Millennials! First they spoiled your summer holiday with their incessant selfie taking, then they disrupted the travel industry as we knew it. They’ve ripped apart package tours ( RIP Thomas Cook ), eschew hotel stays for “authentic experiences” and swap aeroplanes for overland transport in an effort to minimise their carbon footprints and make everyone else feel guilty about flying. Now, millennials and their even-more enlightened zoomer peers are coming for the “sanctity” that is sex tourism. According to Wikipedia, sex tourism is “travel to a different locale for the sake of sexual activity, particularly with prostitutes”. In Asia, the industry is synonymous with destinations such as Pattaya, in Thailand , and the Philippines’ Angeles City – places where unpleasant and extremely unsexy issues such as human trafficking, violence against women and sexually transmitted diseases are commonplace. However, young adventurers are bringing sex-related travel into the 21st century and remaking it as a decidedly more inclusive and ethically sound industry. How do they hope to achieve this? By eliminating payment for sex, for a start, and “finding more ethical ways to travel while horny than soliciting sex workers”, according to Vice magazine. Among the solutions are a growing number of adult-only, sex-positive resorts that provide a safe, consensual space in which to embrace all expressions of gender, orientation and relationship style. They range from “clothing optional” enclaves to properties that boast “playrooms” in which guests can, presumably, make more than friends. Unfortunately, none of those featured on a recent list of luxurious sex-positive resorts compiled by popular youth culture platform Uproxx were in Asia, instead being grouped in Mexico and the Caribbean. Perhaps that is because sex-related travel in our region has a significantly more sordid association, one that is largely equated with prostitution, illicit affairs and euphemistically named, rent-by-the-hour “ love hotels ”. It also plays a complicated role in national economies. Global black market monitor Havocscope estimates that Thailand’s prostitution industry generates US$6.4 billion a year, placing it behind regional neighbours China (US$73 billion), Japan (US$24 billion), South Korea (US$12 billion) and India (US$8.4 billion), but ahead of the Philippines (US$6 billion). Of course, not all prostitution is sex tourism – and not all sex tourism is prostitution – but they do become entangled, like sweaty limbs on a deeply stained bedsheet. For its part, Thailand has paid lip service to cleaning up its reputation as a sordid sex hub, reportedly eliminating prostitution from Pattaya’s “sexiest street ” and reinventing it as a place “for upscale travellers”. Sadly, though, it will take more than empty words to rid the Southeast Asian nation of an industry that is so deeply entwined in its identity. Could a new generation of sex-positive travellers seeking safe and consensual experiences in place of prostitution be the ones to force the change? Or will Asia be denied the millennials’ increasing spending power as they seek pleasure in places that align better with their principles? Only time will tell. Boracay back on top of Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s best islands list Back in 2017, the Philippine island of Boracay was on top of the world, or, rather, it occupied the primo position on Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s list of the best islands on the planet. At least until the following year, when President Rodrigo Duterte called it a “ cesspool ”, on account of rampant overdevelopment and dangerous levels of sewage in the seawater, and enforced a six-month closure to enable the destination to clean up its act. Now, less than 12 months since Boracay reopened to the public, it is back on top after readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted it the best island in Asia, ahead of Cebu, Visayan and Palawan, also in the Philippines; Penang, Malaysia; and Bali, Indonesia. The magazine’s blurb relating to Boracay does refer to its “rehabilitation”, admitting “it’s become too touristed”, but that hasn’t seemed to affect its mass appeal. Cafes along Hanoi’s Instagram-famous train street shut down More than 36,000 images and videos exist on Instagram with the geotag “Train Street, Hanoi”, making the narrow Old Quarter thoroughfare, which is bisected by a railway, one of the most documented destinations in the Vietnamese capital . However, after tourists thronged the tracks and forced a locomotive to make an emergency stop on October 6, according to an article by Indonesian online news site Tempo, authorities ordered all of the establishments that had popped up to cater to the trackside tourist trade to close by October 12. “Though the railway cafes attract tourists, they are, in fact, violating some regulations,” Ha Van Sieu, vice-chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, told reporters at a press briefing. Destinations Known suspects that it will take more than a few shuttered shops to keep the social-media set at bay.