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
123px Flag of the People%27s Republic of China.svg China60.7 million59.3 millionIncrease 2.5Increase 4.2
223px Flag of Thailand.svg Thailand35.4 million32.6 millionIncrease 8.6Increase 8.9
323px Flag of Japan.svg Japan28.7 million24.0 millionIncrease 19.4Increase 21.8
423px Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong27.9 million26.6 millionIncrease 5.0Decrease 0.5
523px Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia26.0 million26.8 millionDecrease 3.0Increase 4.0
623px Flag of Macau.svg Macau17.3 million15.7 millionIncrease 9.9Increase 9.8
723px Flag of India.svg India15.5 million14.6 millionIncrease 6.7Increase 9.7
823px Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore13.9 million12.9 millionIncrease 7.7Increase 7.2
923px Flag of South Korea.svg South Korea13.3 million17.2 millionDecrease 22.7Increase 30.3
1023px Flag of Indonesia.svg 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.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get notified of our weekly selection of news

You May Also Like

Thailand boosts its tourist connections with China

At recent high-profile meeting between Chinese Culture and Tourism Minister and Thai Tourism and Sports Minister and the signing of the Letter of Intent between TAT and China Tourism Group Travel Services.

TAT announces winners of Responsible Thailand Awards 2022

The Responsible Thailand Awards have attracted increasingly greater attention each year since their debut. 1,602 Thai tourism enterprises were nominated for the 2022 awards, almost three times as many as for the awards that were last held in 2020.

Phuket and Isaan among TIME’s Top 50 World’s Greatest Places

Two locations in Thailand are among 50 “extraordinary destinations to explore” around the world, according to TIME magazine.