How Thailand’s Koh Phangan is Beating Indonesia’s Bali Island with Remarkable Visa-Free Entry for 93 Countries Including Schengen Countries along with India and China?

Thailand’s Koh Phangan surpasses Indonesia’s Bali Island, attracting more tourists thanks to visa-free entry for citizens of 93 countries, boosting tourism growth.

Thailand’s Koh Phangan is outshining Indonesia’s Bali Island as a top travel destination in Southeast Asia, thanks in part to Thailand’s visa-free policy for citizens of 93 countries including all the schengen countries . This policy has significantly boosted tourism, making Koh Phangan an increasingly popular choice over Bali. With 28.15 million visitors, Koh Phangan is attracting more international tourists, surpassing Bali’s 1,16,80,000 visitors. The ease of travel, coupled with Thailand’s diverse attractions and vibrant culture, is driving this remarkable surge in tourism.

A significant factor contributing to this growth is the influx of tourists from India and China. Both countries benefit from Thailand’s visa-free access, and their high population rates and growing economies are fueling outbound travel. Indian and Chinese tourists are flocking to Thailand, further enhancing Koh Phangan’s appeal.

From its stunning beaches and bustling nightlife to its serene retreats and unique festivals, Koh Phangan offers a variety of experiences that cater to all types of travelers. As a result, Thailand is solidifying its position as a premier destination in Southeast Asia, drawing tourists from around the globe.

Thailand’s inbound tourism is thriving, with 10.72 million foreign arrivals recorded from January 1 to April 16, 2024. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, this influx has generated an impressive 15,500 million in revenue. Key destinations contributing to this surge include Koh Phangan, a popular island known for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches.

Similarly, Indonesia saw a significant rise in tourism, welcoming about 11.68 million international visitors in 2024, a notable increase compared to the previous year. These visitors were distributed among various ports of entry across the country, with Bali remaining a top attraction in Indonesia for its stunning landscapes and cultural richness, as reported by Statista.

In contrast, Vietnam experienced a decline in tourist arrivals, dropping from 1.56 million in April to 1.38 million in May 2024. However, Vietnam has maintained an average of 814,350 tourists per month from 2015 to 2024, with a peak of 1.99 million in January 2020 and a low of 7,200 in June 2021, according to Trading Economics. Phu Quoc Island remains a key highlight for visitors due to its pristine beaches and luxury resorts in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Cambodia attracted 540,023 international tourists in January 2024, marking a significant 34% increase from 402,943 in January 2023, based on a Ministry of Tourism. Koh Rong, known for its picturesque scenery and vibrant marine life, continues to be a major draw for international visitors.

Myanmar’s tourism sector also saw notable activity. In January 2024, the Tourism Research Section of the Hotels and Tourism Supervision Department conducted an Inbound Tourism Survey. They interviewed 1,346 international visitors at Yangon and Mandalay airports and four land border points: Kaw Thaung, Tachileik, Myawaddy, and Muse. The survey revealed that 41% of visitors were from Thailand, 25% from China, and smaller percentages from Russia, the USA, the UK, and India. Ngapali, with its serene beaches and laid-back atmosphere, remains a favorite destination for tourists.

Thailand offers visa-free entry to citizens from 93 countries, making it an accessible destination for many travelers. These countries include Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Sweden, Oman, Lithuania, Trinidad and Tobago, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Greece, Indonesia, France, Papua New Guinea, Hungary, Slovenia, Guatemala, Latvia, Switzerland, Mexico, Maldives, Hong Kong, Croatia, Italy, Nepal, Spain, Colombia, San Marino, Macau, Taiwan, Portugal, Georgia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Andorra, Monaco, Mauritius, Ukraine, Singapore, United Kingdom, Netherlands, China, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar, South Korea, Laos, United Arab Emirates, Malta, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Brazil, Finland, Slovakia, Romania, South Africa, Jordan, Norway, Argentina, Germany, Bhutan, Ireland, Belarus, Jamaica, Brunei, Iceland, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Qatar, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Panama, Ecuador, Liechtenstein, Chile, Estonia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Philippines, Kuwait, Bahrain, Serbia, Tonga, Peru, Luxembourg, Albania, Russia, Belgium, Poland, Canada, Malaysia, and Morocco.

India has witnessed a remarkable surge in outbound tourism, with departures soaring to 21.6 million in 2022, marking a staggering growth rate of 152.62% over the previous year. This surge can be largely attributed to India’s high population and rapidly rising economy. The burgeoning middle class, fueled by increasing disposable incomes, is eager to explore international destinations, leading to significant growth in travel. The dominance of air travel, accounting for 97.9% of departures, underscores the ease and accessibility of international travel for Indians. Major departure hubs like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai airports played pivotal roles in facilitating this outbound tourism boom. This trend highlights India’s economic resilience and the aspirations of its vast population to experience global cultures.

China’s high population and rising economy have made it a powerhouse in global outbound tourism. In 2019, nearly 155 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad, a staggering increase from 2010’s figures. Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp decline, with outbound tourists dropping to around 20.3 million in 2020, the numbers rebounded following the removal of border restrictions. In 2023, more than 87 million Chinese travelers ventured abroad. The revenue from the Chinese tourism industry contributed to nearly eight percent of the GDP, underscoring its significant impact.

About the destinations:

Koh Phangan: Koh Phangan is a vibrant island in southeast Thailand, famous for its monthly Full Moon Party. This energetic, all-night event is aligned with the lunar calendar and attracts party-goers to the southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin.

Bali Island: Bali, an Indonesian island, is renowned for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice terraces, stunning beaches, and coral reefs. The island also hosts significant religious sites, such as the cliffside Uluwatu Temple.

Koh Rong: Located in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville Province, Koh Rong is an island celebrated for its sandy coves and coral reefs, particularly around Koh Rong Pier. Inland, the island features a lush jungle landscape with coconut palms and waterfalls.

Ngapali: Ngapali Beach is a secluded gem in Myanmar, separated from the rest of the country by a mountain range. Situated on the western shore, it boasts a long, palm-fringed beach lined with luxury hotels and traditional fishing villages.

Phu Quoc Island: Phu Quoc is a Vietnamese island located off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. It is famous for its white-sand beaches and resorts, primarily found along the palm-lined southwest coast.

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