The Asia Pacific region has outperformed all other regions in terms of growth, with international tourist arrivals increasing an average 7% per year compared to the world average of 4%.

The Asia Pacific region accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s international tourism receipts.

Thailand attracted second highest number of tourists in the region with 32.58 million visitors in 2016.

The country has an easy visa policy that makes it easier for tourists to travel. Malaysia attracted 26.75 million tourists last year, although the average number of days of stay decreased.

Japan and India followed with 24.04 and 14.56 million tourists respectively

In India, it was a new high since foreign tourist arrival crossed ten million for the first time and pushed the country’s earnings to 27 billion dollars. The numbers also helped the country go up 25 places in the Tourism competitive Index.

Chinese tourists visiting the Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Chinese tourists visiting the Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

South Korea had the sixth highest number of tourists in the year 2016

However the numbers plunged to a low owing to the boycott by Chinese tour groups after South Korea installed the Thaad system.  Singapore and Vietnam followed with 12.91 million and 10.01 million tourists respectively.

According to the report by World Tourism Organisation the international tourist arrivals have increased from 25 million globally in 1950 to 278 million in 1980, 674 million in 2000, and 1,235 million in 2016.

“Today’s release of international tourism data for the first half of 2018 serves as further proof of the sector’s resilience and relentless growth trajectory.”

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

(2016 to
(2015 to
1 China60.7 million59.3 millionIncrease 2.5Increase 4.2
2 Thailand35.4 million32.6 millionIncrease 8.6Increase 8.9
3 Japan28.7 million24.0 millionIncrease 19.4Increase 21.8
4 Hong Kong27.9 million26.6 millionIncrease 5.0Decrease 0.5
5 Malaysia26.0 million26.8 millionDecrease 3.0Increase 4.0
6 Macau17.3 million15.7 millionIncrease 9.9Increase 9.8
7 India15.5 million14.6 millionIncrease 6.7Increase 9.7
8 Singapore13.9 million12.9 millionIncrease 7.7Increase 7.2
9 South Korea13.3 million17.2 millionDecrease 22.7Increase 30.3
10 Indonesia12.9 million11.0 millionIncrease 16.9Increase 11.1


China remains one of the leading destinations in Asia. It attracted the highest number of tourists in the region with a record number of inflow of 59.27 million people in the year 2016.

All world regions enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals in January-June 2018

The increase was fuelled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy. It comes after record year-round growth of 7% in 2017.

“Today’s release of international tourism data for the first half of 2018 serves as further proof of the sector’s resilience and relentless growth trajectory. We continue to work with our many partners to translate this growth into better jobs, more benefits to societies, and more opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and destinations”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

By region, Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth with a 7% increase in arrivals each. Southern Mediterranean Europe and South-East Asia had the strongest results in these regions, both welcoming 9% more international tourists.

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