TPO Newsletter No.132 | 2016-01-29
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In this issue :
  • 1. Issuance of TPO??s official magazine, Tourism Scope (35th Ed.)
  • 2. Enjoying live jazz by the beach at the 12th Penang Island Jazz Festival
  • 3. Takeo, to host the World's Best Hiryugama Lantern Festival
  • 4. The 3rd Guangdong Overseas Property & Investment Immigration Education
        Expo 2016
  • 5. Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix
  • 6. 13.2 million foreign tourists visited Korea in 2015
  • 7. Shimonoseki??s Tsunoshima Bridge, selected as the most popular bridge in Japan
  • 8. Kaohsiung, a filming location for the Korean drama, ??The Queen??s Flower??
Member & Industry News

1. Issuance of TPO??s official magazine, Tourism Scope (35th Ed.)

Issuance of TPO City Members Destination Directory, providing travel
information on TPO member cities at a glance

The Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities issued the official tourism magazine, Tourism Scope (35th Edition), and TPO City Members Destination Directory.

TPO City Members Destination Directory, compiled as a special part of the latest edition of Tourism Scope, provides general information on 77 TPO member cities in 10 countries as well as their major tourist attractions and tourism resources in English. The directory has been distributed to the member cities along with the magazine, and will be used for promotional purposes at the TPO Travel Trade (TTT), tourism promotion and presentation sessions and other events. 

The Special Theme section of the 35th edition of Tourism Scope features Taichung, one of the three major cities of Taiwan, under the title “Where have you been in Taichung?”. City Inside sheds light on Kagoshima, Japan, while Focus On brings new light upon Changwon, Korea. As for Concept Travel, it introduces the top ice rinks located in 6 cities across Asia.

Of particular note, TPO People features an interview with Dato’ Zamri Bin Man, the Mayor of Ipoh, Malaysia, which hosted the 27th TPO Executive Committee Meeting. He introduced major tourist sites and events of Ipoh, touched upon the latest trends in the tourism industry, and presented the future vision of the city. Mayor Dato’ Zamri Bin Man also expressed his plans to invite the TPO members for Visit Perak 2017, which is to be organized by the Perak state government, in hopes that it will become an impetus for the member cities to engage in close collaboration in the tourism sector.  

The magazine also included TPO News and Monthly Event Calendars for the TPO member cities.

The newsletter is printed in English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. You can subscribe to the newsletter via TPO’s official website ( or e-mail (

2. Enjoying live jazz by the beach at the 12th Penang Island Jazz Festival

The 12th Penang Island Jazz Festival was held for 3 days from December 3 to 6 with great success.

The festival has been chosen as one of the top 5 jazz festivals in Southeast Asia by Go ASEAN. The recent festival was held under the subtitle, “Jazz by the Beach,” at Batu Ferringhi, a beach situated on the northern shore of Penang Island.

Penang, situated in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, is known as the “Pearl of the East” and the “Emerald of the Indian Ocean,” attesting to its splendid scenery and natural environment. As a place where Eastern and Western cultures merged together, it hosts diverse cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

Batu Ferringhi, located about a 30-min drive away from George Town, Penang, became the venue for acoustic performances, workshops and Penang Island Music Forum during the festival period, and attracted numerous domestic and foreign musicians. The Jazz Gallery and a photography exhibition shedding light on the music heritage of Penang were also part of the festival program.

In addition to the main events, a wide range of small-scale concerts were held during the festival, allowing visitors to communicate with musicians and enjoy dynamic jazz performances by the beach.

3. Takeo, to host the World's Best Hiryugama Lantern Festival

Takeo, the famous “hot spring” city located in Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, will be hosting the World’s Best Hiryugama Lantern Festival at Hiryugama, the world’s largest ascending kiln, on February 13 and 14.

During the festival period, some 30,000 LED lamps and 5,000 ceramic lanterns will create a fantastic sea of lights in time for Valentine’s Day. The annual festival, which attracts about 30,000 tourists on average every year, has become one of the most iconic festivals of Takeo, a city that’s famous for hot springs and pottery culture.

There will be a variety of special events, programs and products in store for visitors: a kiln café that will offer a limited number of special cakes, experience programs involving baking pizza in a kiln and making mini ceramic lanterns, traditional local performances, hot spring experience and so much more. Hiryugama is a 23m-long ascending kiln where up to 120,000 pottery ware can be fired simultaneously.

There will be a free shuttle bus service operating from JR Takeo-Onsen Station, and the Saga Kurukuru Bus offers travel routes that take visitors to not only Takeo, but also other major tourist attractions in the prefecture including Ureshino.

Meanwhile, the municipal government of Takeo has been dedicating its efforts to ensure convenience for tourists visiting during the festival period, with plans to operate a free shuttle bus service between Takeo-Onsen Station and Hiryugama.

4. The 3rd Guangdong Overseas Property & Investment Immigration Education Expo 2016

The Guangdong Overseas Property & Investment Immigration Education Expo is set to be held at the China Import and Export Fair (Pazhou) Complex in Guangzhou for a 3-day period from February 25 to 27, 2016. The expo has been launched in response to the growing number of overseas property investors, investment emigrants and international students, and the programs are divided into four themes: overseas property investment, emigration, studying abroad, and overseas investment.

Participants in the 3-day expo include various enterprises and organizations in the real estate, immigration and overseas education sectors from around 50 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. In conjunction with such promotional activities, real estate business and immigration information services will be provided at the exhibition booths.

The Huanan region plays an important role in overseas investment, emigration and overseas education, and the upcoming expo, which is the largest of its kind held using various resources, will allow the visitors to obtain all the information they need to fulfill their purposes.

5. Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix

Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix (F1 Malaysia GP) 2016 will be held at the state-of-the-art Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur this coming March.

Starting a month before the international motor sports event, diverse events will be held at the circuit and in Kuala Lumpur in relation to shopping, automobiles, music and fashion. The event will be held during the major sales period of world-renowned brands, allowing tourists visiting the area to purchase a variety of goods at discounted prices.

The Malaysia Grand Prix was launched in 1999 by the then-Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, as part of the Vision 2020 Plan formulated to further advance Malaysia. After successfully winning the bid to host F1 Grand Prix through the joint efforts by the government and enterprises, the month of April, which had been an off-season for travels to Malaysia, turned into a peak season. Also, the international event has helped boost the shopping and automotive industries. For these reasons, Sepang International Circuit, the venue for F1 Malaysia Grand Prix, is called the “Flower of Malaysia.”

6. 13.2 million foreign tourists visited Korea in 2015

A statistical report revealed that 13.24 million foreign tourists paid a visit to Korea last year. This is a significant achievement, considering the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) crisis that had a devastating effect on Korea’s tourism sector last June.

The number of foreign visitors to Korea, which had continually been on the rise, plummeted during and after the MERS crisis in June, and the number of foreign tourists in June and July was half of the monthly average reported previously. However, an increase (by 5%) was reported in October for the first time since the MERS outbreak, and 3.65 million tourists (3.8% increase) visited Korea from then until December.

It’s been reported that 13.2% more Chinese tourists (1.63 million) visited Korea between October and December, with the increased operation of cruise ships and growing number of free independent travelers (FITs). This reaffirmed the normalization of the tourism sector of Korea.

The total number of foreign visitors to Korea decreased by 6.8% compared to the previous year, but the recovery from the plunge was made earlier than expected, and this is attributable to the immediate countermeasures implemented by the government and the efforts made by the domestic travel industry.

This year, the Korean government plans to initiate campaigns, each tailored to the respective country, with the aim of boosting travels to Korea in time for the Visit Korea Year 2016. They have also announced that they will be conducting diverse events and services such as offering special travel products to FITs and providing discount information for travelers.

7. Shimonoseki??s Tsunoshima Bridge, selected
as the most popular bridge in Japan

It’s been reported that there are more than 700,000 bridges constructed for motor traffic in Japan. These bridges no longer just serve their primary infrastructural function of providing convenience to travelers and the locals, as they have turned into tourist attractions.

Trip Advisor, a traveler review site, released a list of top 30 bridges in Japan based on the reviews submitted to its local subsidiary. The list includes bridges for motor traffic and trains as well as the relatively new bridges built with the latest civil engineering technology and old wooden bridges with a long history found across the country.

Tsunoshima Bridge, regarded as the symbol of Shimonoseki, topped the list at No. 1. The 1.7km-long bridge, connecting Tsunoshima Island and Shimonoseki, was built in 2000. The arrow-shaped bridge, which blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape and the emerald sea, was also recognized for its design excellence, being honored with the Civil Engineering Design Prize from the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE). It has also been the backdrop of countless automobile commercials, and quickly became a major travel destination in Shimonoseki.

The announcement of the rankings is expected to attract even more tourists to Shimonoseki, which is famous for whales and blowfish.

8. Kaohsiung, a filming location for the Korean drama,
??The Queen??s Flower??

After the airing of the episode of the Korean drama, “The Queen’s Flower,” shot in Taiwan, “Kaohsiung” became the most popular search term online. This was the first time that a Korean drama was shot in Taiwan, and it presented the beautiful landscape of the area around the Port of Kaohsiung including the Tuntex Sky Tower (a.k.a. the 85 Building), pond, Dragon Tiger Pagodas, Siaogang International Airport and the Love River (Ai He).

The episode shows Lee Sung-kyung, one of the lead actresses, putting on a traditional Taiwanese costume and going to the night market. Since the drama was aired, Kaohsiung has quickly become a popular travel destination for Korean tourists.

“Thanks to the Korean drama, ‘The Queen’s Flower,’ more free independent travelers have been visiting Kaoshiung, and the use of tourism resources including accommodations has doubled,” said Li Shuzhi of the Tourism Bureau of Kaohsiung.

The filming of a Korean drama in Kaohsiung has helped promote the city among potential travelers, and there has been a growing number of Korean tourists visiting the area.

Member Cities’ Tourism Promotion through TPO E-Newsletter

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