4 Thai Cities Ranked Top 100 City Destinations by Euromonitor International

Posted on February 5, 2014

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Thailand’s political capital and commercial hub of Bangkok has been ranked third in the latest Euromonitor International’s 100 Top City Destinations Ranking (2013 edition), covering 100 of the world’s leading cities in terms of international tourist arrivals. Three other popular Thai cities, Phuket, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai, were respectively ranked 15, 17 and 70 in the same listing.

The top two cities ahead of Bangkok were Hong Kong and Singapore. Within the top 10, six cities are located in Asia, demonstrating the importance of the region to international travel, especially the increasing numbers of Chinese and Russian visitors, according to Euromonitor International.

Overall, 32 of the top 100 city destinations are in the Asia-Pacific, 12 more than in second-placed Western Europe.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “The vast majority of travel movements within the Asia-Pacific region is taking place between cities. There is no doubt that Thai and regional cities are all changing remarkably to cater to the demand. We are happy to see Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai rated so prominently in the rankings.”

According to Euromonitor, “Continued economic growth helped (the Top 100) cities collectively experience a gain of 6.6% in 2012, outpacing the 4.2% growth of overall international arrivals.” While China was the fastest growing source market and helped Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok retain their leading positions, Singapore relies heavily on arrivals from Malaysia and Indonesia, which together account for slightly more than half of all arrivals, the report noted.

Chinese tourists were also a boon to Thailand’s tourism industry, increasing by 62% in 2012 to become the largest source market for tourists. As a result, Bangkok edged out London for third place in the rankings.

The report also stated, “By 2017, China will lead (the rankings of the world’s largest number of outbound travellers) with Germany in second place and Russia in third. Therefore, cities which appeal to Chinese and Russian travellers will experience stronger growth, especially those in neighbouring countries.”

In particular, Thailand is well positioned to benefit from the strong growth of both Chinese and Russian travellers thanks to its proximity, shopping and attractions although the current political unrest may undermine growth in the short term, more so for Bangkok than other destinations which can be reached directly.

“In the long term, nevertheless, Euromonitor International expects that Bangkok will cement its position as the third most visited city, while Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai will continue their ascent in the rankings.”
Chinatown at Yaowarat Road, Bangkok

The report noted that countries which relax or streamline visa processes, develop strong relationships with tour operators, implement targeted marketing and expand air travel will get an increased flow of travellers, which will benefit their main city destinations.

Euromonitor International’s Top City Destinations Ranking (2013 edition) was built from the results of the global travel research programme conducted in 57 core countries by in-country analysts, which follows Euromonitor International’s methodology and definitions for travel and tourism. City arrivals data was sourced directly from national statistics offices, airport arrivals, hotel/accommodation stays or other methods.

The main secondary sources included governmental, inter-governmental and other official sources; national and international specialist trade press and trade associations; industry study groups and other semi-official sources; and reports published by major operators, travel retailers, online databases and the financial, business and mainstream press. Trade interviews were conducted with national tourist offices, trade associations and travel operators to fill gaps in secondary research.

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