During the initial quarter of 2023, international tourism in Southeast Asia experienced a relatively subdued growth rate. Nevertheless, despite the advent of April marking the onset of the low travel season, tourism activities within the region persist in exhibiting encouraging indications.
Increase in total number of international visitors
The total number of international arrivals to five Southeast Asian countries (including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines) increased by 3.67% over the previous month, from 5,420,067 arrivals to 5,618,733 arrivals.
Although there was a slight decrease in the number of inbound visitors to Thailand, it still maintained its position as the number one destination with 2,182,100 arrivals. The number of international visitors to the Philippines also decreased by 3.7% compared to March. The remaining three countries all achieved significant increases. In particular, Singapore showed the highest growth rate of international visitors in April, reaching 10.65%, from 1,020,000 to 1,128,594 arrivals. Vietnam was not far behind with an increase of 9.91%, followed by Indonesia (about 6.9%).
Recovery and tourism target rate
In terms of recovery, Singapore topped the index in April with a rate of 70.54%, followed closely by the Philippines at 69.09%. The other three destinations had similar recovery indicators.
Vietnam maintained its performance in achieving its 2023 target, with the highest completion rate of 46.05% as of April, far ahead of other destinations such as Thailand or Singapore (over 28%).
Source: Statistics from National Tourism Departments
Top 3 South East Asian destinations with largest numbers of international arrivals in April 2023:
- Thailand: 2,182,100. Although this number decreased by 1.66% compared to the previous month, Thailand is leading the region as the most visited destination in Southeast Asia.
- Singapore: 1,128,594. Of the five Southeast Asian destinations, the Lion City is the only one that has continuously recorded an increase in the number of international arrivals during the first four months of 2023. However, this is still not enough for Singapore to reach one-third of its 2023 target.
- Vietnam: 984,146. This is the month that Vietnam has welcomed the most international tourists since the beginning of the year.
Top 3 South East Asian destinations with highest recovery rate in April 2023:
- Singapore: 70.54%
- Philippines: 69.09%
- Indonesia: 67.95%
In the aviation sector in May, Indonesia still had the largest total seating capacity, accounting for 30% of the entire region with 10,847,492 seats. The rankings have changed compared to previous months. Specifically, Vietnam became the second country in terms of capacity with 6,242,626 seats, an average increase of 4% per day. This number accounted for 17% of regional capacity, pushing Thailand to third place with 5,998,922 seats, accounting for 16% of Southeast Asia’s capacity. Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore followed in terms of total aircraft seating capacity.
Source: OAG, updated 5/30/2023
In May, the busiest domestic flight route in Southeast Asia remained Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City, boasting a total seating capacity of 908,298. The subsequent two domestic routes in the top three were both from Indonesia: Jakarta – Bali (722,924) and Jakarta – Sumatera Utara (541,580). Given a total seating capacity exceeding 10.8 million, it is unsurprising that half of the 10 busiest domestic routes in Southeast Asia are located in Indonesia.
With regard to international routes, Singapore persisted as the primary international air transport nexus of Southeast Asia. The top three international routes in May 2023 were Kuala Lumpur – Singapore (427,124 seats), Jakarta – Singapore (346,792 seats), and Bangkok – Singapore (275,748 seats). Furthermore, 7 out of the 10 largest international routes in the region originated from Singapore.