Tourism in Asia

Largest tourist markets in Asia

Tourism in Japan attracted 8.3 million foreign visitors in 2008, slightly more than Singapore and Ireland. Japan has 16 World Heritage Sites, including Himeji Castle and Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Kyoto receives over 30 million tourists annually. Foreigners also visit Tokyo and Nara, Mount Fuji, ski resorts such as Niseko in Hokkaido, Okinawa, ride the shinkansen and take advantage of Japan’s hotel and hotspring network.

Tourism in China is expanding at a high rate. China is the third most visited country in the world. The number of overseas tourists was 55.98 million in 2010. Foreign exchange income was 45.8 billion U.S. dollars, the world’s fourth largest in 2010. The number of domestic tourist visits totaled 1.61 billion, with a total income of 777.1 billion yuan. According to the WTO, in 2020, China will become the largest tourist country and among the largest for overseas travel. In terms of total outbound travel spending, China is expected to be the fastest growing in the world from 2006 to 2015, jumping into the number two slot for total travel spending by 2015. China’s tourism revenue reached $185 billion in 2009.

Tourism in India is a large industry. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated $121 billion or 6.4% of the nation’s GDP in 2011. It was responsible for 39,3 million jobs, 7.9% of its total employment. The GDP of the tourism sector has expanded 229% between 1990 and 2011. The sector is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 7,7% in the next decade. In a 2011 forecast the World Travel and Tourism Council predicted the annual growth to be 8,8% between 2011 and 2021. This gave India the fifth rank among countries with the fastest growing tourism industry. India has a large medical tourism sector which is expected to grow at an estimated rate of 30% annually.

Tourism in South Korea refers to the tourist industry in the Republic of Korea. In 2007, 6.4 million foreign tourists visited South Korea, making it the 36th most visited country in the world, and this number is expected to exceed 8.5 million in 2010. Most non-Korean tourists come from Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The recent popularity of popular culture in these countries has increased tourist arrivals. Seoul is the principal tourist destination for visitors; popular tourist destinations outside of Seoul include Seorak-san national park, the historic city of Gyeongju and semi-tropical Jeju Island. Traveling to North Korea is not normally possible without a special permission, but in recent years organized group tours have allowed groups of South Korean citizens to visit Mount Kumgang.

Tourism in Vietnam is a large component of the Vietnamese economy. Tourist arrivals in Vietnam has continue to rise in recent years. In 2008, Vietnam received 4.218 million international passengers, in 2009 the number was 3.8 million, down 11%. In 2012, Vietnam receives 6.84 million tourists. This was a 13% increase from 2011 figure of 6 million international visitors, which was itself a rise of 2 million visitors relative to 2010 arrivals.