In good news for Thailand’s tourist industry, a new study by MasterCard shows Bangkok is still Asia’s top city destination for travelers. This despite last year’s political violence in downtown Bangkok, that killed 91 people, and the ever-strengthening Thai baht.
Coming ahead of such cities as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok expects to see over 11.5 million overseas visitors in 2011.
The main cities of origin for travelers coming to Bangkok include London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Sydney, with American cities way down on the list (not surprising considering 85% of Americans don’t own a passport).
While this may be news to some, after a visit yesterday to Siam Paragon and Central World Plaza downtown, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
I noticed in the few hours I spent shopping and dining at both malls just how many international visitors were in Bangkok. Japanese, Korean, British, American, Australian and, of course, hundreds of Chinese, were just a few of the nationalities I saw. All in Bangkok and all seeming to be spending a nice amount of money.
The MasterCard study also shows visitors to Bangkok in 2011 are expected to spend more than $14.4 billion – a number that could be increased even further if Thailand simply restructured its crazy visa laws.
Photo copyright – old shutters in Bangkok, Thailand – travelmeasia, Creative Commons License