Thailand has received a strong vote of confidence from tourists all over the world who are flocking to the Kingdom in spite of a barrage of negative press over the last twelve months from international media.
Thailand’s tourism prospects have been on the up and up since late last year. The latest boost is an annual survey which again ranks Bangkok the most popular and visited city in Asia. Based on expenditure and visitors numbers the Thai capital is well ahead of nearest competitors Singapore and Tokyo.
Even Phuket and Pattaya ranked in the Top 20 Asian cities
And the news gets even better with Phuket and Pattaya ranked 5th and 8th respectives beating destinations like Seoul and Mali. The survey showed that tourist visiting Bangkok were responsible for a whopping 107 million visitor nights compared to only sixty eight million for for Kuala Lumpur which came in third. Bangkok had 21.9 million visitors while Phuket and Pattaya had 9.3 and 8.1 million respectively.
‘The figures showing a massive success for Thailand in terms of tourism, significantly much of the gains come from Asian visitors as many shun long distance travel to Europe because of the migration crisis and terrorism fears,’ says James Morris a commentator in Bangkok. The figures show the confidence there is in Thailand’s stability despite the bombing in Bangkok in August 2015, a terrorism scare at the end of the year regarding Isis and negative press in the western media ranging the murder of a British backpacker on the island of Koh Tao and the human trafficking scandal regarding Rohingya migrants.
Thai Tourism Minister surprised most commentators announcing a 25% tourism boost
Thailand’s Tourism Minister shocked many people on Christmas 2015 when he announced that tourism figures for 2015 were up 25 % on the year before. While this may not in itself be surprising as 2014 was the year when Thailand suffered political turmoil and a coup, the figures come just weeks after Thailand was at the centre of an Isis terror threat scare.
‘I think Thailand for all its worth between the jigs and reels is a pretty safe bet, I come here once or twice a year,’ says John McCarthy from Co. Limerick in Ireland. The very positive Thai tourist figures seem to bear him out.
Thailand not a target for terrorism
Thai authorities have consistently maintained that Thailand is not involved in any conflict and therefore is not a terrorist target. Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda the Police commander told the media in December 2015: ‘I have been working with intelligence service all along and I have been saying all along that there is no Isis in our country, you must understand that we are not involved in any conflict.’
‘Thailand always pulls through’
‘Thailand always seems to pull through, I think there are many regular visitors to Thailand who come out of a great love for the country it has unique appeal particularly to young people,’ says one foreign media commentator in Bangkok. ‘I think it is a good idea to take the Thai government at face value in spite of the somewhat negative foreign press coverage. Thailand has its own way of doing things and in the end of the day it is in my opinion as safe a country as anywhere in the world.’
Thai PM entertains Thai Miss Universe who promoted Thailand
The good news about Thai tourism came just days after Thailand’s entrant in the Miss Universe contest in Las Vegas won international acclaim for her Tuk Tuk costume. Miss Universe Miss Universe Thailand Aniporn “Nat” Chalermburanawong appeared in a strapless mini dress with handle bars and her costume was adorned wit Thai flags, lights and streamers. The colourful display came at the right moment for Thailand and reinforced the message that Thailand is a fun place to visit.
In the run up to 2016, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan Ocha hosted Miss Universe Thailand prior to a cabinet meeting. Miss Anaporn was a huge hit on Twitter and other social media with her national costume entry. Her appearance did wonders for Thailand’s image and highlighted the happy go lucky nature of life in Thailand in contrast to negative foreign media reports. There are many who think that Thailand’s portrayal on the international media across the world has not been balanced. ‘I think Thailand suffered lately from being stereotyped unfairly and the latest figures for tourism and visitors show that most people have confidence in the country,’ says James Morris in Bangkok.
Sourсe: Thai examiner