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20 Most Visited Countries in Asia

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 20 most visited countries in Asia. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 most visited countries in Asia.

Whenever travel comes up, the talk is often centered on either the U.S. or Europe, mainly because the U.S. is among the most visited countries in the world while Europe also tends to dominate that list. Considering the fact that the vastness of North America lends to huge variations in the experiences one can enjoy, you can get a little bit of everything, as evidenced by the most visited cities in North America. However, Asia, the biggest continent in the world by far both in terms of land mass and population, home to some of the countries with the highest population growth, often gets ignored even though it's home to some of the most unique landscapes and cultures in the world. However, one of the reasons that many travelers avoid countries in Asia and Africa is because their laws are not particularly friendly to LGBTQ+ travelers, which is why you'll see some commonalities between the most traveled countries in Asia and the most dangerous countries for LGBTQ+ American travelers.

20 Most Dangerous Countries in Asia
20 Most Dangerous Countries in Asia

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Asia is also one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the world, with the Middle East in particular aiming to become a major tourist hub. After all, the United Nations World Tourism Organization mentioned in their latest report issued in May 2023, that the Middle East has already recovered to pre-pandemic numbers in Q1 2023, a major feat considering how the Covid-19 pandemic absolutely decimated the travel industry and you will see plenty of Middle Eastern countries among the most visited countries in Asia. Overall, tourism has now reached nearly 80% of pre-pandemic levels with Europe and the Middle East leading the way, even as international tourism jumped by 86% in Q1 2023 compared to the previous year with 235 million tourists travelling in the time period. It is important to remember that Q1 2022 was heavily impacted by the discovery of the Omicron virus towards the end of 2022.

The Middle East being the first region in the world to recover to pre-pandemic levels should come as no surprise; the efforts of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai in particular) to become major tourist destinations as they attempt to diversify their economies, have borne fruit, with luxury offerings including some of the best airlines in the world in 2023 and have also become some of the most visited countries in Asia. However, Europe is not far behind, though it has more catching up to do since its considered the preferred region to visit for people around the world, and even then, has recovered to 90% of its pre-pandemic levels. Driven by these regions, the tourism sector is expected to be worth around $9.5 trillion in 2023.

After the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the travel industry, travel stocks nosedived across various industries, and now that the sector is recovering, such stocks have also provided a major boost to investors including Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB) gaining over 70% in just 2023 while Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:BKNG) saw its share value jump by nearly 45% in the same time period. Meanwhile, airlines suffered massive losses amid the pandemic which is why even some of the most profitable airlines in the world were unable to turn over a profit in the trailing twelve-months. However, airlines have also seen a resurgence as pent-up demand from passengers has driven revenue with Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) seeing its share price jump by close to 50% in 2023 alone, even as Chinese airlines struggle despite the country ending its zero-Covid policy, which is why China is not among the top 10 tourist destinations in Asia.

In fact, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), mentioned in the company's Q2 2023 earnings "As I've recently noted, the industry backdrop remains constructive. Air travel demand is strong and the consumer is in good financial shape, particularly the premium consumer base that we target. After years of spending on goods, consumers want to travel. It's their No. 1 big-ticket purchase priority, and they desire premium experiences. No one provides this better than Delta. At the same time, aviation infrastructure is still fragile and the industry continues to face multiple constraints across the supply chain, aircraft delivery delays, and training needs. As a result, we see a significant gap between the supply that is in place and what demand could sustain, and we expect this gap will remain for an extended period of time."

Despite the resurgence in travel, it is important to note the constraints under which this is taking place, especially due to rising inflation, and hiking interest rates to control inflation. According to the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, the consumer price index for airline tickets has jumped by 25%, outpacing inflation and registering the biggest such increase since 1989, when records were first kept. Meanwhile, inflation has already had an impact on disposable income as the cost of necessities has also increased, which, combined with rising airline ticket costs, has priced out many people. While people in the U.S. have had an advantage because of the U.S. dollar strengthening significantly against most global currencies, other nations have seen their currency depreciate as well, further impacting international spending capabilities. However, this has been an advantage for American travelers and you can learn more about this by taking a look at the best countries for Americans to visit, some of which will include the most visited countries in Asia because of their relatively low cost of living. According to Deloitte's 2023 travel outlook "leisure travel demand faces murky outlook" precisely because of financial concerns. On the other hand, another major challenge is "challenges in staffing and supply chain, along with high interest rates, undermine the travel experience", which has impacted the value proposition of travel.

Methodology

To determine the most visited countries in Asia, we visited the UNWTO World Tourism Dashboard. We then filtered out all Asian countries within the dashboard and ranked each country based on the number of tourist arrivals in Asian countries in 2022. Considering that international arrivals increase by 234% in 2022, signifying the strength of the tourism sector's industry, it was also the most relevant metric. While some consider Turkiye, to be a part of Europe, we have included it among the most popular countries in Asia since the vast majority of the country is situation in Asia. While the dashboard shows Syria having 1.8 million visitors. However, considering the impact of the Syrian War and major sanctions imposed on the country make this an unlikely number, which is why we have excluded the country from our rankings.

20. Taiwan

Number of arrivals (in millions): 0.9

Taiwan has plenty of natural beauty to entice tourists in visiting the small nation, while it is also home to over 15,000 temples, providing an excellent opportunity for exploration.

19. Maldives

Number of arrivals (in millions): 1.68

Maldives has tons of hotels, from ultra luxury water villas to the really affordable, and provides a whole host of water activities, making it a preferred destination for honeymooners.

18. Cambodia

Number of arrivals (in millions): 2.28

Cambodia may have been significantly destroyed by the Khmer Rogue in the 1970s, the nation's rich culture has survived, which offers a brilliant experience to any tourist.

17. Macau

Number of arrivals (in millions): 2.48

Macau is also called the Las Vegas of the East, and caters to tourists from all walks of life. Of course, there are tons of other activities in Macau outside of gambling including visiting historical sites and museums.

16. Qatar

Number of arrivals (in millions): 2.56

Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup 2022, the most prestigious tournament in all of sports, to boost its tourist numbers. While Qatar has had to battle an embargo imposed by other major Middle Eastern countries which affected its tourism sector, the country actually emerged much stronger for it, with the crisis ending in January 2021. You can learn more about it if you visit the biggest companies in Qatar by market cap.

15. Philippines

Number of arrivals (in millions): 2.65

A country known for its rich biodiversity, it comes as no surprise that the Philippines is one of the most visited countries in Asia with some of its most popular destinations including Siargao, Palawan and Boracay.

14. Oman

Number of arrivals (in millions): 2.88

Oman offers a lot of natural beauty, though it still has some way to go to reach the 4+ million visitors it had in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

13. South Korea

Number of arrivals (in millions): 3.2

South Korea has become one of the most popular countries in Asia, and a large part of it comes to down to the global popularity of K-pop. However, it can't be denied that the incredible advancements made by South Korea, not to mention its amazing cuisine has convinced millions to make it one of the most visited countries in Asia.

12. Vietnam

Number of arrivals (in millions): 3.66

One of the reasons why Vietnam is among the most visited countries in Asia is because it is very affordable, especially for Western tourists. Incredible scenery is present everywhere in Vietnam while the country's unique culture and amazing food make it a must-visit.

11. Bahrain

Number of arrivals (in millions): 3.71

Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands, and is one of the best places to go to if you want to snorkel or deep dive into the Arabian Gulf.

10. Japan

Number of arrivals (in millions): 3.83

Japan attracts millions of visitors ever year because of its diverse history and culture, being home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world. For those who want a more citycentric holiday, Tokyo is easily the best place to visit.

9. Iran

Number of arrivals (in millions): 4.11

Despite being shunned by Western nations and facing heavy sanctions for several years, Iran is still a major destination for Muslims, particularly Shia Muslims, with many visiting the city of Karbala, where the battle of Karbala took place around 1,500 years ago, a seminal battle in Islamic history.

8. Jordan

Number of arrivals (in millions): 4.28

Jordan is home to the ancient city of Petra, considered to be among the modern 7 wonders of the world, and plays a significant part in ensuring that Jordan is considered among the most visited countries in Asia.

7. Indonesia

Number of arrivals (in millions): 5.47

The most powerful Islamic country in the world, tourists in Indonesia mainly head to Bali, known for its beaches and rice fields, while the scenery is bound to take your breath away.

6. Singapore

Number of arrivals (in millions): 6.31

Singapore may be the smallest country among the most visited countries in Asia but it's well-known for its glitz and glamor, especially regarding its nightlife. The nation is also among the countries with the highest cost of living in the world which means that visiting Singapore may cause a strain on your wallet.

Click to continue reading and see 5 Most Visited Countries in Asia.   Suggested Articles:

Disclosure: None. 20 most visited countries in Asia is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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