Visa International Asia Pacific (Visa) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have conducted the ‘Asia Travel Intentions Survey 2007". In this survey, some 52% of respondents said they were considering Asia as their next travel destination. This is a 9% increase on the previous year and an 18% increase over 2005. For the first time, India was included in the survey. There were 4.4 million visitors to India and 8.3 million outbound Indian travelers in 2006.
Some two-thirds of those surveyed had already visited Asia and 47% of them had been to Thailand. Even though there was civil unrest in Thailand in the weeks before the survey, the country is still an important destination on travelers" holiday lists, followed by Japan and China. Thailand has a reputation as a relaxing place with friendly people, where you can enjoy the local culture and the natural beauty. On the other hand, Indonesia has a lower ranking as tourists are concerned about the security situation in the country.
A big number of respondents (56%) believed that Indonesia was still severely affected by the December 2004 Tsunami, while 50% felt that the country might be subject to terrorist attacks. Another concern of travelers is bird flu. The main destination identified as being affected by bird flu is China (58%), followed by Vietnam (37%), Thailand (35%) and Indonesia (34%).
The survey has also shown that tourists these days want to travel in an environmentally-friendly and culturally-sensitive way. Tourists say that they would prefer to choose tourism products that showed concern about the impact tourism had on local cultures and also protected the natural environment. The respondents also said that they preferred credit or debit cards ahead of cash and travelers cheques.