Bangkok ranked in Top Ten list of global cities for dining and shopping in MasterCard Index 2018

Bangkok, 14 January, 2019 – MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index has published a survey on the dining and shopping (GDCI: Indulgences) spending patterns of tourists in various cities around the world. Bangkok was ranked third on the list of the Top Global Cities for Dining and sixth on the list of Top Global Cities for Shopping.

The GDCI: Indulgences survey is a part of the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI). It ranks cities that tourists visited in the past one year. In 2018, the result indicated that Bangkok was the #1 Global Destination for the third consecutive year with Phuket and Pattaya ranked 12th and 18th, respectively. This has resulted in Thailand being the only country to have 3 cities in the Top 20 list.

In addition to the spending figures, the GDCI: Indulgences also indicate the economic implications that arise from such spending.


Bangkok, the city that is famous for food and culture, is ranked #3 of the Top Cities for Dining. Visitor spending was 108 billion Baht (USD 3.38 billion) or 20.6% of the total expenditure. Palma de Mallorca, Spain ranked #2 with a total of 121 billion Baht (USD 3.78 billion), ranked after the top-ranked Dubai with a spending of approximately 190 billion Baht (USD 5.94 billion).

Bangkok ranked in Top Ten list of global cities for dining and shopping in MasterCard Index 2018

Street Food on Yaowarat Road (Chinatown), Bangkok


GDCI: Indulgences revealed Bangkok is also a popular city for shopping, ranked 6th worldwide, with tourists spending about 120 billion Baht (USD 3.75 billion), representing 23% of the overall expenditure.

There are eight cities on the top list for dining and seven cities on the top list for shopping that are also a part of the Mastercard Priceless Cities experiential travel platform where travellers from over 90 countries can access unique and unforgettable experiences in over 40 cities around the world.

Bangkok ranked in Top Ten list of global cities for dining and shopping in MasterCard Index 2018

Shopping at The Emquartier, Bangkok

“Dining and Shopping are the key expenditure items that connect visitors to local culture, traditions and history. MasterCard has created an amazing city experience for tourists through the Priceless Cities programme, including Bangkok. Whether it is a vacation in a boutique hotel or tasting famous food in Thailand, MasterCard believes that opening up new experiences will create impressive memories for tourists from all over the world,” said Mr. Donald Ong, Director of MasterCard Thailand and Myanmar.

Mastercard is focused on helping cardholders travel the world with peace of mind through seamless planning, convenience and connectivity at the destination, and worry-free acceptance at millions of locations around the globe. Compelling travel offerings and benefits help travellers every step of their journey. More information can be found at

About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2017, and gives international overnight visitor growth forecasts for 2018. Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 162 destination cities.

Forecasts are based upon the weighted average of the national level tourism forecasts and the actual 2018 monthly data at the destination level, which is available to the latest month before release.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.

Thailand won the most popular tourist destination by China Travel Agent Magazine

Beijing, 12 December, 2018 – Thailand won the Most Popular Tourist Destination Award for Chinese consumers in 2018, according to China Travel Agent Magazine, the country’s top-ranking publication for the Chinese travel trade.

The awards were conferred on 6 December, 2018, at the Regent Hotel, Beijing. The judging committee, selected by the China Travel Agent Magazine, included well-known travel industry experts, representatives of travel agents and media.

Thailand won the most popular tourist destination by China Travel Agent Magazine Thailand is a popular destination for Chinese visitors because of the visa-on-arrival facilities, short travel distance, value for money, diversity of its products and services, and reputation for friendliness and hospitality. Thailand and China also have much in common in terms of food, and cultural and ethnic relationships.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has five full-time marketing offices in Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, more than any other country.

China is Thailand’s leading source market of visitor arrivals. In January – October 2018, Thailand received 9.02 million Chinese visitors, up by almost 10% over the same period of 2017. Based on an average length of stay of eight days, they generated tourism revenue of more than 494 billion Baht, up 12.98% over the same period 2017.

Thailand won the most popular tourist destination by China Travel Agent Magazine

Thailand named the Best Destination in Asia-Pacific by Irish Travel Trade News Awards 2018

Bangkok, 04 December, 2018 – Thailand has been declared the Best Destination in the Asia-Pacific by the Irish Travel Trade News Awards 2018.

The 27th Irish Travel Trade Awards were presented on 23 November, 2018, in seven categories: Airlines, Destinations, Sea Transport, Land Transport, Travel Agency Services, Tour Operators, and All Companies. Thailand won the Best Destination in the Asia-Pacific award, ahead of Australia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Thailand named the Best Destination in Asia-Pacific by Irish Travel Trade News Awards 2018

Mrs. Chiravadee Khunsub, TAT London Office Director (front row, 4th from left), and other winners at the 27th Irish Travel Trade Awards ceremony

Ireland has a small population of 6.6 million people, but a high rate of per capita travel, with 6.3 million outbound trips. The most popular destinations outside Europe are the USA, Canada and Thailand.

In 2017, Thailand received 51,168 Irish visitors, up by 1.54%, generating an estimated 3.3 billion Baht, up by 3.47%.

Although there are no direct flights from Dublin to Bangkok, the Tourism Authority of Thailand works with numerous airline partners to route visitors through London and points in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Between 22-23 November, the TAT London Office met local tourism operators to market Thailand’s niche markets; such as, family holidays, weddings and honeymoons, and health and wellness.

TAT also has an elaborate online training and educational programme for Irish travel agents to keep them updated with new products and services.

The Irish Travel Trade News has been hosting the Irish Travel Trade Awards for over 26 years. The Gala Dinner ceremony is attended by more than 350 industry leaders.

Bangkok awarded “Best City-International Category” by Travel Leisure India’s Best Awards 2018

New Delhi, 22 November, 2018 – Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok has won the top honour as the Best City – International category in the seventh edition of the India’s Best Awards conferred by the leading publication Travel + Leisure India & South Asia at a ceremony on 12 November, 2018.

The award adds to a string of such accolades conferred on Thailand by readers of Travel + Leisure India & South Asia in the annual poll. Thailand was voted the Best Honeymoon Destination (International) in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, and the Best Wedding Destination in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Thailand’s blissful and spectacular beaches, tropical climate, misty mountains, diverse and fascinating culture, hospitable people, exotic cuisine, and world-class luxury hotels and resorts attract visitors and keep bringing them back, so much that it features among the most popular tourist destinations in South East Asia.

Bangkok awarded Best City International Category by Travel Leisure India's Best Awards 2018Bangkok truly deserves the award for Best City – International category, says Mr. Isra Stapanaseth, Director TAT New Delhi Office (above photo, right). This year Amazing Thailand welcomed many top Bollywood stars at the 10th IIFA Awards in Bangkok. In addition, Bangkok was named this year’s Number One city in the world by Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destination Cities Index, the third consecutive year it has been ranked in the top spot.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, “We thank all the readers of Travel + Leisure India for their confidence and votes for Thailand for many years. We are very proud to be recognised thus.

“Bangkok is known the world over for its superb attractions, outstanding cuisine and gastronomical delights, excellent hospitality, friendly people, exemplary service standards, exceptional shopping outlets. Over the next few years, you will see even more positive changes and improvements in what is known as the “City of Life”.

Bangkok awarded Best City International Category by Travel Leisure India's Best Awards 2018

India is one of Thailand top ten sources of visitors, and one of the clubs of countries that generate more than one million visitors a year. In January – September 2018, 1.17 million Indian visitors travelled to Thailand, up by 12% over the same period of 2017, generating an estimated 52.133 billion Baht in tourism revenue, up by 35%. TAT is projecting 1.5 million arrivals from India in 2018.

In 2016, 21.9 million Indians travelled abroad with that figure expected to more than double to about 50 million by 2020. The trip also cultivates Thailand’s good image in India as a preferred destination among Indian travellers through first-hand experiences of the participating travel agents and media members.

Indian leisure travellers generally go shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok and Pattaya with an increasing number also heading to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Chiang Rai, Krabi, Ayutthaya and Ko Chang (Trat). Recent years have also shown a marked rise in the number of Indian film-makers, MICE delegates, wedding parties and honeymooners.

Thailand leads Asia in international visitors spending, UNWTO report

Bangkok, 15 November 2018 – International visitors spent more money in Thailand than in any other Asian country in 2017, according to a UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) report.

The report said that Thailand recorded a total tourism expenditure of USD57 billion in 2017, ahead of Japan (USD34 billion), Hong Kong (USD33 billion), China (USD33 billion) and Taiwan (USD12 billion).

The figures are based on surveys tabulated from credit card spending data and the cash receipts in different countries around the world.

The survey also indicated that Thailand has everything for everyone, ranging from luxury villas on private islands to affordable street food, which is why tourists can always find good valuable experiences in Thailand.

Thailand leads Asia in international visitors spending, UNWTO report

Luxury villa resort at Ko Kut, Trat

Thailand leads Asia in international visitors spending, UNWTO report
Street Food at Yaowarat Road, Bangkok

Thailand leads Asia in international visitors spending, UNWTO report
Train Night Market Ratchada, Bangkok

UNWTO also predicted that tourism expenditure will increase in the next year, thanks to strong Thai tourism promotion campaigns and growing foreign investment in world-class hotels in Thailand.

The full report can be accessed here.

Moreover, Bangkok ranked number one on the list of the world’s most-visited cities, according to MasterCard’s annual Global Destination Cities Index 2018. It has been ranked #1 for three consecutive years.

The MasterCard index showed that Thailand is also the only country which has three cities ranked on the list of the world’s most-visited cities: Bangkok (1st), Phuket (12th), and Pattaya (18th).

Other strengths which make Thailand such a popular tourism destination include good infrastructure, the perfect combination between business and holiday travel, as well as the unique and charm of the Thai culture.

In addition, Thailand has hosted many global events in recent years and the government has a policy of visa exemptions and improved air connectivity that has also contributed to the positive results as well as the addition of special checkpoints for Chinese tourists.

According to preliminary figures tabulated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand welcomed visitor arrivals of 28,541,887 in January-September 2018, up by 8.71% over the same period of 2017. Estimated visitor expenditure also rose significantly, up 20% to 1.49 trillion Baht.

This is the breakdown of the estimated expenditure by the top ten performing markets during January-September 2018.


CountryTourism Revenue (Million Baht)% Change
4South Korea60,6405.51


Remark: Preliminary figures
Source: Ministry of Tourism and Sports

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), a United Nations specialised agency, is the leading international organisation with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 158 countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 500 Affiliate Members.


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