Bangkok is the top city destination in Asia Pacific

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Bangkok remains the Asia-Pacific’s top destination city for air travel, and is the world’s second top destination city according to the newly released 2014 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. First in the world is London, 

According to Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor, MasterCard, Bangkok and London have vied in recent years for top ranking in the Global Destination Cities Index, which measures international visitor arrivals with at least one overnight stay in that particular city.

Bangkok did beat London for the top ranking in the 2013 Index, becoming the first Asian city to top the list.

Dr. Hedrick-Wong said, “Bangkok remains a leading global destination city in 2014 despite a drop in air travel that is likely attributable to the recent political turmoil in the Thai capital.”

This political unrest in Thailand since November last year might have had an impact on visitor numbers but confirms that with so many family and business friendly destinations across the country it is still a popular and safe destination.

Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok

Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok

He added, “Bangkok’s resilience as a global destination city is one of the big takeaways from the Global Destination Cities Index for 2014. So, maybe we just might see it back on top next year.”

According to the study, London is projected to receive 18.7 million international visitors in 2014. Forecasted visitors to the rest of the top five cities include:

  • Bangkok – 16.42 million
  • Paris – 15.57 million visitors
  • Singapore – 12.47 million visitors
  • Dubai – 11.95 million visitors

In previous years, Bangkok has shown among the world’s biggest gains in international air travel, with double digit percentage increases in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the city saw a 16.7% increase in international overnight visitors.

For the top five destination cities in the Asia-Pacific, Bangkok is in the top rank. It is followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Seoul, remaining unchanged from 2013.

In terms of cross-border spending, Bangkok is ranked fifth in the world and second in the Asia-Pacific, with US$13 billion projected in international visitor expenditure for 2014.

Commenting on the Index, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said, “It is rather unfortunate that our internal issues led to this drop in Bangkok’s rankings. However, it only motivates us to make an extra effort to bring the visitors back, as we will be doing with our “Thailand Happiness” grand comeback party in Bangkok between 25-26 July.”

The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel Pool

The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel Pool

Dr. Hedrick-Wong said, “All these cities are benefiting from a surge in international travel fuelled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel. The Index also indicates this surge will continue, even with more technology and collaboration tools available to businesses.”

Loading THAI’s newest A380

Loading THAI’s newest A380

Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, MasterCard, said, “The Index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel. The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs.”

Thai Airways continues to upgrade its fleet of aircraft, recently adding the 787 to serve alongside the A380 aircraft. These new airliners will certainly increase interest in air travel via Thailand along with the airlines high level of service.



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