In terms of projected international arrivals and expenditure, Bangkok is poised to be the top destination in the Asia-Pacific region according to MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2012. The global credit card company looks ahead every year and estimates cross-border travel statistics in 132 cities worldwide.
Bangkok, at number 3 worldwide, is projected to receive some 12.2 million visitors in 2012, who will spend in the neighborhood of 19.3 billion dollars.
The report also stated that Thailand was number 4 globally in the rankings of tourist spending in 2011, with a record of 14.4 billion dollars international spend, following the UK, the US, and France.
Within the Asia-Pacific region, Bangkok comes out in the top position again, as it did the previous two years, but with even more impressive growth. Two years ago, visitor spending came to US$ 11.1 billion, rising to US$ 16.6 billion in 2011, and shooting up to US$ 19.3 billion this year.
MasterCard’s report notes that “Bangkok is one of the rising stars of the report and is cited as the number one city in terms of projected international visitor numbers and spend within the Asia/Pacific region. Most traffic is set to come from Tokyo and these visitors will also be spending more than visitors from the other top origin cities.”
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Deputy Governor Prakit Piriyakiet commented on the survey, noting that these results will certainly shine a positive light on Thailand in the eyes of foreign travelers.
MasterCard Worldwide's global economic advisor and survey author Yuwa Hedrick-Wong commented on Bangkok’s drawing power: "Bangkok's advantage is that it's a very tolerant culture. That explains its durability, especially attracting Europeans and Americans."
Thailand’s amazing growth, as well as the overall results of the survey, are a refreshing antidote to the less positive news coming out of the Eurozone and the persistence of other sluggish economic indicators worldwide.
Despite it all, travellers still have a strong desire to visit exciting destinations, and are set to do so in ever-increasing numbers in the coming years. The Asia-Pacific region is the place that more and more of these travellers are turning their eyes towards, with Thailand’s dynamic capital remaining their number one dream destination.