reefs and colourful fishes are aplenty underwater HOT DATE Surfer s Dream, June-August 2015 The best swells for surfers are from June to August and are largely determined by the monsoons. The south-western monsoon generally occurs during this period, when the waves are high and the water warm (ranging from 26 to 30 degree Celsius). Surf points are mainly found near the capital Male, and some popular locations see large crowds from May to November. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE The Maldives has been blessed with a bounty of natural resources and as a country that is exceptionally dependent on tourism, conservation and sustainability are necessary for the beaches, oceans, and marine life. Many resorts are doing their part towards sustainable tourism. The Barefoot Eco Hotel at Hanimadhoo is at press time scheduled for opening in November Aimed at a young and eco-conscious clientele, the resort blends in seamlessly with a stunning half-mile long beach. Award-winning architects and professionals have come together to create a unique resort that is in tune with its surroundings. Meanwhile, Anantara Kihavah has established many effective CSR practices that ensure a clean and green setting for the resort. With a ban on plastic bottles effective on the island, the resort also mobilises its team for an Ocean Cleanup Day every month to combat pollution. As it believes in creating and protecting the underwater landscapes, it also encourages guests to adopt a coral frame, the condition of which can be monitored from anywhere in the world. Another resort, Soneva Fushi, has made a serious pledge to sustainability by supporting the SLOW LIFE Foundation, which stands for Sustainable Local Wellness Learning Inspiring Fun Experiences. As a part of the Soneva philosophy, extensive efforts have been made in energy, waste and water conservation as well as in the protection of sea life and natural ecosystems. Anantara Kihavah has established many effective CSR practices that ensure a clean and green setting... The resort also mobilises its team for an Ocean Cleanup Day every month to combat pollution. DIETHELM TO YOU Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa is my choice for an absolute escape from humdrum life. A hidden gem, tucked away in northern Maldives, this resort stays true to its promise of luxury, privacy and serenity. With open areas and verdant surroundings, it is also a perfect getaway for couples. HARITH PERERA Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Maldives With 103 well-appointed beach and water villas, the resort s decor is stunning and employs the best of nature and natural light. The Hideaway Palace comes highly recommended with living spaces that are nothing short of royal. Activities such as diving, fishing and snorkelling are a must, given the untouched, pristine beaches and turquoise waters. A visit to the island of Utheemu is another option. For the palate, the Samsara restaurant offers unbelievable views of the horizon while guests chomp on Asian fusion cuisine. Dining here was an unforgetable experience for me. There is an option to have a meal on the beach, which I hope to do on my next visit. Please feel free contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 80 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

83 MYANMAR MYANMAR By Tobias Esche The year 2013 was a record-breaking year again in terms of Myanmar s international arrival numbers, exceeding two million, twice the total arrivals in Estimations for numbers in 2015, which in 2013 were said to reach three million, could perhaps reach up to four, if not five million visitors, as many improvements have been made. On September 1, 2014, Myanmar launched its first online visa application programme, in line with its aim to target five million visitors in To date the e-visa system is open to tourists from 67 countries, and will be extended to Mandalay and Naypyidaw international airports, as well as the four border checkpoints with Thailand. In 2014, Myanmar also assumed the chair of the regional organisation ASEAN, as well as the international Hospitality and Tourism conference in March, further contributing to the promotion of the country as a tourism destination. Additionally, the four newly opened border checkpoints with Thailand since September 2013 has created an entirely new market for overland travel, and along with further regional aviation integration a multitude of itineraries, previously impossible to arrange, has attracted more tourists. Tour operators and DMCs too, began promoting the Green season from April to September, and their efforts now seem to pay off. ARRIVALS The opening of four border checkpoints to Thailand in September 2013, by then officially being designated as tourist entry (or exit) points, has since enabled visitors to proceed from the borders to various places within Myanmar easily, contributing to the increase in the number of border p Fisherman at Inle Lake ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

84 MYANMAR tourism arrivals. According to the annual statistics published by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, the year 2013 saw a total of 2,044,307 international tourist arrivals, including business travellers and other visitors. This number could be separated into two categories: border tourism saw altogether 1,144,146 arrivals including day-return visitors, while air arrivals at Yangon, Mandalay or Naypyidaw entry points contributed the remaining number of 900,161 visitors. Both numbers had more or less doubled compared to Assuming that the number of day-return visitors at the eastern border with Thailand (465,614 in 2012; before checkpoints became genuine tourist entry points after August 2013) remained more or less stable in 2013, out of the remaining 678,532 visitors a substantial number of these can be regarded as genuine tourists. Between January and July 2014, figures from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism show that 470,747 visitors had arrived through Yangon international airport only, Myanmar s main international gateway, which is an increase of 23 per cent compared to the same period the previous year. Asia sent 338,000 visitors (almost 72 per cent), a yearon-year increase of two per cent. European arrivals totalled 79,767, with France, the UK and Germany again being the largest source countries. Nationwide data of arrivals for 1H2014 are not available yet at at press time. HOTEL PERFORMANCE By end-2013, statistics show that in Myanmar there were 923 hotels, with a total of 34,834 rooms. These numbers, however, need to be treated with caution as there exist two sets of licences: one that allows foreigners to stay, and one for Myanmar citizens only, with no such indication in the statistics. The total numbers had increased from 787 hotels and 28,291 rooms in In August 2014, The Myanmar Times reported that a hotel building boom had resulted in empty rooms and hotel closures in Mandalay, compounded by the traditional slump in tourism during the low season, according to insiders. The number of hotels and rooms in Mandalay has doubled since 2011 (64 hotels with 2,274 rooms compared with 120 hotels with 5,073 rooms). By end-2013, statistics show that in Mandalay there were 104 hotels. Industry insiders say most hotels in Myanmar now issue for the upcoming season 2014/15 new contracts to tour operators and DMCs with the same or even lower rates, indicating a new trend with stable or even falling prices compared to ever rising accommodation costs in previous years. Meanwhile, many new projects are underway nationwide. Perhaps an unclear distinction between tourists, business travellers, day-return visitors and others led to too optimistic an assumption among hoteliers, based on very high total numbers on total international arrivals. Top three regions by airport arrivals Region Asia 630, ,404 West Europe 130, ,163 North America 62,628 44,074 Source markets by airport arrivals from Asia Country Thailand 139,770 94,342 China 90,550 70,805 Japan 68,761 47,690 Source markets by airport arrivals from West Europe Country France 35,462 30,064 UK 33,302 24,296 Germany 27,712 23,063 Source markets by airport arrivals from North America Country US 53,653 37,589 Canada 8,975 6,485 Tourist types and composition in 2013 Package tours 17 % Free independent travel 38 % business travel 19 % Social visit 5 % Others 21 % Source: Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Number of star-rated hotels in Myanmar Category Difference 5-star star star /-0 2-star star Certificated hotels Total Source: Myanmar Tourism Statistics New hotels in 2014 and The Loft Hotel, Yangon, 32 keys, 1Q Yadanabon Dynasty Hotel, Mandalay, 58 keys, 1Q Zfreeti Hotel, Bagan, 102 keys, 1Q Thanlwin Paradise Hotel, Hpa-An, 2Q Sule Shangri-La, Yangon, 479 keys, 2Q Hpa-An Lodge, 3Q Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel, Yangon, 104 keys, 3Q The Lake Garden Nay Pyi Taw MGallery Collection, 165 keys, 3Q Novotel Inle, 121 keys, 4Q Rose Garden Hotel, Yangon, 60 keys Hilton Nay Pyi Taw, 200 keys, October 2015 Pullman Yangon Myat Min Sebel Yangon Myat Min 82 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

85 MYANMAR p U Bein Bridge at Taungthaman Lake, Amarapura AIR ACCESS ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Following the tremendous growth in international arrivals, the aviation sector continues to rise in terms of international and domestic connections. Latest news are that Myanmar s Department of Civil Aviation and Turkish Airlines inked a deal in September 2014, that could pave the way for direct flights between Turkey and Myanmar in the future. International airlines operating to Myanmar had more than doubled in the past four years, from 12 in 2009 to 28 in Additionally, other bilateral air service agreements were redrafted, some of them dating back to Yangon international airport remains Myanmar s main hub for most tourists, with flights arriving mostly from Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia and as far as Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, while Mandalay international airport sees more international arrivals due to the inception of direct flights by Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and AirAsia. Furthermore, Mandalay international airport is an entry point for flights from China. In general, Myanmar s regional aviation integration continues to rise, taking the examples of a planned direct connection from Yangon to Chiang Mai by Golden Myanmar Airlines after September 23, 2014 and a planned connection from Yangon to Phuket, in addition to existing routes to neighbouring countries. However, Nok Air halted its service from Yangon to Mae Sot via Mawlamyine, both near the border, perhaps because those border checkpoints were opened to tourists. Since Yangon international airport is operating near its limits, construction work at Bago airport, 80km northeast of Yangon, restarted in June 2013 and completion is planned by 2016/17. Meanwhile, domestic flights remain the preferred mode of transportation in Myanmar. The year 2013 saw the inception of Golden Myanmar Airlines with direct flights between Yangon and Mandalay, and an evening flight in In August 2014, it became known that Airbus plans to start a helicopter service in Myanmar for tourists by end- 2014, while MJETS inaugurated a private jet terminal with VIP immigration counters at Yangon International airport. Best time to visit October to February, with average temperatures from 25 to 32 degree Celsius, and the green season from May to September, if travelling in the central region. Tipping culture Luggage porters at airports should be given 700 kyat per piece; other tips are mostly imposed through a 10 per cent service charge on restaurant bills. Public transportation In towns, a taxi is the best way to travel, with the price open to negotiation; refer to prices indicated at Yangon international airport s arrival hall. Sound advice Adhere to the Dos and Don ts comic collage at the conveyor belts at Yangon international airport that help to avoid embarrassing situations e.g. displaying too much physical contact in public or not wearing decent clothes at religious sites. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Tel: (95-67) Fax: (95-67) Website: myanmartourism.org/ Travel trade associations Myanmar Tourism Marketing Tel: (95-1) tourismmyanmar.org Website: tourismmyanmar.org/ Union of Myanmar Travel Associations Website: Arrivals at international airports Airport 2013 total 2012 total Tourists only Tourists only Change in total Change in tourists Yangon 817, , , , , ,945 Mandalay 69,596 32,521 <50,065 <16, ,075 NA Total 887, ,131 NA NA +295,164 NA ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

86 MYANMAR SPOTLIGHT ON MYANMAR WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Travelling to Myanmar is gradually becoming easier. Apart from the welcome launch of an online e-visa programme from September 2014 for tourists arriving at Yangon International Airport, border crossings are opening and restrictions to travel in remote areas have mostly been loosened. Additionally, the tourism sector is enhancing its international appeal with more luxury river cruises and the arrival of global hotel chains. Yet Myanmar remains an untouched destination, coupled with an incredible culture, genuine people, and fabulous archaeological sites. TREND WATCH Myanmar has finally joined the UNESCO World Heritage List with the inscription of its first sites, the Pyu Ancient Cities of Sri Ksetra, Hanlin and Beikthano. Sri Ksetra, the largest and most elaborately constructed city of the Pyu, lies in the Nawin River valley in the Pyay Township. Hanlin is in the Wet Lat village of Shwe Bo town in the Sagaing Division, while Beikthano is situated in Taungdwingyi in Minbu Division. These three cities automatically become mustvisit sites for both foreign and local visitors. Easy access is possible via overland drive from Yangon or Bagan. Meanwhile, more tourists are entering Myanmar from Mandalay. Tours starting in Mandalay and including Bagan and Inle Lake are more common now and they are a good option to promote to visitors in the low season, as upper Myanmar has less rain than Yangon. Biking tours in Myanmar have always been popular with travellers interested in adventurous, longer trips. Travellers are also keen on hiking trips to remote areas to experience the local culture and interact with the people. New hiking routes are available around Kalaw, Inle Lake, the Shan hills in the Hsipaw area, as well as the Chin Hills. As regards luxury cruises, international luxury cruise companies such as Sanctuary Ananda, Ama Waterways and Haimark are launching expedition cruises on the mighty Ayeyarwady River and the Chindwin River. New company Burma Boating offers travellers a chance to explore the Mergui Archipelago with experienced sailors and a programme that includes a six-day adventure cruise to discover island worlds that remain virtually untouched on board the SY Meta IV or the SY Raja Laut yacht. p Balloons hovering over temples in Bagan 84 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

87 DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE MYANMAR Hpa-An is a distinctive rural city and one of the most beautiful little towns in Karen State. It has Mount Zwekabin, covered in a lush greenery of tropical palms, as a backdrop, and near the city centre is the picturesque Salween River. While Hpa-An remains unheard of to the vast majority of the world, there is an abundance of fascinating and interesting sites, such as the Kawkoon and Bayinyi caves. Hpa-An is 60km from Mawlamyine and can be visited on the way from Yangon to Mawlamyine. A boat trip on the Salween River to Moulmein is another highlight and should not be missed. The tour takes two hours and there are hardly any other boats during the journey, allowing for private viewing of the beautiful river scenery. Halfway through the journey, visitors will stop by the sleepy village of Kadow for a glimpse of the simple life within strolling through the narrow main lane and talking and laughing with the people they meet. The next stop is U Nar Auk Monastery, which houses the relics of Buddha. An alternative to the boat ride is to hire a motorbike taxi to see the area. p Young buddhist monks outside monastery (top); Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

88 MYANMAR q Myanmar traditional puppets; floating garden in Inle Lake villages for people to pay homage. It is full of pageantry and is very colourful, with fun fairs, music, dances and boat races. Robe weaving contest, November 25, 2015 The robe-weaving ceremony is held at night on the eve of the full moon. It is also a competition in which teams of women showcase superb weaving skills against each other to complete special saffron-coloured robes, called Ma Tho Thin Gan, from the evening until dawn. The competition is still held following traditional rules and attracts many people to watch. At dawn, the robes are offered to the monks, followed by the awarding of prizes to the best weaver. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE The Thahara Inle Heritage House and Inle Heritage Hospitality Vocational Training Centre are situated at Inn Paw Khone Village, Inle Lake. The training centre trains the next generation of Inle leaders in sustainable tourism. Forty students from around the lake spend months learning about best practices in guest services, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling and waste treatment skills critical to managing Inle Lake s delicate ecosystem for the future. Thahara Inle Heritage House is a charming small hotel with six luxury bungalows perched on stilts above the lake. Built using teak, hardwood and bamboo, each room features details celebrating local materials and artisans. While the hotel provides support to the students at the training centre, it is also a place ideal for couples, families or small groups to stay for an authentic experience, as well as to contribute to the sustainable tourism cause. DIETHELM TO YOU URBAN RETREAT A 2D1N trip to Pyay from Yangon or Bagan is a perfect outing. A small town on a bend in the Ayeyarwady River, Pyay is close to the ancient ruins of Sri Ksetra, the recently listed UNESCO World Heritage Site that was the seat of the Pyu Kingdom from the 5th to the 9th centuries. Extensive archaeological excavations have been made, as the Pyu architectural style is significant for predating purpose and is quite different from other styles in Myanmar. Pyay lies 260km north-west of Yangon and is accessible in about six hours by car. HOT DATES Thingyan (Water Festival), April 13-17, 2015 Three days before this festival, people have fun by hosing down one another from panels erected along the street. Water comes from buckets, plastic guns and the hoses. Young people enjoy these moments with music playing throughout the entire day. Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, October 14-31, 2015 This festival is the most important occasion in the Inle Lake area. Images of Buddha from Phaung Daw Oo are placed on a decorated royal barge and taken around the lake, stopping at Pomelo Yangon on Thein Phyu Road is a non-profit establishment that designs and sells traditional handicrafts using local materials and the services of disadvantaged local artisans. The prices vary widely but are generally reasonable. It is a perfect place to drop by to pick up some souvenirs. LILLI SAXER Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Myanmar Htwe Oo Myanmar Traditional Puppet Theatre is a unique place where Myanmar s string puppetry can be viewed and learned. It is located in Ahlone Township in Yangon, at the home of puppeteer Htwe and his lovely family. Htwe and his company stage a show for up to 12 people by transforming his living room into a theatre, explaining the history of puppetry in Myanmar and demonstrating how the puppets are made. Meanwhile, Linkage Restaurant and Art Gallery is another social enterprise, providing vocational training to Yangon street children via an auto-financed sustainable programme. The tiny restaurant on the first floor of busy Mahabandoola Garden Street, in downtown Yangon, is decorated with local artwork, which is for sale. It serves mainly Myanmar cuisine with some Chinese and Thai food at reasonable prices. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 86 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

89 PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINES By Rosa Ocampo The coming year marks the milestone Visit Philippines 2015, aimed at creating a more vibrant tourism than before. Coinciding with its hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings and leaders summit, the Philippine celebrations focus on five themes: business meetings, history and culture, lifestyle and entertainment, music and art, and Sports, adventure and ecotourism. As currently more than half of tourists to the Philippines visit Manila, the intention is to lure them to other destinations, including Cagayan, Bicol and Ilocos in Luzon; Iloilo and Leyte in Visayas; Davao and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. While sand-sea-stars Boracay, Palawan, Cebu and Bohol have become world-renowned, there are equally attractive yet less known attractions such as Pagudpud, Batangas and Mindoro in Luzon; Siquijor, Guimaras and Negros in the Visayas; and Siargao and Camiguin in Mindanao. Tourism goals have been moving from quantity to quality less emphasis on the number of arrivals and more on increasing tourism receipts and expanding visitors length of stay. Still, the Department of Tourism expects tourist turnout for Visit Philippines 2015 to exceed the five-million mark targeted for Arrivals in 2013 reached 4.7 million. Olga Khoroshunova/123RF.COM p Panorama of The Chocolate Hills in Bohol ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

90 PHILIPPINES ARRIVALS Visitor arrivals to the Philippines grew by 2.4 per cent, to 2.7 million for January to July Asia remains the largest source market, with 1.7 million or 57.8 per cent. The US, Canada and Mexico combined rank second with 537,597 or 18.8 per cent market share. Europe is a distant third with 266,791 or 9.3 per cent. The slight growth in visitor arrivals, however, belies the downturn in Asian source market. Biggest and fastest-growing market South Korea has for the first time in recent years dropped, by 6.3 per cent in January to July. Although Hong Kong lifted the travel ban to the Philippines in April, group tours have not yet returned as reflected in the 12.4 per cent drop in arrivals from the former Crown colony. Taiwanese arrivals also plunged 13.4 per cent. While visitors from China the Philippines fourth biggest market grew 8.5 per cent in the first seven months of 2014, fortunes were soon reversed on September 12 when China advised its citizens to avoid travel to the Philippines due to safety concerns. Other major source markets like the Americas, Japan and Australia remain strong. New markets like India are showing strong growth, but Russian inbound has slowed due to the political uncertainties in the home country. For the first seven months of 2014, tourism receipts reached an estimated US$2.9 billion, mostly from big spenders South Korea, the US, Australia, Japan and China. On average, tourists spend US$95 daily, and stay an average of 9.6 nights or 16.4 per cent longer than a year ago. As currently more than half of tourist to the Philippines visit Manila, the intention is to lure them to other destinations. Top 12 source markets Country January- July 2014 Share (%) January- July 2013 Share (%) Yearon-year change (%) South Korea 662, , US 449, , China 2 6 8, , Japan 2 5 9, , Australia 126, , Singapore 1 0 5, , Canada 86, , Taiwan 82, , UK 81, , Malaysia 78, , Hong Kong 67, , Germany 43, , Source: Department of Tourism HOTEL PERFORMANCE The Philippines continues to expand its cache of hotels and resorts, with the investment boom spread over popular and emerging destinations across the country. Between January and July, about 1,500 four- and five-star hotel rooms were added to Manila s inventory. STR Global reported that as of July 2014, there were 8,056 hotels under construction in the Philippines, defined as projects in the construction, final planning and planning stages, but not including unconfirmed projects. Despite the increased room supply, average occupancy rates (AOR) are holding steady. Rates rose 3.6 percentage points over last year to reach 69.4 per cent for January to August Average room rates (ARR) also increased by 4.1 per cent to 5,651.5 pesos (US$127.60), while the RevPAR shot up by 7.9 per cent to 3, pesos. The upbeat tourism of the country has pulled the demand for more hotels and retail establishments in tourist spots and central business districts, according to property consulting firm CBRE Philippines. Overall performance; year-on-year change in January-August 2014 AOR 69.4%; +3.6% ARR 6562 pesos; +4.1% RevPAR 3,810 pesos; +7.9% Source: STR Global p Makati Business District Antonio Oquias /123RF.COM 88 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

91 14-16 April 年4月14-16日 Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center 上海跨国采购会展中心 of International Sourcing The Leading International MICE Event in China 中国首屈一指的专业会议 奖励旅游 会议和展览的商业和交流平台 IT&CM China 2014 Event Highlights 中国 上海 国际会奖旅游博览会展会亮点 86% of exhibitors expect orders 86%的展商预期 over the next 6 to 12 months after the show 在展会落幕后6-12个月内获得订单 Business generation of approximately USD 1 million and above 特定展商期望订单业务量能够达到100万美金或以上 for selected exhibitors 83% of buyers gave top scores to the quality of exhibitors 86% of buyers gave top scores for quality of appointments 83%的买家 对于展商的质量表示非常满意 86%的买家 对于约谈的质量表示非常满意 95% of buyers rated IT&CM China as a 95%的买家认为中国(上海)国际会奖旅游博览会 是一项不可错过的行业盛事 Must-Attend Event There was a good mix of buyers attending the show, so that definitely helped us in achieving our business objectives. Achini Dandunnage Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Sri Lanka 通过在IT&CM China与参展商们的交流 我 对在东南亚目的地举办会议有了更加深入的 了解 这些信息对于我们来说非常有用 因 为我们希望在这区域举办一些会议 其次教 育主题论坛也非常专业 Li Jianmin China Conference Business Alliance (CCBA), 中国 IT&CM China is a show I will definitely want to attend again as this show raises awareness of our publication, and opens us up to new industry markets. Zhou Hang EMICE.net, China *Based on 2014 Post-Event Feedback 根据2014展后反馈 Contact 联络方式: For International Delegates 国际展商 Tel: (65) For Chinese Delegates 国内展商 Tel: (86-10) Exhibitors 展商 Buyers 买家 Media 媒体 Scan this QR Code 扫描此二维码 To Learn More About Participating 获取招待计划的更多信息 Hosting Programme For Buyers and Media Available. 为买家和媒体特设的招待计划现在开始申请 Supported By 支持单位: Mobile App Partner 移动应用程序合作伙伴单位: Official Media 官方媒体: Media Affiliates 支持媒体: IT&CM China 2015 is proud to be part of the Shanghai Business Events Week. 2015中国(上海)国际奖励旅游及大会博览会很荣幸的能作为上海商务活动周的一部分举行 Where The MICE Industry Comes Together In Shanghai. An Exciting Week of Business, Education And Networking Events. 国际奖励旅游和大会博览会行业的各个成员企业齐聚上海 在令人兴奋的一周时间里 共同参与这次教育以及商业交流的活动

92 PHILIPPINES New hotels in 2014 and Marco Polo Ortigas, Manila, 316 keys, 1H Nobu Hotel City of Dreams Manila, 321 keys, 2H Hyatt City of Dreams Manila, 365 keys, 2H Crown Towers City of Dreams Manila, 260 keys, 2H 2015 Novotel Manila Araneta Center, 415 keys, 1H Manila Marriott Hotel extension, 228 keys, 1H Best Western Bendix, Angeles City, 60 keys, 1H Conrad Manila, 350 keys, 2H Igor Plotnikov/123RF.COM 90 The upbeat tourism of the country... has pulled the demand for more hotels and retail establishments in tourist spots and cental business destricts (CBRE Philippines). AIR ACCESS Cebu Pacific Air started its first longhaul flight, a four-timesweekly service from Manila to Sydney, on September 9. It also began flying thrice-weekly to Kuwait on September 2. Other LCCs blazed new regional routes using the Philippines secondary gateways in March 2014, including MASwings from Kota Kinabalu to Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and AirAsia Zest s Taipei-Kalibo (Boracay) service. Silkair increased frequencies from Singapore to Davao. Two major developments have added to the Philippines accessibility to the rest of the world. The country returned to US Federal Aviation Administration s Category 1 status for safety, allowing local carriers to fly to the US and operate codeshares with US airlines. Congestion at Manila s main Ninoy Aquino International Airport eased up as Terminal 3 became fully operational this year, with five foreign carriers KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Delta Air Lines moving operations there from Terminal 1. Terminal 1 is now undergoing much-needed renovation that should be completed in 1Q2015. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit The Philippines is a year-round destination. From October to February, the weather is cooler and feasts, holidays and celebrations abound. Alternatively, it is bright and sunny from March to May, with yearly typhoons far away. Tipping culture There is no need to tip on bill that includes a service charge. p Jeepney on a rural road Bohol Otherwise, a tip of up to 10 per cent of the total bill is very much appreciated. Public transportation Taxis can be flagged off the street or an Uber taxi summoned by mobile phone. Vans, buses, jeepneys, MRT and LRT train options are also available. Sound advice For security reasons, everyone is subject to a routine bag inspection before entering malls, hotels, buildings, and MRT and LRT stations. A body frisk is also not unusual. Be patient and co-orperate. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Department of Tourism Website: Tourism Promotions Board Website: Travel trade associations Philippine Travel Agencies Association Website: Philippine Tour Operators Association Website: National Association of Independent Travel Agencies Website: Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

93 SPOTLIGHT ON PHILIPPINES WITH ROSA OCAMPO PHILIPPINES Edwin Verin/123RF.COM Igor Plotnikov/123RF.COM WHAT S KEY Home to the most diverse marine life in the world, the Philippines is marketing new destinations for water activities, be it diving for shipwrecks in Subic, scuba diving in Anilao and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tubbataha reef, chasing surf breaks in Siargao, La Union or Aurora, or island hopping in El Nido and Calamianes. Another experiential component is interaction with marine wildlife including whalesharks, dugong, dolphins, whales, manta rays, and giant turtles in Donsol, Sorsogon, Pamilacan Island in Bohol, to name a few. A niche attraction the Philippines provides for is watching the pyrotechnics from the eruption of Mayon Volcano in Bicol, and seeing what has become of Mount Pinatubo in Pampanga after its eruption years ago. Bohol has fully recovered from the earthquake in late 2013 and tours take visitors to see how the landscape was changed by the quake. p Mount Mayon Volcano in the province of Bicol t Tourists in lifejackets swimming at lagoon El Nido ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

94 PHILIPPINES For the bon vivant, check out Metro Manila s shoppingcum-dining clusters that have been adding more shops and F&B establishments to their already long list: Greenbelt and Glorietta in Makati; Bonifacio Global City in Taguig; Mall of Asia by the Manila Bay; Ortigas area; and Quezon City. Danilo Jr. Pinzon/123RF.COM WHAT S NEW Opening in November 2014, the City of Dreams Manila integrated development features three hotels and a DreamPlay educational theme park offering educational and interactive features from Steven Spielberg s DreamWorks Animation. World-renowned nightclub brands Pangaea and Chaos have also found a home there. The 488-room Solaire Resort and Casino, which opened in 2013, is also finishing its second phase of development, consisting of 300 additional rooms, a 1,800- seat Broadway-style theatre, and 5,000m 2 of retail space, spas and restaurants. Elsewhere, travel consultants are marketing and promoting new sand-and-sea destinations such Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, Aurora Province, Camarines Sur and the Ilocos region. Hotels are being built in these destinations and overland tours are on offer. Solaire Resorts & Casino p Bars and restaurants in Eastwood city in Quezon City (top); Solaire Resorts & Casino artist impression impression 92 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

95 Ecotourism in areas such as Camiguin, General Santos and Zamboanga are also adding variety to the Philippines offerings. WHAT S GOING ON Pope Francis visit to the Philippines, January 15-19, 2015 Travelling from the Vatican to Tacloban, Pope Francis main agenda in visiting the only Catholic country in Asia is to meet the survivors of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Haiyan that devastated Visayas in late The Philippines tourism goals have been moving from quantity to quality less emphasis on the number of arrivals and more on increasing tourism receipts and expanding visitors length of stay. PHILIPPINES Sinulog Festival, January, 2015 Cebu City s biggest and most popular festival celebrates the child Jesus through endless parades, street dancing, and colourful costumes. Date is subject to change in order to coincide with the Pope s visit. 19 th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, February 12-15, 2015 The skies of Clark, Angeles in Pampanga will be crowded with hot air balloons, aircraft, kites and radio-controlled fliers during the four-day celebration. Visitors can also expect skydiving demos, formation flying, paramotors and fun flying competitions. Obando Fertility Rites, May 17-19, 2015 Locals in Obando, Bulacan take to the streets, with a huge number of men and women dancing their way towards the town church praying for a wife, husband or child. 70 th anniversary of the final battles of World War II, September, 2015 VIPs from the countries involved in the World War II commemorate and pay homage to fallen soldiers. Giant Lantern Festival, December 19, 2015 Held in San Fernando, Pampanga, this spectacular festival shows off the biggest and grandest Christmas lanterns that can reach 6.1m in diameter, with dancing lights and eclectic designs. HOW TO HELP Gawad Kalinga, translated as give care, is one of the most successful non-profits organisations in using voluntourism to reduce poverty. It has built housing communities for the poor by bringing volunteers and residents, the public and private sectors, and non-profit groups together. The organisation has also formed GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan to raise social entrepreneurs, develop sustainable livelihood, farming and other programmes to help communities rise out of poverty. On the other hand, Hands on Manila Foundation s flagship programme, Hands On Volunteer Vacations provides tourists with flexible volunteering and travelling opportunities to enable them to do service in local communities as part of their vacation itinerary. The Philippines is big on corporate social responsibility and generosity. The Department of Tourism has activities promoting voluntourism in areas where it s most needed. I RECOMMEND... What to do: I love driving to Tagaytay, several hours away from Manila. The drive ROSA OCAMPO from Tagaytay Ridge to Batulao in Batangas is very refreshing, with a panoramic view of Taal Volcano and the farms and valleys below. Bohol evokes hours of driving along its shorelines on a full moon, feasting with fishermen on sea urchins and other rare bounties from the sea, exploring the countryside on motorbike, walking in the rain with school children. It s amazing that the people of Bohol stop whatever they do, even those working in department stores, to pray the angelus when the clock strikes Where to stay: They don t build hotel lobbies like the one at The Peninsula Manila anymore. Designed for understated elegance, the absence of pillars adds to the feeling of space while the four-storey ceiling with Sunburst sculpture by national artist Napoleon Abueva adds depth and breadth. Come here for soothing live music every afternoon. What s more, the staff is consistently welcoming, attentive yet discreet, whether one is there for the music, tea with friends or conducting interviews. What to eat: Razon s has the best halo halo that quintessential Filipino concoction of shaved ice, evaporated milk and the usual mix of sweetened fruits and beans, crème caramel and ube or purple yam, usually topped with ube ice cream. Razon s halo halo has very finely shaved ice, just the right amount of sweetness, and a simple mix of sweetened banana and a hint of jackfruit. What to see: Visit Batanes for its out-of-the-philippines, post-card perfect appeal, composed of crags and mountains, undulating grazing lands, windswept rock formation, seas and hills. Another frequented paradise is Camiguin in Mindanao: a small, laid back island with swathes of white sand overlooking turquoise waters, hot springs, volcanoes. It s a very safe place and people are nice. El Nido in Palawan can be enjoyed on the cheap. Stay in budget B&Bs, sup in roadside eateries, sail to uninhabited islands, discover the beauty within the depths of the unspoiled seas, and get to know the rural folk up close and personal. ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

96 SINGAPORE SINGAPORE By Paige Lee Pei Qi Singapore s tourism industry is sharpening its leisure and business event offerings in pursuit of quality growth and to differentiate itself amid stiff regional competition. As the Lion City continues rolling out new tourism products, creating a pipeline of unique and innovative content is one of the priorities set for the medium term. New initiatives announced by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to strengthen the city as a quality destination include an attractions experience development programme to help Singapore s tourism attractions become experts at providing experiential products and services, a knowledge bank of best practices to be available on STB s corporate website soon for hotels to efficiently deploy limited manpower, a study commissioned to explore improvement opportunities for hotel operations, and the setup of a hotel industry expert panel to chart a manpower roadmap for the industry. For 2014, STB has forecast visitor arrivals to grow to between 16.3 million and 16.8 million, and tourism receipts to be in the range of S$23.8 billion (US$18.7 billion) to S$24.6 billion. Singapore s tourism industry is sharpening its leisure and business event offerings in pursuit of quality growth amid stiff regional competition. p View showing landmarks like the Esplanade and Gardens by the Bay 94 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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98 SINGAPORE Urs Flueeler/123RF.COM Top five source markets in 1Q2014 Country Arrival numbers Indonesia 749, China 557, Malaysia 288, Australia 270, Japan 215, Year-on-year change (%) Source: STB HOTEL PERFORMANCE ARRIVALS According to STB s published statistics at press time, in 1Q2014, tourism receipts grew five per cent year-on-year to S$6 billion while international visitor arrivals held steady at 3.9 million. Visitor arrival numbers during this period were mainly impacted by the 14 per cent decline in arrivals from China, perhaps due to the imposition of China s new tourism law in October Indonesia was Singapore s top source market, registering good six per cent year-on-year growth. China took second position, followed by Malaysia, Australia and Japan, but these four markets all recorded a drop. Of the top 15 source markets, South Korea and Vietnam made the strongest improvement in arrivals at 17 and 13 per cent respectively. South Korea s growth was boosted by an appreciation of the Korean won and the introduction of Scoot as the only low-cost carrier plying the Singapore-Seoul route since June Outbound travel from Vietnam has also increased in recent years as travel as a lifestyle activity gains popularity among the Vietnamese. However, despite fewer visitor numbers, China dominated in terms of tourism receipts, which dropped only a marginal one per cent. Excluding expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, they contributed S$800 million in receipts, spending 48 per cent of their travel expense on shopping the highest among Singapore s top 10 markets 21 per cent on accommodation, eight per cent on F&B and 23 per cent on others. Indonesia and India contributed S$658 million and S$284 million respectively in tourism receipts. In 1H2014, a total of 7,514,595 international visitors were recorded, representing a 2.8 per cent year-on-year drop. Thananit Suntiviriyanon/123RF.COM According to STB, Singapore s hotel industry posted a strong performance in 1Q2014, with a 12 per cent rise in gazetted hotel room revenue at S$800 million. Average room rate climbed 2.7 per cent to S$261, driven by growth in the luxury segment. Average occupancy rate inched up 0.4 percentage points to 86 per cent, while revenue per available room rose 2.2 per cent to S$224. The luxury tier recorded the strongest growth rate of 11.9 per cent. The latest report published by CBRE Hotels Asia-Pacific for 1H2014 reveals that despite a softening in tourism arrivals, the city s overall hotel performance remained strong, that while statistics have suggested that the market is under pressure, the performance continues to be one of the best regionally. The same report also shows that 1H2014 saw the opening of a number of hotels, with notable additions like the Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay and Sofitel So Singapore. In January 2014, a joint venture between Master Contract Services and Keong Hong Construction secured the former Joo Chiat Police Station site at for a development project. It is expected that the project will comprise hotels and will add a total of 500 rooms. A review of the future supply suggests an injection of at least 4,000 new rooms in 2015 and at least half of this new supply will comprise mid-scale hotels. p The entrance to the ION Orchard mall (top); Marina Bay at night 96 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

99 New hotels in 2014 and Raffles Hotel extension, 78 keys, 1Q Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay, 460 keys, 1Q Patina Hotel (Capitol), 157 keys, 2Q Laguna Golf Green Hotel, 191 keys, 2Q Hotel Grand Central 1, 488 keys, 2Q Hotel Grand Central 2, 256 keys, 2Q Parc Sovereign Hotel, 265 keys, 2Q Hotel Clover, 27 keys, 2Q Traders Orchardgateway Hotel, 502 keys, 3Q Midlink Plaza Hotel, 492 keys, 3Q 2015 Park Hotel Alexandra, 450 keys Park Hotel Farrer Park, 300 keys Holiday Inn Express Changi, 200 keys Robertson Quay, 310 keys Oasia Downtown, 314 keys South Beach, 560 keys New Heritage Hotel, 550 keys Genting Singapore, 450 keys Credit: Savills (Singapore) AIR ACCESS The Changi Airport Group welcomed the arrival of Ethiopian Airlines in December 2013, the latest addition to the family of airlines operating at Singapore Changi Airport. The East African carrier now operates a thrice-weekly service between Singapore and the capital city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia via Bangkok. In June 2014, the low-cost Jetstar Asia started a daily service to Fukuoka, while SilkAir launched a new service to Hangzhou with four-weekly flights from Singapore. Both airlines also enhanced access between Singapore and another Japanese destination, Okinawa, with the commencement of 14 direct charter services (SilkAir with 12 services, Jetstar with two) from September 2014 through to January 2015, following an MoU inked between Changi Airport Group and Okinawa Prefecture Government in March in a bid to promote the Lion City as a hub to Okinawa. In terms of longhaul routes, Air France expanded its connectivity to Indonesia when it commenced daily flights from Paris to Jakarta (via Singapore) in July With this new service, passengers travelling on Air France and KLM flights from Paris and Amsterdam respectively, now have the flexibility to connect through Singapore to either Jakarta or Denpasar-Bali within the Air France-KLM network. Meanwhile, the Singapore Changi Airport will get a fifth terminal that can handle up to 50 million passengers a year, as part of an ambitious expansion plan spanning over a decade, aiming to seal the airport s premier hub status in view of growing competition from other air hubs in the region and beyond. Slated for opening in 2025, Terminal 5 will be bigger than Terminals 2 and 3 combined. It could either be a single building or a smaller facility connected to a satellite terminal through an underground rail link. It will be located at Changi East, linked to the rest of the airport, and possibly have its own train (MRT) station. When completed, Changi expects the new terminal to catapult the airport s total passenger capacity to 135 million annually, up from 66 million currently. ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit Singapore is known for its hot and humid weather, with little variation throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 31ºC (88ºF), dropping to around 24ºC (75ºF) in the evenings. The monsoon season can bear down pretty heavily from November onwards, so be prepared for rain on a daily basis during this period. Tipping culture Tipping is generally not practised here as a 10 per cent service charge is usually included in the bill. Public transportation Singapore has a comprehensive public transport system, with a tangled web of bus and MRT routes taking you right to the doorsteps of practically all attractions. Taxis are a more pampered option easy to hire at any time of the day. Sound advice Besides air-conditioned areas such as shopping centres, restaurants, entertainment outlets and cinemas, smoking is also an offence on the train, public buses, taxis, and in lifts. The smoking ban has also been imposed on public eateries and within a 5m radius from most building entrances, except for allocated smoking areas that are clearly marked with bright yellow paint. A maximum fine of S$1,000 (US$800) may be imposed on first-time offenders. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO The Singapore Tourism Board Tel: (65) Website: Travel trade associations National Association of Travel Agents Singapore Singapore Hotel Association p Sound MRT train system Association of Singapore Attractions PATA Singapore Chapter Tang90246/123RF.COM SINGAPORE ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

100 SINGAPORE SPOTLIGHT ON SINGAPORE WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Wildlife Reserves Singapore Singapore has become one of the world s most prosperous countries, with tourism playing a major part with several new high-end hotels and attractions. The newest attraction, Singapore River Safari, is the first Asian riverthemed park. The city s food culture remains a key selling point, with Chinatown and Little India offering street options as well as a wide range of trendy restaurants and bars. Kampee Patisena/123RF.COM TREND WATCH In June 2014, the South Korean 3D visual illusion concept came to Singapore in the form of Alive Museum, launched at Suntec City, and Trick Eye Museum, at Resorts World Sentosa. Both attractions offer visitors the chance to pose against 2D backdrops designed with 3D illusions. Singapore has also become the sixth Asian location for the Madame Tussauds wax museum, which launched end-october 2014 at Sentosa Island. It features the first-ever Madame Tussauds boat ride, dubbed the Spirit of Singapore, which takes visitors through a fantasy, tropical Singaporean garden filled with colourful native plants, then continuing on to the F1 Singapore night race, before ending up at the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel to watch jets take off and land at Changi International Airport. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE p Botanic Gardens (top); colourful building in Little India A hidden gem in the Arab Quarter is Haji Lane, a narrow back alley that has been converted to a hip and trendy shopping haunt for young Singaporeans. Those seeking cult labels and 98 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

101 vintage clothing will find them in the quirky boutiques housed within restored pre-war shophouses adorned with graffiti on their walls. Find local designers and young entrepreneurs offering fashion wear and locally designed handicrafts. On another street parallel to the lane, find rows of textile shops that have been in business since the 1950s. A little farther, an exciting array of cafes and restaurants offering delectable cuisines and shisha await. SINGAPORE URBAN RETREAT Singapore is also known as a green city. Nature lovers will delight in the many trails available in its parks, gardens and park connector networks. Several walking and biking trails wind through nature reserves and reservoirs set amid lush secondary forests. Diverse plant and and bird species complete the rustic experience. A hidden gem in the Arab Quarter is Haji Lane, a narrow back alley that has been converted to a hip and trendy shopping haunt for young Singaporeans. Tktktk/123RF.COM p Gardens by the Bay (top); restaurant painted with beautiful street art in Haji Lane ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

102 SINGAPORE q Lantern decoration during the Mid-autumn Festival in Chinatown Silas Khua/123RF.COM BECAUSE WE ALL CARE In shopping paradise Singapore, more malls are going green in line with a global push to be more environmentally friendly. Besides helping the malls save in energy and water usage, consumers also enjoy a safer shopping environment. Singapore currently has 32 eco-malls according to the Building and Construction Authority, and some of the green features enhance visitors shopping experience without them even knowing it. Singapore has 32 eco-malls, and some of the green features enhance visitors shopping experience without them even knowing it. DIETHELM TO YOU HOT DATES Hungry Ghost Festival, August 2015 This month-long festival is usually held in August, when the Chinese in Singapore observe the tradition of paying respect to the dead. Taoist Chinese believe that during this month the gates of Hell are opened for souls of the dead to freely roam the earth. Locals congregate to burn incense sticks as offerings along with Mandarin oranges, roast suckling pig, and bowls of rice for the hungry spirits. Tented stages are also set up in the heartlands in the evening to entertain the spirits with flamboyant live performances known as getai. Visitors could join the locals in watching the performances that not only depict tales of the divine gods and goddesses, but also include stand-up comedy, song and dance numbers in various Chinese dialects, usually with sensual acrobatic pole dancing by spandex-clad dancers. Mid-autumn Festival, September 27, 2015 This is traditionally an occasion spent with family members and loved ones, very much like Thanksgiving. Visitors should head down and soak in the merrymaking at Chinatown, comes alive with open air concerts, giant lantern displays and sale of mooncakes (a sweet Chinese pastry). Hari Raya Haji, September 24, 2015 Hari Raya Haji is celebrated by Muslims as the Festival of Sacrifice. This is a four-day celebration where those in Muslim community are reminded to share their wealth with the less fortunate. Male Muslims congregate in the mosques to offer their prayers, after which a ritualistic sacrifice of sheep, goats and cows is performed. The meat is then packed and distributed to the Muslim community, especially to the less fortunate. Muslims then gather with their families and friends for a hearty meal. Emerald Hill is a neighbourhood that has been tagged a protected heritage area in the heart of Orchard Road. Many members of the city-state s wealthy Peranakan community resided here, with Chinese Baroque design distinguishing its unique MANFRED KURZ Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Singapore architecture. To better understand Singapore s melting pot of cultures, visit the Peranakan Museum to explore that culture s influence in South-east Asia. Housed within a former Chinese school built in 1912, the museum boasts three floors of galleries showcasing the artefacts of the Peranakans. Additionally, no trip to Singapore is complete without having a go at one of its many food courts, hawker centres, cafes and restaurants. Chicken rice, the national dish, seems to go well with all tourists and the best places to try it are Five Star Chicken Rice and Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice. Another famous local dish to die for is the spare pork ribs in peppery broth, at Song Fa Bak Kut Teh on South Bridge Road. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. p Traditional chicken rice 100 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

103 SRI LANKA SRI LANKA By Feizal Samath Sri Lanka s aggressive campaigns in China, particularly in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, are paying rich dividends in 2014, with visits to the country by the Chinese Premier and Japanese prime minister, both in September, expected to encourage more visitors from China and Japan. However, Sri Lankan hotels are at a price war owing to excess room supply. Many hotels belonging to large chains have been offering heavily discounted prices to domestic travellers, since the wide range of accommodation options from five-star to unregistered hotels, guesthouses and homestays has seen tourists, mostly FITs, opt for non-star rooms. Hoteliers have expressed concern for the possibility that the growth in hotel room inventory may be higher than that of arrivals. One hotelier was quoted as saying: If there is no corresponding increase in demand, the industry will suffer due to a lack of regulation, leading to price wars as a result of the oversupply. Meanwhile, infrastructure development is rapidly progressing with large access roads to Colombo and the suburbs being constructed. More domestic flights are being encouraged for tourists to travel inland by air. Other facilities like specialty restaurants and shopping malls are on the rise, with the latest addition being the Arcade Independence Square, which opened in Colombo in July 2014, boasting 7,820m 2 of space housing designer brand shops, restaurants, a cinema complex and plenty of garden space for a stroll. Much of the boost in Chinese arrivals was due to sustained roadshows Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) conducted in Beijing and Shanghai, apart from advertisements on public transport. Russia and Ukraine have also seen increasing promotions by SLT, with the former recording a year-onyear increase of 68.8 per cent, while the latter disappointed with a drop of seven per cent owing to the political crisis in the country. The Western markets are slowly recovering from the recession and are showing slow business growth. Arrivals from the UK, Sri Lanka s second-largest source market, grew 5.4 per cent year-on-year while Germany and France both turned in double-digit year-on-year growth of 22.6 and 27.8 per cent respectively. Industry officials say although Australia is an emerging market, with 34,464 arrivals (up 8.6 per cent) in the eightmonth period, many are Sri Lankan expatriates holding foreign passports. The US also showed year-on-year growth of 14 per cent. Among the Middle Eastern markets another target of Sri Lanka s overseas promotion Saudi Arabia visitors totalled 21,528, up 18.2 per cent year-on-year; Oman totalled 9,880, up 71.7 per cent; and UAE totalled 6,832, up 20.5 per cent. ARRIVALS International arrivals totalled 1,001,643 from January to August 2014, up 23 per cent from 813,858 in the corresponding 2013 period. Target arrivals this year is 1.5 million, against 1.2 million reached in The target for 2015 is two million. India was the dominant market contributing the highest arrival numbers, up from 20 per cent from the same January-August 2013 period but China is the new kid on the block and aiming to reach the top-five source markets. Chinese arrivals surged per cent year-on-year, and are expected to head for over 100,000 by end Top 10 source markets in January-August 2014 Country Arrival numbers Year-on-year change (%) India 151, China 81, UK 98, Germany 68, Middle East 63, France 57, Russia 44, Australia 34, US 24, Ukraine 20, Source: Tourism Ministry ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

104 SRI LANKA HOTEL PERFORMANCE Total registered room inventory across Sri Lanka rose to 16,223 rooms from 279 units at the end of 2013, against 15,208 rooms and 264 units in 2012, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). While the five-star category of rooms remained unchanged from 2012, the total number of rooms in the one- to four-star rose marginally in What is interesting to note is that both the unclassified and supplementary establishments (including guesthouses and homestays), individually and collectively, supplied far more rooms than the registered one- to five-star accommodation. It also resulted in a situation where many FITs opted to use such cheaper accommodation than starrated hotels. Consequently, the four- to five-star hotels complained about falling occupancy rates, despite rising tourist arrivals to the country. In the months from May to September, these hotels offered unbelievable discounts, as much as 50 per cent full board per night to the locals to fill empty rooms. In terms of total guest nights, all star-rated hotels recorded about 5.1 million guest nights (foreign and local), marginally less than that of 5.2 million nights by unclassified and supplementary establishments collectively. Meanwhile, unlike in 2012, the average occupancy rate improved in 2013 in most accommodation categories. However, hotels in Colombo, mostly in the five-star category, suffered low occupancies and financial losses when Sri Lanka hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013 in November in the city. With many hotels booked exclusively for the delegates, Tykhyi/123RF.COM other visitors were turned away during the two-week period. Due to fewer arrivals for the summit, occupancy levels were below 55 per cent and in some cases 30 per cent compared to the usual November season when occupancies peak at per cent. Many rooms stayed empty during this period due to last-minute cancellations as well. Many star-rated city hotels like Taj Samudra and Cinnamon Grand, and several other relatively smaller hotels carried out expensive refurbishment for the meeting but have yet to recover the costs to date. It was originally expected that a minimum 4,000 Colombo city hotel rooms would be occupied for the meeting but less than half were actually utilised. As at press time, statistics for 2014 are still unavailable. Room strength in Sri Lanka Category All (registered categories) 16,223 15,208 5-star 3,152 3, star 2,070 1,784 3-star 1,061 1,201 2-star 1,717 1,798 1-star 1,325 1,249 Unclassified 6,898 6,024 Supplementary establishments 7,373 6,577 (estimated) (Note: Unclassified means registered accommodation with the SLTDA but with no star status. Supplementary establishments are units that are unregistered.) Average occupancy rate (%) Category star star star star star Unclassified category Supplementary category Average room rate in Colombo (US$; unchanged in 2013 against 2012) 5-star star 95 3-star 75 2-star 60 1-star 45 (Note: The above are minimum room rates, pre-tax, for star-rated accommodation fixed by the SLDA. Some hotels many enforce a higher charge based on its facilities) Revenue per tourist night (US$) Source: SLTDA t Beautiful Colombo at night 102 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

105 New hotels in 2014 and OZO Colombo, 160 keys, 1H Jetwing Yala, 80 keys, 1H Ananthaya, Chilaw, 88 keys, 1H Anilana Nilaveli, Trincomalee, 70 keys, 1H Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa, Bentota, 165 keys, 1H Citrus Waskaduwa, Kalutara, 150 keys, 1H Best Western Elyon Colombo, 59 keys, 2H Cinnamon Red, Colombo, 243 keys, 2H Cape Weligama, Weligama, 40 keys, 4Q 2015 Hyatt Regency Colombo, 475 keys, 1H Sheraton Colombo, 306 keys, 1H Heritance Negombo, 143 keys, 1H EON Resorts Colombo, 300 keys, mid-2015 Shangri-La s Hambantota Resort & Spa, 300 keys, 3Q p Tuk-tuks are common on the streets ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit November to April are for sun and sand-seeking travellers while January to April months are cool for travel in the central highlands. Tipping culture Tipping is a common practice even though a service charge is included on most bills. The rule of thumb is US$1-$3 for hotel staff and $5-$15 per day to a hotel guide or driver. Iryna Rasko/123RF.COM SRI LANKA AIR ACCESS No new airlines flew into Colombo in 2014 but others, particularly Sri Lankan airlines, have increased frequencies owing to increased tourist arrivals. In March 2014, SriLankan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) signed new codeshare arrangements to Vietnam and additional cities in Australia. SriLankan offers daily services to Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth via Kuala Lumpur through MAS, which already helps carry SriLankan Airlines passengers to Sydney and Melbourne, under earlier arrangements. Abu Dhabi-based domestic carrier Rotana Jet launched flights to two airports in Sri Lanka in April 2014 as its first entry into international airspace. The airline operates three flights a week from Abu Dhabi to Sri Lanka s main Bandaranaike International Airport and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota. Mihin Air, Sri Lanka s budget carrier, launched flights to Seychelles thrice weekly from mid Another interesting development was the resumption of charter flights to Sri Lanka in July 2014 with SriLankan Airlines commencing its first-ever regular weekly charters from Colombo to the Chinese south-western province of Chongqing, using an Airbus A320 aircraft. Charters (mostly) between European destinations and Colombo were popular before the country s civil war, but they ended when the conflict broke out. Now German charter TUI is planning to resume flights to Colombo in , when Spanish hotel chain RUI opens its 500-key resort in southern Sri Lanka (RUI s local partner is Aitken Spence Hotels which is also TUI s local agent in Sri Lanka). At least 25 airlines, including budget carriers, are now connected to Colombo, flying directly from Europe or Asia, via hubs such as Singapore, London or Dubai. Visitors from Europe who relied on Asian carriers like Sri Lankan Airlines, Emirates and Singapore Airlines to travel to Colombo now have the option of Korean Air, British Airways and Turkish Airlines. Public transportation Taxis are widely available and contact numbers are available from hotels. Metered 3-wheel tuk-tuks can be flagged on the street and they charge about US40 cents per kilometre. Four-wheel Nano cabs are available at the same price. Public transportation is crowded and inefficient but for long distance travel, comfortable air-conditioned buses and trains are available. Sound advice Tap water anywhere is unsafe. Boiling/filtering is often done too hastily in some hotels and restaurants. It is best to drink bottled water. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Tel: (94-11) , (94-11) /59/60 Websites: travel, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau Tel: (94-11) Website: Travel Trade Associations Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators Website: IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka Website: Tourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka Website: Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka Website: www. travelagentsofsrilanka.com Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism Sri Lanka Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

106 SRI LANKA SPOTLIGHT ON SRI LANKA WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Oleksii Sergieiev/123RF.COM The birthplace of serendipity, Sri Lanka is revitalising itself to welcome the massive influx of tourists who enjoy warm smiles and sunny climes. The establishment of the country s first floating market in August 2014 and the opening of the Arcade Independence Square a month earlier have transformed the cityscape with its blend of old and new. Boasting brand name stores as well as a luxurious cinema and world-class restaurants, the Arcade is a hotspot for friends and families. Additionally, with three casino resorts opening up in the capital Colombo, the city continues to add to its burgeoning nightlife. TREND WATCH Wildlife is a major draw, with many parks and botanical gardens experiencing an influx of visitors. Seeing the elusive and endangered Sri Lankan leopard as well as the plethora of flora and fauna is a high point, with this sector having grown 300 per cent over the past four years. With an absolute smorgasbord of culture, nature and history bursting at the seams of this tiny island, there remains an increase in round tours giving visitors a chance to sample everything from balmy beaches and heady tea plantations to serene temples and awe-inspiring elephants. The country has also seen a rise in personalised escapes, both individually and in groups, in experiential tourism. Winetasting tours in the resplendent Galle Fort in the south and culinary tours are gaining popularity as more visitors seek immersive holiday packages. p Tea pickers working on tea plantations near Mount Pidurutalagala (top); elephant family in Pinnavela 104 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

107 Sri Lanka has also witnessed an increase in foreign film crew and beauty competitions. The finalists of Miss France and Miss China 2014 toured the country, while the BBC and National Geographic put the island in the spotlight with documentaries and reality competitions. SRI LANKA DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE The Gal Oya boat ride has been hailed as one of the most amazing experiences for a wildlife enthusiast. The Gal Oya National Park lies to the west of Ampara in south-east Sri Lanka, and was established in A combination of evergreen forests and wide-open plains, the 25,900ha park is the only national wildlife sanctuary that offers visitors an opportunity to travel through it by boat, offering sightings of almost 150 species of birds. Composed of many small islands that are home to both birds and elephants, the latter actually swim from island to island in search of food. Meanwhile, Ella has been described as a magical place, as if from a fairytale or the heart of an English village. With lush greenery in every direction and cool climes that dominate the mountainous centre of the country, it is ideal for travellers looking to get away from the hustle of urban life. Visitors can stroll around the surrounding tea plantations and enjoy a p Adam s Peak (top); beautiful tropical beach ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

108 SRI LANKA q Esala Perahera the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The season runs from December to May with the peak in March. Esala Perahera, July 2015 This is truly a visual treat in the hill capital of Kandy. Processions are held over 10 nights and culminate on the 11 th day. Featuring hundreds of costumed dancers, whip crackers, musicians and acrobats, the highlight is the gaily decorated elephants that are fantastic to watch. Fire Walking Festival, August 2015 The fire-walking festival at the Munneswaram Temple is a sight to behold as men and boys walk over 1,000-degree burning coals as proof of their intense faith. The Munneswaram Temple dates back more than 1,000 years and is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Over 28 days, devotees express their faith through various acts and offerings, including an evening of fire walking. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE cuppa afterwards, while the more adventurous can walk up to Little Adams Peak, featuring views that are out of this world. URBAN RETREAT Colombo s diving scene is one of the best ways to experience marine life, and offers the opportunity to swim through the remains of a cargo ship or a WWI British Steamer. Visitors can start off the day with a dive into the blue waters. They can then enjoy a seaside breakfast and coffee at Wight and Co, which serves the best locally grown beans roasted on site. The café is a cozy spot that has some interesting coffee-related hardware on display. For lunch, the sustainable farmer s market, Good Market, has become a hit with three different days and locations per week, showcasing handicrafts, food and activities. This is a great place to mingle with locals and have a delicious meal. Next, visitors could go on the Colombo City Romp, a fun way to discover the city accompanied by entertaining and exciting challenges along the way. From the crowded shopping streets of Pettah to the elite Colombo 7 locales, it is a fantastic way to meet the local people and places. Finally, the Dodgy Pub Crawl offers an experience of Colombo nightlife through a range of dodgy pubs that have a history of their own as well as local alcohol and stories from the streets. HOT DATES Pilgrimage to Adams Peak, December 2014-May 2015 Adams Peak has been given many monikers over the centuries and each religious sect has chosen to define it by their own beliefs. No wonder, as it is the fourth-highest mountain in Sri Lanka and purportedly bears the footprint of Buddha. Visitors could watch as many devotees aim to make CSR-concerned visitors can check out Piyawara (Steps), a holistic education programme in Sri Lanka that covers six main areas of child development. Comprising infrastructure development, emergency intervention, awareness, training and mobilising the community, recreational facilities, child protection and empowerment of special needs kids, the programme goes beyond infancy and childhood in order to establish a firm platform for children to learn and grow. Launched in 2002, there are 34 Piyawara preschools from Jaffna in the north to Hambanthota in the south. These centres change the lives of over 3,000 children every day. DIETHELM TO YOU Aliya Resort & Spa is my first choice for a summer vacation with my family. With a theme centred on the majestic Sri Lankan elephant, this luxury resort overlooks the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Pidurangala Rock Temple. The hotel offers a range HARITH PERERA Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka of accommodation from deluxe rooms to attic rooms with specially designed family rooms to luxury tents and suites, all equipped with a host of modern amenities. The restaurant is spacious with a fantastic view of the rocks. Dining offers a hearty helping of Sri Lankan cuisine with a splash of international dishes. For those who require pampering, the Ayurveda Spa overlooks a beautiful paddy field. Then, at the newly opened OZO Colombo, On14 is one of the highest places to grab a drink in the city. With a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean, alongside the bustling Marine Drive, the bar has an eclectic range of cocktails and a Sri Lankan fusion food menu that is sure to tickle the tastebuds. The ambience and an unfettered view of the sunset are a bonus at this watering hole, which is truly a breathtaking place to end a busy day. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 106 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

109 THAILAND THAILAND By Greg Lowe One of South-east Asia s greatest tourism success stories was still on track to record its second-highest number of arrivals, despite having posted unfavourable growth performance in years as a direct result of a protracted political crisis that culminated in a coup d etat on May 22, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has since revised its arrivals target to 25.5 million international visitors with expected spending of 1.2 trillion baht (US$37 billion), down from 28 million international visitors and 1.3 trillion baht previously. More than six months of street protests paralysed parts of Bangkok, causing a slump in arrivals to the capital. Pattaya was also affected, due to its proximity to Bangkok. Other destinations weathered the storm reasonably well until army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha imposed martial law and ousted the elected government in a military coup. This, and the resulting increase in travel advisories, scared away travellers in droves. While the army chief has been installed as prime minister and the country remains under military rule, Thailand is still a safe place to visit. The junta, in part of its so-called happiness campaign, has brought an end to taxi mafias at Phuket International Airport and cleaned up some beaches on the island, moves which have been welcomed by the travel trade. Nevertheless, there has been a slump in bookings for the 2014/15 peak season with some hoteliers not expecting a full recovery until the third quarter of Helenap2014/123RF.COM p Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, Bangkok ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

110 THAILAND ARRIVALS Thailand welcomed some 15.7 million international visitors from January to August 2014, a decline of 10.7 per cent over the same period a year earlier, with revenue contracting 7.8 per cent to 725 billion baht. Although arrivals from all regional markets were down, Europe, the destination s second top source market, posted 4.1 million arrivals, up 3.2 per cent, and Africa, the smallest source market which sent 105,000 visitors, up 5.1 per cent. Russia, the third top source country after China and Malaysia, also posted growth of 4.8 per cent with 1.1 million visitors. Asian markets proved the most sensitive to Thailand s political turmoil. The crucial Chinese market fell by 18.9 per cent or about 610,000 visitors to about 2.7 million arrivals. Hong Kong, typically one of the highest spending markets, dropped 34.8 per cent to 274,000 arrivals, followed by Taiwan (239,000, per cent), Malaysia (1.5 million, -21 per cent) and Japan (808,000, per cent). Initially Bangkok was the worse-affected destination in Thailand; other key destinations, namely Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, only really started to see decline in HOTEL PERFORMANCE Hotel performance across the country only serves to demonstrate how badly the political quagmire has affected the tourism trade. During the peak of the protests, hotels near key Bangkok rally sites reported occupancy as low as 10 to 15 per cent. Publicly, many hoteliers are claiming that the situation has now returned to normal, however, a stroll through most hotel lobbies reveals a different story occupancy is clearly down. Discounts are highly prevalent in Bangkok in September, one could stay at The St Regis Bangkok for onethird of the usual room rate of about 17,000 baht. Performance in January-August 2014 Market AOR Change (%) ARR (baht) Change (%) RevPAR (baht) Top five markets in January-August 2014 Market Arrival numbers Year-on-year change (%) Total 15,703, China 2,670, Malaysia 1,538, Russia 1,088, Japan 807, Laos 748, Source: Ministry of Tourism and Sports Change (%) Thailand , , Bangkok , , Phuket , , Koh Samui , , Supply in January-August 2014 Market Total no. of properties Total no. of rooms Thailand 1, ,159 Bangkok ,887 Phuket ,070 Koh Samui 99 7,458 Source: STR Global arrivals after the coup. According to recent research from C9 Hotelworks, the downturn in key resort markets may prevent them from achieving previous targets. It also demonstrates the danger of over-reliance on mass markets, such as China which last year accounted for one in four international arrivals to Phuket. According to the research consultancy, Thailand s popular beach destinations started to show signs of a recovery from July/August Thailand was still on track to record its second-highest number of arrivals despite having posted unfavourable growth performance in years as a direct result of a protracted political crisis. Research from STR Global reveals the severity of the situation. Average occupancy rate (AOR) from January to August 2014 had slumped 16.2 per cent to 61.9 per cent, when compared with the same period a year earlier. Average room rate (ARR) was up 4.1 per cent to 3,615 baht though revenue per available room (RevPAR) was down 12.8 per cent to 2,236 baht, showing that on the national level the downturn was occupancy driven. Bangkok was, unsurprisingly, the most affected market in terms of occupancy, which declined 24 per cent to 56.8 per cent over the period. ARR still proved resilient, sliding just 0.4 per cent to 3,078 baht, while RevPAR tumbled 24.3 per cent to 1,749 baht. Koh Samui was the best performing destination over the first eight months, for all three key metrics, posting occupancy of 70.8 per cent (-2.6 per cent), ARR of 8,019 baht (2.3 per cent) and RevPAR of 5,681 baht (-0.4 per cent). A silver lining could be seen in Chiang Mai though, which, despite seeing a significant decline in Chinese guests, reported occupancy of 62.2 per cent (-5.7 per cent), ARR of 3,334 baht, up 6.6 per cent the highest growth in the market and RevPAR rising 0.4 per cent to 2,075 baht. The regional manager of one hotel chain with properties in the northern city, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that while the Chinese market remains soft, a surprising but positive trend is the willingness of mainlanders now to pay higher rates for better quality rooms. 108 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

111 New hotels in 2014 and Botanica Khao Yai, 116 keys, February Holiday Inn Express Sathorn, Bangkok, 184 keys, June Sala Ayutthaya, 26 keys, August ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang, 206 keys, October Avani Atrium Bangkok, 568 keys, November Mövenpick Resort Laem Yai Beach Samui, 50 keys, November Le Meridien Suvarnabhumi Golf Resort & Spa, Bangkok, 223 keys, 4Q dusitd2 Khao Yai, 79 keys, 4Q 2015 Sheraton Samui Resort, 141 keys, March Akyra Manor Chiang Mai, 28 keys, 1Q AIR ACCESS Thailand s aviation market has been active throughout 2014, despite the country s political problems with new hardware coming online and additional infrastructure developments in the pipeline. Phuket International Airport opened its Terminal X in February. The facility will handle all international charter flights to the popular destination, significantly easing congestion at the main terminal. The government in October confirmed US$1.9 billion budget to expand Suvarnabhumi Airport including building a new runway. Detailed plans have not been released at press time but reports suggest the expansion will not include a new terminal but will be focused on increasing passenger capacity within the existing facility, which exceeded its capacity of 45 million passengers in In terms of connectivity, Thai AirAsia launched its third route from Thailand to Hong Kong with daily flights from Chiang Mai using Airbus A320s in February. The LCC already offers thrice-daily flights to Hong Kong from Bangkok (Don Mueang) and a daily service from Phuket. Malindo Air in September added two new services: daily flights from Kuala Lumpur s Subang Airport to Krabi, and four-times weekly flights between Krabi and Penang. Both routes will be served by ATR s. Regional access was further improved with Golden Myanmar Airlines inauguration of thrice-weekly flights between Yangon and Chiang Mai aboard Airbus A320s. Thai AirAsia X also launched daily direct flights between Bangkok and Seoul in July and to Tokyo (Narita) and Osaka airports in September, with frequency on the Japan routes to be increased to twice daily from early Thai Airways International s (THAI) premium light carrier, THAI Smile, moved three domestic services Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Phuket from Suvarnabhumbi International Airport to Don Mueang International Airport in August. Its international services will still be operated from Suvarnabhumi along with domestic services from THAI Air. p Suvarnabhumi Airport ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY Best time to visit November to January are the best time to visit, when Thailand is blessed with clear blue skies and occasional cool breeze while temperatures range from 20 C to mid 30s. Tipping culture Tipping is not expected in many small shophouse restaurants, though it is becoming an increasingly common practice. There is no set percentage, but per cent is acceptable. Public transportation Taxis are cheap in Bangkok, as are the BTS skytrain and MRT subway. Apps such as GrabTaxi provide a dependable way of hailing taxis if you re worried about speaking Thai or getting fleeced. Sound advice Thailand remains under martial law. Be wary about expressing political views about the current situation and for safety s sake refrain from discussing the monarchy. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Tourism Authority of Thailand Website: Tourism Council of Thailand Website: www. thailandtourismcouncil.org Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau Website: Travel trade associations Association of Thai Travel Agents Website: Pacific Asia Travel Association Website: Thai Hotels Association Website: Thai Travel Agents Association Website: Kessudap/123RF.COM THAILAND ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

112 THAILAND SPOTLIGHT ON THAILAND WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL Increased political stability, along with the usual unique offerings of Thai culture, tradition and hospitality, are making Thailand more enticing than ever. Additionally, several of the beaches at tourist hot spots around the Andaman Sea have been cleaned up and have regained their natural beauty, beckoning visitors to come. TREND WATCH In today s fast-paced world, people are realising the need to spend more quality time together with family and friends. This trend necessitates accommodation that can cater to families and groups, offering private bedrooms and bathrooms as well as facilities like a swimming pool by which lunches and BBQ dinners can be enjoyed together. The increase in two- and three-bedroom pool villas at many resorts has met these needs, but there is also growing demand for even larger private villas, equipped with one s own personal chef. Popular locations like Koh Samui and Phuket offer numerous villa rental options for different budgets. Diethelm now offers yacht rental for visitors interested in having a great day out at the various national marine parks. Thailand is also known for its diverse range of wellness, spa and fitness programmes, with specialist resorts like Chiva Som in Hua Hin, Thanyapura in Phuket and Kamalaya in Koh Samui all doing very well as great places for relaxation and rejuvenation. Diethelm also offers half-day tours to one of the most important temples in northern Thailand, introducing visitors to the spiritual practice of meditation. Participants will get a chance to discuss the meaning of existence with Thai Buddhist monks and to learn the art of meditation from them. Some claim this practice can contribute to a better quality of life as well as a deeper connection with the local culture. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE The Beach Village Resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan is a resort specially conceived for families and groups near one of the less touristy areas of Thailand, located near the beautiful beach of Dolphin Bay. While the natural surroundings p Sanphet Prasat Palace, Ancient City 110 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

113 enhance visitors experience with the availability of a nearby golf course, the resort provides bicycles for rides on the new dedicated bicycle lanes along the coastline. Also nearby is the Khao Sam Roi Yot national park, well known to the locals for its Phraya Nakhon Cave with the four-gabled pavilion bathed in natural light and built for the visit of King Rama V some 125 years ago. The name Khao Sam Roi Yot translates to The Mountain with Three Hundred Peaks because a series of grey limestones rise dramatically from the Gulf of Thailand and adjacent coastal marshes to a height of over 600m, contributing to a site of outstanding natural beauty. The freshwater marshes and coastal habitat, an important stopover and breeding area for birds, give the park great ecological significance. THAILAND URBAN RETREAT Near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, the number of riverside resorts is overwhelming, but only a few stand out, such as The Siam, the newest addition and crown jewel of the independently owned and operated properties that p The Siam (top); golden pavilion at Phraya Nakhon Cave in Khao Sam Roi Yot ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

114 THAILAND make up Sukosol Hotels. It offers unique experiences, from its world-class Opium Spa and hammam-inspired Bath House to venturing out with the chef to a nearby fresh market to get the ingredients for a Thai cooking class. Located near the northern part of Rattanakosin Island, the area is ideal for a walking tour to explore this interesting part of the city with well-trained guides, diving into the history and architecture of old Siam. Another sanctuary, but of a completely different nature, is on the other side of town across the river called Bangkok Tree House. It is a small, environmentally friendly resort where guests can sleep in one of the treetop nests, enjoy a swim in a natural pond and salad from an organic farm. A few days stay affords time for a bicycle tour of the surrounding area, also known as the lungs of Bangkok, as well as a visit to the nearby Ancient City, or Muang Boran, an outdoor museum and architectural reflection of Thailand s glorious past. Muang Boran also houses several ethnological displays of artifacts and antiques, including rural arts, ancient tools and hunting equipment, evident of how the native people lived. HOT DATES Loy Krathong, November 25, 2015 This colourful festival takes place on the night of a full moon, when Thais place their krathong (floating candle) on a river, canal or pond, making a wish to the water spirits. Additionally, khom loi lanterns are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, to which a candle or fuel cell is attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air trapped inside the lantern lifts it up into the sky. One of the best places to experience this festival is Kanchanaburi, near the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, which offers a nice backdrop. Vegetarian Festival, October 13-21, 2015 This nine-day event in southern Phuket observes the Chinese community s belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind. Visitors can observe hundreds of locals piercing their skin with various sharp objects to prove their devotion, but remarkably no one seems to bleed. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Elephant s World is a non-profit organisation in Kanchanaburi province that functions as a retirement home for elephants that have been working for humans before either in the logging industry, begging in the streets of big cities or entertaining tourists at camps and circuses. The foundation not only takes care of old and sick elephants, but also attempts to rescue young elephants from exploitation. It promotes a peaceful life in natural surroundings, preparing food for elephants, feeding them, washing them and allows visitors a chance to be a part of its cause to help and work for the elephants, instead of the other way round. p Krathong, the hand-crafted floating candle DIETHELM TO YOU Part of my job involves exploring new areas in the country, and on some long weekends I can be spotted in one of my favourite areas in the East called Chanthaburi. This laid-back province is located some three hours drive east of Bangkok, HANS VAN DEN BORN Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Thailand halfway to the more known Koh Chang Island near the Cambodia border. It used to have a world-class reputation for ruby and sapphire mining, and there is still a buzzing gem market in old Chanthaburi town near the river. The countryside is diverse with great beaches and nice hills, including some refreshing waterfalls. Accommodation is still rather basic and mainly caters to the local market, reminding me of my first backpacking adventure through Thailand three decades ago. The best months to visit are April and May during the fruit harvest, when an abundance of fruits ranging from rambutans, tiger fruit and lychees can be tasted and bought at very low prices. Closer to town, in Bangkok, I have discovered several riverside boutique resorts like Riva Surya and the new Sala Rattanakosin with nicely decorated restaurants for both indoor and outdoor dining. Not only are there great views of the river, but the latter, located next to the restored market building, also has a great view of Wat Arun, one of my favourite landmarks in the town I call home. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. 112 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

115 VIETNAM VIETNAM Compiled by Lou Darriet Positive growth is expected for Vietnam s tourism industry in 2014, thanks to strong economic development in key source markets. The Business Monitor International (BMI) has forecast annual inbound arrivals to cross the 9 million mark by The National Tourism Year 2014 focuses on promoting specific regions or cities, such as the charming city of Dalat, with the theme Mountains and Forests of Central Highlands. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism wants to promote social and economic development and preserve local communities and culture through new heritage tours and routes. Meanwhile, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) continues to implement its National Action Plan for up to 2020 with a vision towards 2030, to promote Vietnam as a tourism destination worldwide. It is also planning further marketing and advertising activities, mostly targeting Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. According to Euromonitor, 2013 s target of 7.2 million was exceeded, with more than 7.5 million international arrivals recorded. This could have prompted VNAT to announce its targets for 2014 to be eight million international arrivals, 37.5 million domestic arrivals and 230 billion dong (US$10.8 million) in tourism receipts. It seems the country is on track to meet these targets as international arrivals have already reached 5.5 million as at August 2014, year-to-date. Vietnam is partnering other ASEAN countries to work towards the Five Countries One Destination single-visa project, which will allow non-asean tourists to travel freely across their borders. According to HTL, the five countries expect to receive 50 million international arrivals by Johan Aija/123RF.COM p Ha Long Bay ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

116 ARRIVALS HOTEL PERFORMANCE VIETNAM VNAT recorded 7,580,472 international arrivals in 2013, a year-on-year 15.1per cent increase, prompting them to fix the ambitious goal of about eight million for 2014, according to PATA mpower. According to VNAT, overall total inbound arrivals in 1H2014 reached 4,287,885, a year-on-year increase of 21.1 per cent. International arrival trends witnessed a drought in June 2014 with a 4.9 per cent fall from May arrivals, likely linked to anti-china protests in Vietnamese cities in May, which caused many cancellations of holiday bookings from China and a sharp decline in arrivals. Asia-Pacific continues to play a dominant role as source market in 2014, particularly China, South Korea and Japan, even though the US and Russia will also remain important source markets, according to BMI. China was the biggest as well as the fourth fastest-growing market in 1H2014, with year-on-year 37.5 per cent growth, reaching 1,134,878 arrivals. Most noteworthy was Hong Kong, which grew an exceptional per cent. Cambodia is an emerging source market which has also shown excellent year-on-year growth of 30.1% for 1H2014, making to the top 10 source markets with 202,770 arrivals. Neighbuoring Laos also grew impressively (38.8%) compared to last year s period. Outside of Asia, Germany, Russia, Spain and England all have growth rates exceeding 20 per cent in 1H2014 year-on-year, even though they do not feature in the top 10 source markets. Only one source market registered a drop: Finland showed a decline of 0.8 per cent, but already a huge improvement compared to s per cent. According to STR Global, the hotel supply pipeline for Vietnam as of August 2014 stood at 43 hotels, representing about 9,241 rooms. Hanoi had 61 hotels or 8,490 rooms on the three- to five-star hotel market as of 2Q2014, and expected 32 new projects or 5,000 more rooms in 2H2014. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average room rate (ARR) both decreased slightly this quarter compared with 2Q2013, by four and eight per cent respectively. In 2Q2014, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) s total inventory in the three- to five-star segment added up to 12,700 rooms from 93 hotels, reflecting year-on-year growth of eight per cent. From 2Q2014 up until 2016, about 1,400 rooms from nine upcoming projects are expected to join the three- to five-star segment. HCMC s performance was hit by the low tourist seasonin 2Q, with average occupancy rate (AOR) down 13 points quarter-on-quarter, but stable year-on-year growth. ARR declined four per cent year-on-year, while RevPAR fell six per cent, although a differentiation should be made between the CBD and non CBD zone: the former s RevPAR was 58 per cent higher than the latter. HCMC being the economic centre of Vietnam, hotel demand from business travellers is higher than in other cities. Danang saw strong supply growth of 12 per cent in 1H2014 year-on-year, with 5,360 rooms and 49 three- to five-star hotels. The city expects to see nine new projects in 2H2014, adding about 1,140 new rooms. AOR rose to about 66 per cent in 1H2014, compared to 53 per cent in 1H2013. ARR dipped nine per cent but RevPAR improved 12 per cent. Top 10 international source markets in 1H2014 Country Arrival numbers Year-on-year growth China 1,134, % South Korea % Japan % US % Taipei % Cambodia % Russia % Malaysia % Australia % Thailand % Top 10 international source markets in 2013 Country Arrival numbers China 1,917,794 South Korea Japan US Taipei Cambodia Malaysia Australia Russia Thailand Source: VNAT, GSO Overall performance in January-July 2014 AOR 62.5%, -2.5% ARR US$131; +4.4% RevPAR US$82; +1.8% Source: STR Global Performance in Hanoi in 1H2014 Inventory 8,490 rooms AOR 65.8%, -0.8% ARR US$112; +1.7% RevPAR US$75; + 0.8% Source: STR Global Performance in HCMC in 1H2014 Inventory 12,700 rooms AOR 67.9%; +0.7% ARR US$122; +0.1% RevPAR US$83; +0.8% Source: STR Global Performance in Danang in 1H2014 Inventory 5,360 rooms Average occupancy rate 66%; +13 %points Average room rate US$76; +9% Source: Savills Vietnam 114 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

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118 VIETNAM New hotels in 2014 and Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi, 86 keys, early 2014 JW Marriot Hanoi, 445 keys, early 2014 Le Meridien Saigon, 350 keys, 3Q Ba Na Hills Resort, 90 keys, 3Q Eastin Hotel Hanoi, 90 keys, end 2014 Mercure Sapa Resort & Spa, 2014 Vietnam s aviation market is forecast to be the world s seventh fastest-growing from 2013 to ESSENTIALS IN THE CITY 2015 The Residences at Mia Resort Nha Trang, 12 keys, 2Q Resort Ganesa Ninh Thuân, 200 keys, 2015 Mövenpick Resort & Spa, Quy Nhon, 180 keys, end 2015 The Song Danang Beach Villas, 48 keys (hotel 202 keys), 2015 AIR ACCESS Vietnam s aviation market is forecast to be the world s seventh fastest-growing from 2013 to 2017, with annual growth rates of 6.9 and 6.6 per cent expected for international passengers and freight respectively, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA). In 2013, a total of 5,979,953 air passengers to Vietnam were recorded, according to VNAT. Year-to-date August 2014, traffic flow into Vietnam already reached 4,391,223 passengers, a year-on-year 13 per cent increase. International air connectivity well improved in 2014, with the opening of new routes and airline expansions. Vietnam Airlines launched two new air routes connecting Danang and Hanoi to Japan s Narita and Haneda airports in July. Japan is an important market for Vietnam s tourism sector. Japan Airlines also started a non-stop route between Tokyo s Haneda International Airport and HCMC s Tan Son Nhat International Airport in March Vietjet launched its first HCMC-Singapore flight in May 2014, and now operates daily flights. This route provides 2,520 seats per week to meet the increasing travel demand. The airline also opened two new routes to South Korea in July, with the charter service between Danang and Incheon, and commercial flight between Hanoi and Incheon. At press time, it is announced that Vietnam Airlines would in November 2014 launch two new routes, providing flights to and from Singapore and Siem Reap. In the same month, Asiana Airlines would also start operating flights between Seoul and Phu Quoc International Airport, while Jet Airways would introduce two new winter routes from Delhi and Mumbai to HCMC via Bangkok. On the domestic front, Vietjet launched the route between Dalat and HCMC with seven-weekly flights in March. The airline also started running a route with daily flights between Hanoi and Can Tho in October. Expansion of airport facilities has helped the country to enhance its flight routes, with Dragonair, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and SilkAir having increased flights to the region. Best time to visit Vietnam s weather is warm and comfortable in the North, although winters can get a little chilly. In the centre and south, the climate is more tropical and affected by monsoon downpours in July and August. April to June and September to November are probably the best times to avoid high-season prices. Go from December to March for cooler temperatures with clear skies and sunshine, although it is best to avoid February so as not to get stuck without means of transportation because of public holidays during the Tet festival. Tipping culture Tipping is not expected in hotels and restaurants around the country, or to visitors own discretion if they are satisfied with the service. Tipping is uncommon in bars. For taxi drivers, a little change will be well received, especially at night. Public transportation Car taxis and motorbike taxis are the best means of transport around the big cities, especially Hanoi and HCMC. The main official company nationwide is Mai Linh Taxi. Some cities are more bicycle-friendly, such as Hue and Hoi An. Coaches are the cheapest and most convenient way to travel around the country, but Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet and Jetstar also offer great domestic deals. Sound advice Visitors must be prepared to bargain in small souvenir shops and markets, or when renting bikes and motorbikes, as well as organising bus transportation around the country. In most hotels, restaurants and other shops, prices are fixed. Taxi drivers may overcharge. IMPORTANT CONTACTS NTO Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Website: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Website: Travel trade associations PATA Vietnam Chapter Website: Chapters/6517 Vietnam Tourism Association Website: Vietnam Hotel Association Website: ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

119 SPOTLIGHT ON VIETNAM WITH DIETHELM TRAVEL VIETNAM Vietnam boasts a good supply of ancient culture and luxury accommodation, and is now well connected with more direct flights. Choices are aplenty for visitors, who can enjoy a weekend getaway in a thatched hilltop stilt house at the Mai Chau Ecolodge or at the new wellnessand culture-focussed Alma Courtyard Hoi An. The more adventurous may also hop on a motorbike for a journey past rice paddies and water buffaloes, crossing floating bridges. TREND WATCH Vietnamese food is considered one of the world s healthiest cuisines, known for its balance of good taste and nutrition corresponding to the five elements of the earth. Besides the inclusion of fresh vegetables and a wide variety of herbs and leaves, the balance of yin and yang in the composition of the recipes also plays a huge role. As such, famous master chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Chinn are on the list of Vietnamese food lovers, as is CNN food and travel junkie Anthony Bourdain. p Beautiful terraced rice field t Fresh spring rolls wrapped in rice paper ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

120 VIETNAM u Exploring the jungles and hidden caves There are now various cooking schools in the country where visitors can practise making Vietnamese cuisine, gaining tips and insights from both native and international chefs and going on street food tours as part of the learning process. DISCOVER THE UNFORGETTABLE Go on a trek to Son Doong Cave or Tu Lan Cave, which can be accessed in one day and features a boat trip to more caves near Phong Nha. The more adventurous can opt for two or more days of trekking, exploring the jungles and hidden caves in this magical place. A lot of the caves are connected by underground rivers in which one can swim from cave to cave, accompanied by qualified guides and porters. An overnight stay in the jungle or a charming local hotel completes the experience. p Swimming from cave to cave in underground rivers 118 ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/2015

121 URBAN RETREAT u Beautiful lanterns during Mid-autumn Festival VIETNAM The Zen House Homestay, in Hue, dubbed Cat Tuong Quan, embraces the simple life and offers a peaceful environment for unification of body and soul through meditation and the Buddhist way of life. Another urban retreat is the Cat Tuong Quan Zen House, a complex of four typical wooden garden houses called Nha Ruong nestled in the romantic pine tree hills of Thien An. This kind of architecture was previously only used for the royal palace and pagodas, so Cat Tuong Quan exudes solemnity and peacefulness. A two-day retreat will provide more insight into the typical architecture of a Hue garden house and its significance to a Zen house complex. Visitors can immerse in the peaceful setting of a Zen house and the beautiful Thien An pine tree hills. Daily guided meditation is available, as is the opportunity to learn more about Buddhist history, philosophy and approaches to food, including cooking vegetarian dishes. HOT DATE The Mid-autumn Festival, September 2015 This event celebrates the harvest, and is one of the most important celebrations of the year when families reunite and spend time together. During the festival, families traditionally eat mooncakes while watching the full moon, and the streets are filled with dancing children dressed like dragons. The best place to observe the festival is the ancient town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town switches off its street lights and closes to motorised traffic, only to be lit up again by flickering candlelight in multi-coloured lanterns, and filled with hordes of visitors. BECAUSE WE ALL CARE Huong La Orphanage is a home for severely disabled and displaced children run by a group of Catholic nuns in Bac Ninh province. The nuns receive no formal funding to take care of these residents and often struggle to accommodate the 31 residents basic needs, On Chinese New Year, Children s Day, Mid-autumn Festival and Christmas, the team from Diethelm Travel Vietnam will visit the orphanage. With assistance and donations from a variety of sources, the orphanage now provides adequate nutrition and better healthcare for its residents. The children look much healthier, stronger and happier than before. The nuns and residents are delighted and touched by the gifts and cash donated by the team. In the team s last visit, there was group phototaking, accompanied by the candid singing of two of the orphan girls holding toy microphones. It was such a happy moment that the team could not feel more inspired to sing along. The best place to observe the Mid-autumn Festival is the ancient town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town switches off its street lights, only to be lit up again by flickering candlelight in multi-coloured lanterns. DIETHELM TO YOU Vietnam is a truly fantastic destination, each region has its own charm and it is a true privilege to reside here. There are two places that really impress me. The first is Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Although tourism development is still very TORSTEN EDENS Managing Director, Diethelm Travel Vietnam sparse in this region, it has world-class wonders and over 300 karst caves within a lush green surrounding. Some caves require several days of hiking to get to, while others are easily accessed by boat from Phong Nha. This is a true paradise in Vietnam for visitors seeking an adventure. I also highly recommend Hanoi, the ancient capital of Vietnam, which is surrounded by villages selling handicraft items such as pottery and silk, among many others. Discover the contrasts in Hoan Kiem, with ladies selling seasonal fruits next to the latest designer labels and small local coffee houses. Vietnam combines some of the great wonders of the world with great fresh food. Come and explore this country with us. Please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss any of this information in greater detail. ASIAN TOURISM EXPERT GUIDE 2014/

122 LOCATIONS BHUTAN CHINA INDIA MYANMAR LAOS VIETNAM HONG KONG MACAU PHILIPPINES THAILAND CAMBODIA SRI LANKA MALDIVES MALAYSIA AY SINGAPORE BRUNEI DIETHELM TRAVEL LOCATIONS INDONESIA Diethelm Travel Bhutan Ugen Penjor Yarkay Complex, P.O. Box 107 Norzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan Tel (975-2) Fax (975-2) diethelmtravel.bt Diethelm Travel Cambodia Pierre Jungo No. 65, Street 240, P.O. Box 99, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tel (855-23) Fax (855-23) kh.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel China Julia Shi Room 1906, Unit 1, Building No. 2, Shiguangjunyuan 985# Beijing Road, Kunming , Yunnan Tel (86-871) Fax (86-871) cn.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Hong Kong Richard Willis Unit A-C, 12th Floor, 8 Hart Avenue Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel (852) Fax (852) hk.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Laos Michael Roehrig Ban Phaxay, Unit 10th Sisattanak District P.O. Box 2657, Vientiane, Laos Tel (856-21) Fax (856-21) la.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Malaysia Manfred Kurz Box #28, Wisma Selangor Dredging, 9th Floor South Block, 142-C, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel (60-3) Fax (60-3) my.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Maldives Harith Perera 4th Floor, Henvery Megma Sikka Goali Male, Maldives Tel (960) Fax (960) mv.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Myanmar Lilli Saxer 412, Merchant Street (Corner of 45th Street), Botathaung Township, Yangon, Myanmar Tel (95-1) Fax (95-1) mm.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Singapore Manfred Kurz 20 Kramat Lane United House # , Singapore Tel (65) Fax (65) my.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka Harith Perera Level 06, Hemas House 75, Braybrooke Place, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka Tel (94-11) Fax (94-11) lk.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Thailand Hans van den Born Kian Gwan II Bldg., 14/F 140/1 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel (66-2) Fax (66-2) th.diethelmtravel.com Diethelm Travel Vietnam Torsten Edens Suite 1701, HCO Bldg. 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hanoi, Vietnam Tel (84-4) Fax (84-4) vn.diethelmtravel.com

123 One Address Many Worlds. With over 3,600 hotels and resorts worldwide and 600 properties across Asia Pacific, you are always welcome wherever you go. Luxury to economy, business or leisure, there s one address to call home. Book your world at Sofitel So Bangkok - Thailand

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