With roughly 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok retained the top spot again this year. According to the study, the top cities once again underscored the importance of robust infrastructure, both business and leisure attractions plus strong local culture. All are key components highlighted in recent Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) marketing campaigns.
The study, which expanded this year to look at 162 cities, is not simply a ranking of the top travel destinations. Based on visitor volume and spending for the 2017 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2018 and for the first time, a view into the average length of stay and amount spent per day.
The Mastercard Index predicted a strong annual growth for tourism arrivals of 9.6 percent in 2018 for Bangkok. It also noted the impressive fact that visitors stay in Bangkok for 4.7 nights on average with daily spending of over US$173 per day (5,563 Baht), amounting to US$16.36 billion in total in 2017. This placed the Thai capital in the 5th place of the Top Cities by Dollars Spent.
Meanwhile, Phuket has been ranked in the 10th place of the Top Cities by Dollars Spent with daily spending of US$239, or US$10.46 billion in total.
These latest honours continue a record-breaking year of awards for Thailand‘s travel sector in 2018. So far, it has received dozens of prestigious awards from the world’s leading travel organisations and lifestyle and travel media.
Thailand placed 3rd in the Best Country category of the highly respected Conde Nast Traveller UK 2018 Readers’ Travel Awards, and won two Best Destination Awards from Travel Weekly UK and TTG Asia. While Bangkok was also voted ‘Best Leisure Destination’ in the Asia-Pacific by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific magazine to name only a few.