Thailand Number One ASEAN Destination for International Tourist Arrivals
Vientiane, Lao PDR, January 27, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism ministers from the 10 ASEAN member states met at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and agreed to enhance the region’s global competitiveness by promoting high-quality, responsible, and sustainable tourism practices.
According to Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Thailand surpassed other ASEAN nations in tourist arrivals last year, welcoming over 28 million visitors, a remarkable increase of 154% compared to the previous year. She elaborated that the influx of foreign tourists to Thailand in 2023 surged by 11.06 million to reach 28.09 million, marking a 153.94% rise from 2022.
In contrast, Vietnam, another popular tourist destination among ASEAN members, experienced a significant increase in tourist numbers, with 12.06 million visitors in 2023, reflecting a 344.2% surge from the previous year’s 3.66 million. Singapore recorded 12.37 million visitors in 2023, marking a 130% rise from 5.37 million in 2022. Cambodia and the Philippines also saw substantial growth, with tourist arrivals increasing by 139.5% and 105.38% respectively compared to the previous year. Brunei welcomed 82,109 tourists in 2023, a remarkable jump of 345.61% from 18,426 in the preceding year.
During her presentation, Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), highlighted the significance of the ASEAN Tourism Forum as a pivotal platform for promoting ASEAN tourism. She emphasized the various components of the event, including meetings of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, a tourism conference, national tourism organization media briefings, and the TRAVEX trade show, in promoting ASEAN as a unique tourism destination globally.
Mr. Nithee Seeprae, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, outlined TAT’s strategy to reinforce Thailand’s image as a sustainable and responsible tourism destination. He emphasized efforts to enhance sustainability standards and leverage Thai cultural assets to offer enriching travel experiences.
The substantial increase in tourist arrivals across ASEAN countries in 2023 was attributed to the success of joint promotional campaigns by member states. The meeting also reviewed progress on ASEAN’s tourism recovery plan post-Covid-19, noting that 60% of the actions outlined in the ASEAN tourism strategic plan for 2016 to 2025 had been implemented or were in progress.
The ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan underscores the commitment to sustainable and inclusive tourism development among member countries, aiming for ASEAN to become a quality tourism destination offering diverse experiences by 2025. The meeting in Vientiane focused on measures to accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector, emphasizing cooperation among member states.
Looking ahead, the next ASEAN Tourism Forum is scheduled for January 25 in Johor, Malaysia under the theme “Unity in Motion: Shaping ASEAN’s Tourism Tomorrow.” This gathering will continue to steer the trajectory of ASEAN’s tourism industry towards robust, responsible, and sustainable growth.