Bangkok has been rated the world’s second best city for tourist shopping and the third best city in terms of value for money, according to a global survey of 75,000 travellers covering 40 cities by the TripAdvisor travel site.
Tokyo was the most highly decorated world city ranked number one for best taxi services, friendliest taxi drivers, best public transportation, cleanest streets, and safety. Singapore also rated highly in several categories related to safety, cleanliness and transport infrastructure.
However, Bangkok rated best in two very important categories of the visitor experience, shopping and value for money. Said Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “This is a very important result for us because it underscores the success of our marketing campaign. We have always sought to position Thailand as a shopping paradise, thanks to our value for money factor and extensive diversity of products and services.”
The exact results were as follows:
Thailand recorded a 31% increase in tourism receipts in 2011 over 2010, according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports figures. The total earnings of 776 billion baht (US$25.45 billion) were also well above the original target of 716 billion baht (US$23 billion). Visitor spending per capita per day in 2011 averaged 4,187 baht, of which 24% (1,001 baht) was spent on shopping, the second highest expenditure item after accommodation.
The growth in total number of visitors, projected at 20.5 million in 2012 and 22.45 million in 2013, is being matched by increased average length of stay and average daily expenditure, further underscoring the role of tourism as one of the most important economic sectors and contributor to job creation and nationwide income distribution.
Overall, the expenditure figures show that the recent strengthening of the baht against the US$ is having little impact and Thailand remains good value for money for visitors across the board. The availability of a broad range of products from the latest designer goods to traditional Thai arts and crafts is further enhanced by the VAT refund scheme.