The world is coming to Asia, or so it seems. The increase in tourist traffic to Asia is apparent by the fact that two of the world's ten most visited countries are Asian. Another stunning fact is that the world's most visited city is also Asian - Bangkok. Here's a list of preferred Asian countries that the international traveler is making a beeline for.
10. Japan - approximately 6,200,000 tourists a year. Surprisingly, Japan is number 10 on the countdown. This, despite the fact that Tokyo is a world-class city, and Japan as a whole is jam-packed with historical and cultural jewels that would take a Japan travel guide days to go through. Tokyo airport being one of the busiest in world can be explained away by the sheer number of travelers using it as a transit point while flying across the world. The only other explanation seems to be the fact that it is an island, thus remote, and approachable by air only.
9. India - approximately 6,300,000 tourists a year. India - the East. A staggering number of travelers fly into India's various metros, only to scatter around the country's countless historical, cultural and religious destinations. The big draws are the capital city of Delhi with a side visit to Agra for the Taj Mahal, the beaches of Goa and the backwaters of Kerala, Jaipur for it colorful and rich heritage. India tour guides also point a large number of tourists to pilgrimage cities like Varanasi and Amritsar.
8. Indonesia - approximately 7,700,000 tourists a year. The beautiful and immensely popular island of Bali can be held responsible for a majority of this figure landing on the country's shores. People from the world over come here for the long stretches of decadent beaches, beautiful Hindu temples and resorts famous for luxurious hospitality. Not in any way undermining the beauty and cultural importance of the rest of the archipelago, Jakarta, the capital city is also a tourist magnet. A dedicated Indonesia travel guide will probably take you to a number of other breathtaking islands famous for water sports, underwater activities, doses of ancient culture and nature tours.
7. South Korea - approximately 9,800,000 tourists a year. A whopping 10 million a year is quite a feat for a country that's known mostly by its capital city, Seoul. Seoul is responsible for the lion's share of this figure, but there's more to South Korea that this sparkling metropolis. A good number of travelers head to Busan and Jeju Island after they're done with Seoul.
6. Singapore - approximately 10,400,000 tourists a year. Singapore has worked hard at increasing its appeal as a tourist destination, adding two mega casinos and theme parks amongst other unique and novel attractions. It's proximity to the more visited Malaysia and picturesque Indonesia has definitely helped.
5. Macau - approximately 13,000,000 a year. The Vegas of the East, Macau is home to flashy casinos, which have made it the world's leading gambling centre. It does help that Macau allows visa free entry to citizens of over 60 countries!
4. Thailand - approximately 19,300,000 tourists a year. Thailand's capital city of Bangkok commands 16 million of the 19 million tourists that visit the country, making it the most visited city in the world. Thailand's secret lies in it's pristine beaches, pocket friendly tabs and warm hospitality.
3. Hong Kong - approximately 22,400,000 tourists a year. Hong Kong is near the top of the list because of a technicality - day trippers from Mainland China hop across to shop at its glitzy malls, taking advantage of Hong Kong's status as a free port. Exclude these hordes and you still have 9 million genuine tourists knocking on Hong Kong's doors - that's quite a feat for a tiny city-state.
2. Malaysia - approximately 24,800,000 tourists a year. Sipadan, Tioman, Langkawi; Malaysia offers some of the best beach destinations possible. Add to this mix world class shopping in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and you've got yourself nearly 25 million visitors a year!
1. China - approximately 57,600,000 tourists a year. Top of the list with more than double the footfall of number 2. China has only just started opening up to international visitors. And the world is flocking to its shores in hordes - Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army; all only the tip of the iceberg. China's age old history of ancient culture and traditions is a magnet for foreigners looking for an exotic experience of the mystical east.