Lonely Planet Writer

Myanmar and Japan are attracting more European travellers, says study

Communities in Myanmar and Japan are seeing a large increase in visitors from Europe, according to a study by Agoda, an accommodation booking site.

Hpa An, Myanmar.
Hpa An, Myanmar. Image by Agoda

As part of its Travel Smart study, the company looked at what Asian destinations are seeing the fastest growth in visitors from Europe based on the highest growth in hotel bookings over the last 12 months. Myanmar and Japan both saw three of their cities hit the top ten. In Myanmar, people booking hotels in Mawlamyine, Mon State, nearly doubled from 2014, according to Agoda, while the town of Hpa-an in Kayin State saw bookings from Europe increase by 85%.

Beautiful waterfall on the island Siquijor, Philippines.
Beautiful waterfall on the island Siquijor, Philippines. Image by Jos Pannekoek

“Some amazing destinations in Myanmar are slowly opening up thanks to improving infrastructure. The traditional tourist loop, which used to include just Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan, is expanding,” said Errol Cooke, vice president, partner services of Agoda, in a statement.

Kumano Kodo at Daimon-zaka, a sacred trail designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in Nachi, Wakayama, Japan.
Kumano Kodo at Daimon-zaka, a sacred trail designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in Nachi, Wakayama, Japan. Image by Sean Pavone

The spot that is growing the most in Asia is Siquijor Island, Philippines, with a 135% increase in bookings. That is followed by Wakayama, Japan with an increase of 111%. The other Japanese communities that saw an increase were Takayama – at a 61% increase – and Nara – at 57%.

Kyaik Tan Lan Pagoda, the hill top temple in Mawlamyine, Mon State, Myanmar (Burma), Asia.
Kyaik Tan Lan Pagoda, the hill top temple in Mawlamyine, Mon State, Myanmar (Burma), Asia. Image by Matthew Williams-Ellis

The report notes that beaches and other destinations with beautiful nature in Asia are growing in popularity with Europeans, such as Koh Rong, an island in Cambodia with white sand beaches, and Bromo in Indonesia, which shares it name with an active volcano.