Travel Awards

Asia’s Friendliest Country

We reveal the winner and shortlist for friendliest country in the Service category, as chosen in the 2018 Marco Polo Club Members' Choice Awards by Cathay Pacific's most frequent flyers.

Service: Friendliest Country

Winner: Japan

Macro Polo Club Members Choice Awards, Friendliest country
Steven Roe

There’s a word in Japanese, omotenashi, which is used by locals to describe their unique approach to hospitality. It combines the idea of wholeheartedly welcoming one’s guests and selflessly offering the best service possible. The concept went viral after it was introduced in a speech by Christel Takigawa in 2013 to (successfully) pitch to the 2020 International Olympic Committee, and it seems the meaning has been received loud and clear by Marco Polo Club members, with 57 per cent voting for Japan as the friendliest country in Asia.

Service: Friendliest Country Shortlist


As a nation rooted in nomadic culture, extending hospitality to strangers is an integral part of Mongolian heritage. Visitors should expect to be wooed with a warm welcome, often in the form of large amounts of food and drink.

The Philippines

Regularly found singing, smiling and sharing food, Filipino people are renowned for their warm, welcoming hospitality.

Sri Lanka

From being warmly greeted by locals at every turn, to enticing curries and tropical beaches,  Sri Lanka is a country that opens its arms wide to travellers.


Thai hospitality is renowned worldwide, from the gracious, friendly people to the five-star service, moreish massages and unbeatable cuisine.


If you can get past the notorious road chaos, visitors to Vietnam are repeatedly spellbound by the local culture, the hospitality of its people and its bowls of pho and sublim coffee.

Cathay Travell Book


Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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