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Monday, June 17, 2013

Ten Years of Reinvention Pays Off: Bangkok Peaks as World’s Top Travel Hotspot

Ten years of steady improvements in the quality and diversity of its tourism products and services have paid off handsomely for the bustling yet glittering city of Bangkok with the announcement that it has topped the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index for 2013. 

Bangkok overtook last year’s top-ranked city, London. The study looked at the highest international visitor numbers in 2013, with London, Paris, Singapore, and New York rounding out the top five.

According to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkok enjoyed visitor arrival growth rates of over 18 percent in 2011 and 2012, and it follows with a further 9.8 percent growth in 2013, which clearly helped propel it to the world’s number-one rank. The city also recorded $14.3 billion in visitor expenditure in 2013.

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The report added, “Bangkok shows highest growth rates in cross-border spending growth rates overall, rising from close to 20 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2012, before settling down to 11.4 percent in 2013.”

Said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “This is the result of the tireless efforts made by the public and private sectors as well as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration over the last 10 years to ‘reinvent’ Bangkok and take advantage of its extensive tourism and travel opportunities. Visitors to Bangkok feel it is a truly cosmopolitan city that is a perfect mixture of the old and the new. Its distinctive character is the result of Thailand’s long-standing freedom while opening itself to all positive things beyond its borders.

“In Bangkok, you can find the pinnacle of luxury living and the simplest of lifestyles existing side by side. No matter how the city has evolved over the centuries, it still retains things that have eternal appeal for foreign visitors, like monks going out for alms in early morning or boat rides along its many canals. 

Moreover, Bangkok is an affordable place with modern infrastructure and an extensive transport system.”

According to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, a noticeable trend in this year’s report was the dominance of the Asia/Pacific region. Of the 132 cities ranked, 42 are Asian countries. Bangkok is followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, and five of the top 10 in 2013 are in the Greater China region.

“With the rise of the Asia/Pacific region, this year’s index reflects the rebalance that the globe is undergoing in large part because of the rise of emerging markets,” said Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, MasterCard Worldwide. “This shift is further underscored by electronic payments, which are enabling more people from more places to participate in the global economy than ever before.”
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The Expeditionist
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