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Thailand Overtakes M’sia as ASEAN Nation With Most Global Tourists Thanks to M’sians Visiting the Country


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Source: Travelweekly & Bloomberg & Trip.com

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Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol has announced that the country recorded the highest number of international tourists last year among ASEAN countries with 28.09 million visitors.

She added that compared to 2022, the country saw an additional 11.06 million global tourists or a 153.94% increase.



Revealing 2023’s ASEAN tourism statistics at the 27th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers at Vieantiane, Lao PDR on Thursday (25 January), Sudawan also revealed that Vietnam saw an increase of 12.06 million visitors last year, which was an incredible surge of 344.2% from 3.66 million in 2022.

Besides that, other ASEAN nations also saw more international tourists in 2023 compared to a year prior, Singapore with 12.37 million (130% increase), Cambodia with 5.45 million (139.5% increase), the Philippines with 5.45 million (105.38% increase) and Brunei with 82,109 (345.61%).

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Overall, international tourism in ASEAN countries saw an increase of 153% last year compared to 2022, which she attributed to the success of 2 promotional tourism campaigns launched jointly by ASEAN member nations. For more information on the 27th Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, you can read the press statement here.

Interestingly, based on the statistics revealed by the Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister, the country surpassed Malaysia as the ASEAN country with the most international tourist arrivals last year.

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As we’ve shared previously, from January to November 2023, Malaysia recorded 26 million global tourist arrivals, which was 1.4 million more than Thailand during the same period.

There’s also a big irony in Thailand overtaking Malaysia for the highest number of global tourists in ASEAN as Malaysians actually make up a majority of the 28.09 million arrivals.

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Thai tourism and sports minister sudawan wangsuphakijkosol

According to Thailand’s overall 2023 tourism statistics shared by the country’s Tourism and Sports Ministry, a whopping 4,626,422 Malaysian tourists visited Thailand last year, more than any other nationalities.

For reference, that’s approximately 16% of the total global tourist arrivals in Thailand for 2023, with the second-highest being China with 3,521,095 visitors.

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However, Thailand taking claim of the top spot for highest global tourist arrivals last year may simply be due to our country not yet releasing official statistics for tourism for the whole of 2023.

Malaysia was notably absent from the list of tourist arrivals by the Thai Tourism and Sports Minister, so do take the claim with a grain of salt.

Thailand Covid Rule Travel

So, what do you guys think of Thailand having 28.09 million international tourists last year and the increase in global tourism in ASEAN in general? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Also read: M’sians Can Now Get VAT Refunds for Purchases Up to RM2.6k in Thailand Without Going Through Customs

Feat Image Vat Refund

Source: 123RF

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