Thailand and Indonesia confirm their presence at the event and bring their stunning island and lake landscapes, their temples, and their rich gastronomic culture to the Asian space
Despite being far from the American continents, Asia has conquered the preference of passports carried by travellers who are looking for natural beauty, gastronomic attractions and, of course, rich centuries-old and religious history. WTM Latin America 2019, which is taking place between 2 and 4 April at Expo Center Norte in Sao Paulo, has received confirmation that both Thailand and Indonesia will be at this edition: they are returning to the pavilions to show off the delights of these distant lands that are becoming increasingly accessible to the world.
The sacred elephant
Located in southwest Asia, with hundreds of islands scattered throughout the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, Thailand, which has been symbolized by an elephant since its beginnings, has attracted the world’s attention because of its various tourist options and access to it, which has become easier for those who decide to dive into its various crystalline blue tones. Arrival is normally via Thailand’s vibrant capital, Bangkok.
Palaces, beaches with their very rich landscapes and white sand, temples and festivals are just some of the attractions awaiting tourists. The cuisine is another strong point of the region. The combination of spices provides a heady mixture of flavours and aromas: sweet, spicy, bitter and salty can all be found in a single dish. Curry, coconut milk, and peanuts are just some of the complements. Those who are not afraid of risking one of their five senses and abusing their palates can try the som tam (papaya salad), which usually comes as an accompaniment to main courses. Pad thai is one of the most famous dishes in the country and can be found everywhere, from the street stalls to the most prestigious restaurants – its secret is noodles sautéed with soy sauce, a meat of some sort, prawns, tofu or vegetables.
Between January and July 2018, Thailand received no fewer than 22,657,730 tourists from around the world, an increase of 11% over the same period in the previous year, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Recent data from the UN World Tourism Organization, published by HowMuch, disclosed at the end of the year that travellers spend more money in Thailand than anywhere else in Asia. Last year, Thailand earned US$ 57 billion in international tourism revenue, nearly double Macao (US$ 36 billion), Japan (US$ 34 billion), Hong Kong (US$ 33 billion) and China (US$ 33 billion). Globally, the only countries that exceed Thailand in terms of tourism dollars are France (US$ 61 billion), Spain (US$ 68 billion) and the United States, which takes the gold medal with US$ 211 billion.
The diversity of the planet’s largest archipelago
Those who disembark a little further south land on mysterious Indonesia. Located between Southeast Asia and Oceania, the region has almost 18,000 islands, which makes it the world’s largest archipelago. The setting for films and books, the region has become a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the feeling of being “on the big screen”. Among one of the classics is the film, “Eat, Pray, Love”, based on the American bestseller written by Elizabeth Gilbert and starring Julia Roberts.
Bali, the most famous island with travellers, has become a centre for national and international conferences. Other islands that are highlights for tourism are Western New Guinea, Sulawesi, Borneo, Sumatra and Java. Among the most important cities are Bandung, Medan, Surabaya, Makassar and Pandag. But it is among the country’s temples and rice fields that tourists discover a mixture of religions, including Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism, each with their own characteristics, many defending values that include respect for gods, human beings and even gastronomy, which easily offers options for vegetarians and vegans.
According to Trending Economics, tourist arrivals in Indonesia are increasing by 5.22% a year. In January 2019 this number was 1.16 million, which was higher than the 1.1 million in the same month in 2018). Bali, the main destination, received 452,000 tourists in January, followed by Jakarta (208,000) and Batam (131,000). Indonesia welcomed an average of 832831.29 tourists between 2011 and 2018, and reached an all-time high of 1536489 in July 2018. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is estimated that 30,000 Brazilian tourists visit the country every year.
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