Thailand is beaming with pride following the publication of the list of the world’s most visited cities, in which the Southeast Asian nation owns three prized spots, including seat number one. That honour belongs to the Thai capital of Bangkok, and this has been the case for three years in a row.
The 2018 edition of MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) showed Bangkok easily bested other famed tourist destinations around the world having welcomed 20.5 million visitors by the end of 2017. Closest rivals London, Paris and Singapore again trailed the Asian city and mostly the credit goes to Bangkok’s well-known affordability and accessibility.
The same is true for the two Thai cities that were included in the prestigious list, namely Phuket and Pattaya, whose popularity with Western and Asian visitors have been cemented in the index. MasterCard listed Phuket at number 12 and Pattaya at number 18.
Notably in recent years, “the Thai government has expanded visa exemptions for short-stay tourists and implemented special immigration checkpoints for Chinese tourists,” The Nation reported, which explains why Thai cities have become extremely popular to travellers.
So it came as no surprise that over the last five years, for instance, Chinese tourist arrivals in Thailand surged by up to 400 percent and the spike had resulted to solid economic benefits.
Tourism Boom Delivers Top Dollars
According to the MasterCard index, Bangkok and the other cities on the list appear to have cracked the code of becoming a tourism magnet. “They’ve figured out how to capture the imaginations—and dollars—of visitors,” one company official was quoted by Forbes as saying.
In luring in vacationers and business travellers, the cities on the list were fully aware that visitor arrivals by the tens of millions will no doubt spur economic activities.
“They’re (foreign tourists) spending on everything from hotels and taxis to restaurants and spas to clothes and other goods,” the same report indicated.
In Thailand’s case, foreign tourists contributed to national tourism revenues of over $16 billion for 2017, which the index said translated to daily spending of $173.
Flood Of Property Investments
Yet one of the most interesting elements of the GDC index is the tourism growth’s direct impact on specific sectors of a country’s economy. To illustrate in Thailand, “tourism has long been a strong engine of the Thai property market,” according to Property Report.
Many foreign tourists who find their way to Thailand double as potential property hunters, looking for their second home buys in the kingdom, the report added. A big chunk of these visitors originate from Mainland China, suggesting of a trend that likely will be sustained in the years ahead.
Property Report said Thailand’s tourism explosion, and its consequent property boom, will only continue over the long term. The forecast so far indicates that foreign arrivals into the country will jump by 9.6 percent at the close of 2018.