Chinese tourists account for the majority of the international tourism market in Asian countries. However, it was not until January 2023 that China opened up to tourism. One month later, it announced plans to open tours to just 20 countries.
As of March 15, China will resume pilot group tours to 40 other countries, including Vietnam. This is good news and also a big challenge to Vietnam tourism. Vietnam should learn from some neighboring nations which successfully reached the target of international tourists.
In 2022, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore were the top Southeast Asian destinations for international visitors. They welcomed a significant number of international tourists, which exceeded the set target thanks to remarkable changes.
In 2022, Thailand planned to welcome 8 million international tourists, and the result reached 11.8 million. These tourists spent about 500 billion Baht (around 14.4 billion USD), an average of 50,000 Baht (equivalent to 1,442 USD) per person.
To attract international tourists, in September last year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) implemented a new visa policy. Specifically, citizens of countries and territories that are granted a 30-day visa exemption will automatically extend it to 45 days, from 15 days to 30 days. The policy is applied from October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.
In addition, Thailand also boosted short-haul flights and exploited neighboring markets. The short-haul market accounted for 67.6% of the total 11.8 million foreign arrivals in 2022, equivalent to 7.98 million, excluding Chinese tourists.
Indonesia welcomed nearly 5.5 million international tourists in 2022, an increase of 251.28% compared to 2021. It was much higher than the target number of 3.6 million.
The government of Indonesia relaxed visas and medical regulations to attract foreign tourists. Indonesia also decided to issue 5-year visas to foreign tourists staying here without paying taxes if they do not earn money within its territory.
The country also promoted international flight routes. Indonesia has successfully turned itself to one of the most attractive remote working destinations for employees of global companies.
In particular, the government also changed its strategy to sustainable tourism, transforming from 3S ‘Sun, Sea, Sand’ to ‘Serenity, Spirituality, Sustainability’.
In 2022, the number of international visitors to Singapore reached 6.3 million. This number surpassed the government’s forecast of 4-6 million visitors.
Singapore achieved the set goal thanks to its strengths in MICE tourism, advanced technology, new experiences, architectural works, as well as welcoming up to 465 new hotels last year, etc.
Moreover, the country also hosted many big events and programs such as Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2022, Hell Museum at Haw Par Villa Cultural Park, Ice Cream Museum, “Avatar: The Experience” at Gardens by the Bay, Wellness Festival Singapore,… Singapore has also become the first Southeast Asian country to host the Tour de France Singapore Criterium sports event, attracting a large number of international visitors.