Thailand tops ASEAN tourism market, with 28 million-plus arrivals in 2023


Thailand beat other ASEAN countries in tourist numbers last year, welcoming more than 28 million arrivals, or 154% more than the previous year, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said.

Explaining the numbers, she said foreign tourists visiting the kingdom in 2023 had risen by 11.06 million to 28.09 million or 153.94% when compared to 2022.

In comparison, Vietnam – which is also a popular tourist destination among the 10 ASEAN members – saw 12.06 million visitors last year, marking a surge of 344.2% from 3.66 million a year earlier.

Singapore saw 12.37 million in 2023, up by 130% from 5.37 million in 2022. Cambodia recorded 5.45 million tourists last year, 139.5% more than 2.27 million a year earlier. This was followed by the Philippines, which saw the number of tourists rise by 105.38% to 5.45 million, up from 2.65 million a year earlier.

Brunei welcomed a total of 82,109 tourists last year, a jump of 345.61% from 18,426 a year earlier.

The minister said that on average, ASEAN countries saw an increase of 153% in tourist arrivals last year, which she attributed to the success of two promotional tourism campaigns launched jointly by the member states.

Thailand tops ASEAN tourism market, with 28 million-plus arrivals in 2023

Tourism ministers from the 10 member states met at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 in the Laotian capital of Vientiane last week and agreed to promote quality, responsible and sustainable tourism to improve the region’s competitiveness in the global market.

This, Sudawan said, was in line with the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan, which promotes sustainable and inclusive tourism among member countries. The plan outlines the vision for ASEAN tourism over the decade of 2016-2025: “By 2025, ASEAN will be a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse ASEAN experience, and will be committed to responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balanced tourism development, to contribute significantly to the socioeconomic well-being of ASEAN people.”

Sudawan said the meeting in Vientiane followed up on measures and activities introduced to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic fallout, under the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan. The meeting encouraged member countries to review and implement certain activities in line with the strategic plan to bring about rapid recovery of the tourism sector.

The next meeting of the ASEAN tourism ministers is scheduled to be held on January 25 next year in Malaysia under the theme of “Unity in Motion: Shaping ASEAN’s Tourism Tomorrow”.