Reality check, Bangkok visitors aren’t spending any money, officially

An Uzbek woman who was trafficked to Thailand and forced to sell sex shares the story of her escape.
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Bangkok may be the most visited destination in Asia-Pacific among foreign visitors, but it is Singapore where they spend the most.

The latest findings by Mastercard showed that over the past two years (2015-16), Singapore tracked strong 18% growth in total visitor spending.

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One of only five destinations of the top 20 by total expenditure to reach minimum spending of US$200 (6,926 baht) per day, Singapore attracted the highest-spending visitors at $254 last year, followed by Beijing ($242), Shanghai ($234), Hong Kong ($242) and Taipei ($208).

Bangkok was at only $145, according to the global payment service company. This may be because most spending in Thailand is in cash and not for recorded goods and services.

Spurred by Asia-Pacific’s burgeoning middle class, overall tourism expenditure in the region jumped from $142 billion in 2009 to $245 billion in 2016.

Moreover, Asia Pacific’s top 20 source markets contributed $202 billion to the region’s tourism revenue in 2016.

The Mastercard analysis said that last year was an exciting period for tourism in Asia-Pacific.

The growth was driven by rising consumer wealth in Asia-Pacific’s emerging markets, with the region’s thriving tourism industry continuing to show vigorous progress.

It is the world’s fastest growing region for international tourism by GDP contribution, with tourism making up 8.5% of Asia-Pacific’s GDP and 8.7% of total employment last year.

Half of the top 20 most-visited destinations in Asia-Pacific saw more than 10% growth in international overnight arrivals from 2015-16.

Destinations that benefited the most from this growth include the Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian markets — Seoul (32.7%), Osaka (23.8%), Bali (22.5%), Tokyo (22.2%), Hokkaido (21.9%), Chiba (21.5%) and Pattaya (20.6%).

Overnight arrivals to 171 Asia-Pacific destinations in 2016 stood at 339 million (up 9.8% from 2009-16), led by Bangkok, which attracted 19.3 million visitors.

Singapore (13.1 million arrivals) came in second place, followed by Tokyo (12.6 million), Seoul (12.4 million) and Kuala Lumpur (11.3 million).

China stands as Asia-Pacific’s most avid outbound travel market, having contributed 55 million international overnight visitors to the region last year or 16.2% of the total.

-The Bangkok Post

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