South Asia – Regional Report
This regional report has been prepared as a contribution to the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism conducted by ECPAT International in collaboration with numerous partners. In 2014, 17.1 million international tourists visited South Asia, a region representing eight countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Additionally, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that most tourists visit destinations within their own region, and South Asia further shows a steady increase in domestic travellers.
With a variety of social fabrics, the current and forecasted exponential growth in tourism arrivals is not equal across the eight countries. Yet, globalisation is causing profound social and economic changes that challenge current social norms and values. As child protection measures in South Asia are relatively weak, the rapid regional changes bring with them some negative impacts of growth.