The Asian travel industry has been rocked as of late by a series of events, fears and rumors. These events and possibilities have really hurt the Asian tourism industry and this will probably remain the case for quite a while. In general, there are two major issues at hand. First, there are the areas that are in turmoil and/or war. These areas include Hong Kong, Russia/Ukraine and others. The other main issue, and it is partially related to the first, are the issues of the airlines in the Asia area making some rather noticeable blunders. Malaysia is easily the best example of this as they have had two planes full of passengers killed within the last year or two. Indeed, one of the airplanes veered off course and is rumored to be somewhere in the oceans west of Australia. The other plane flew over Ukraine during an active conflict and was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. While those are the more overt and obvious issues, there are others that bear mentioning and they shall be in this report.
Many people make reference to the "Third World" and the "First World." However, while many stipulate that the Soviet Union was the Second World, much of Asia could be classified in that way as well. Asian countries are certainly not as far behind as the developing parts of Africa, to be sure. However, the infrastructure, social safety nets and transportation frameworks in Asia are often and usually inferior to that of other areas of the world like the United States, Canada, Australia or western Europe. While most airlines and travel vendors in the Asia arena are quite good at their job and deliver services on par with First World countries, there is still at least a perception that the Asia travel networks are inferior and that a lot of the travel to the Asia area is either extremely ill-advise or is for illegal or unethical behavior. An example of illegal behavior would be the child (and adult) sex trade in Thailand.
In terms of being a travel destination, the Asia Pacific region very much possesses a lot of both good and bad. Some of those good and bad things are within their immediate control and others are not. In a day where Ebola is ravaging western Africa, areas like Asia that are already facing challenges endemic and specific to them now have to worry about the worsening of their overall situation by problems and diseases that are spread from other parts of the world. Even the United States has had a couple of case of Ebola, although the rareness of that disease spreading easily has kept the outbreak fairly small as compared to what it would be if it were truly airborne like influenza or the cold.
The weather is a factor as well as constant amounts of humidity and high temperatures can transform people into walking and talking petri dishes. However, Asia has many things they could and should do better. When breakouts like Ebola and SARS occur, they should presented a united front even with the developed world. When it comes to areas that are engaged in warfare, planes should not be flying right over them just because it happens to be the most direct route and/or because it is not thought that anything bad will happen to the plane. The worst areas of the world in terms of strife and warfare are mostly in Africa and the Middle East. However, Asia is easily in third place in terms of continental regions as the Americas and Europe are docile by comparison in terms of quality control, disease spread and infrastructure quality. However, this is not surprising given the history over the years in Asia and the fact that India and China alone make up about a third of the world's population. Asia and its member countries need to take the steps and engage in the patterns possible to become on par with the standards and expectations related to keeping air travel consistent and smooth, containing disease outbreaks when they occur and the keeping in mind that many cultures around the world commonly and consistently act and think differently than the home cultures of the countries doing the perceiving.
Scholarly literature is pervasively filled with references and examples of what has been discussed thus far. Indeed, the author of this report only focused on scholarly and peer-reviewed works of 2014 only and the author found plenty of material to review and assess. The current news story that is dominating the world stage is that of Ebola. Indeed, in the light of Asia's history when it comes to disease outbreaks (e.g. SARS, etc.), they have a much larger proverbial microscope foisted on them. Indeed, even highly developed countries like the United States are having issues with the spread of Ebola ("The Observatory," 2014). Further, a lot of the people that travel to Asia are not doing so for tourism-related reason. Indeed, many other people such as business travelers, religious missionaries and aid workers travel into and out of areas with active outbreaks of disease (Kupper et al., 2014). As inferred earlier, the humidity and heat that is common throughout Asia is an aggravating factor that the nation states of Asia cannot control even if they wanted to. Indeed, norovirus and other commonly spread diseases that are not nearly as vaccinated for or otherwise controlled are quite common in the Asia theater as the heat and humidity are extremely conducive towards the diseases persisting and spreading (Gormley, Templeton, Kelly & Hardie, 2014).
Some travelers that going to the continent of Asia, even for official business, need to be mindful of the fact that some countries like Greece are rather strapped for cash and resources due to regional or national economic crises. Indeed, Greece's economy came very close to imploding as they simply ran out of money and they defaulted on their debts. In any country where the international travel sector is controlled or at least heavily regulated by the state, this can lead to cost-cutting and corner cutting that allows for disease to move along undetected. This is not limited to tourists but it certainly includes them to a large degree (Pavil, et al., 2014). While Ebola is not nearly as contagious and nasty as other diseases, some diseases that are quite insidious like cholera and malaria are still around in some areas of the world ("Cholera, 2013," 2014). The spread of diseases from country to country can also contribute to the spread of disease-resistant strains of what can be lethal disorders (Barlow et al., 2014). Even something as seemingly minor as a skin rash can spread around (Creamer, 2014).
Also as noted before, there are some cultural shifts and differences that may be off-putting and abnormal to Asians as it relates to the people that travel into the area. For example, premarital sex is verboten in many countries around the world. This used to be the case even in the United States but there has been a massive shift over recent decades. To be fair, other populous countries (including some in Asia) that include China, India, Japan, Brazil and Indonesia are seeing the same trend. However, many countries of Asia are quite politically and/or religiously conservative. As such, people that are unmarried yet are obviously behaving as married couples may raise the attention of or even actively offend those in Asia that are not of the same persuasion or motivations. Regardless, no one person or country has the right or privilege to regulate and corral people based on beliefs and behaviors that are usually non-hurtful and deadly and Asia should be careful not to become a lesser version of the Middle East when it comes to shunning (or even arresting) people that engage in behavior that is viewed by the locals to be immoral or uncouth (Kantha, 2014).
Next, there is the concern of global terrorism and warfare. This threat takes on several forms. As noted before, Malaysia has lost two planes and their crew/passengers. One plane went missing while another was shot down. The idea that a plane of any sort would intentionally and knowingly fly over the Ukraine given the spats that are going on between the former Soviet bloc country and the current form of its former parent country (Russia) is a bit head-scratching. Indeed, wars of recent years have gotten very complex and potentially messy as not all of the people involved (if any) are members of nation states. Indeed, many of the people fighting on the ground within the construct of the Russia/Ukraine crisis are just rebel forces that are simply vying or one side of the fight or the other. It is very similar to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel where a lot of the fighting peoples are vigilantes or are simply the member of a non-state-based militant group rather than being the member of an army.…