Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket positive image as leading destinations on a global and regional (Asia Pacific) level have been strengthened as the world’s and Asia Pacific’s most popular destinations for international travellers, with the recent winning of awards from MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2015 and Euromonitor International.
The first MasterCard’s Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2015, revealed that Bangkok topped the most popular city with 21.9 million international overnight visitors, representing a 28.6 per cent growth over the previous year. It also topped the total nights stayed by international tourists with a cumulative 107 million nights and also topped the total amount spent at US$15.2 billion.
When comparing among destination cities in the Asia-Pacific, Bangkok retained its position at number one. This ranking has remained unchanged since 2013 when the Thai capital became the first Asian city to top the global list.
This is followed by Phuket which recorded 9.3 million, or a 15.5 per cent growth, and Pattaya which saw 8.1 million, a 10 per cent growth, in international overnight visitors in 2015. In terms of total nights stayed and total expenditure, Phuket earned a total of 40.8 million nights and an expenditure of US$8 billion while Pattaya chalked up a total of 27.2 million nights and total expenditure of US$3.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Euromonitor International’s ‘Top 100 City Destinations Ranking’ named three Thai destinations among the world’s top 25 with Bangkok came in at the 4th rank, followed by Phuket in the 17th rank and Pattaya in the 19th rank.
Bangkok is well-known among international travellers for a variety of shopping choices, tasteful authentic Thai food, cultural heritage, lively nightlife, and beautiful historical attractions. Meanwhile, Pattaya and Phuket are both famous beach resort cities and recreational destinations attracting a wide range of international tourists from holidaymakers, families, honeymooners, adventure and sports enthusiasts to the destinations each year.
In 2015, the Thai tourism industry hit the highest record in its history, receiving tourism revenue of 1.4 trillion Baht or a 23 per cent year-on-year increase, and attracting 29.8 million international tourist arrivals or an increase of 20 per cent over 2014. For 2016, with the plan to focus less on the number of visitor arrivals and more on attracting quality tourists, TAT is targeting 1.5 trillion Baht in tourism revenue from international tourists.
With expected growth especially from the Chinese, Thailand’s tourism is likely to grow in 2016, with medical vacations, weddings and wellness plus golf leading the way.