Survey ranks City of Angels as world’s best-value long-haul destination

LEAD-IN: Foreign tourists take pictures as they visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok in this June 2, 2013 file photo. Thailand’s economy expanded for the first time in three quarters in July-September but at a slower pace than expected, suggesting the central bank will keep rates low to support growth in the face of still-weak domestic demand. The government said on November 18, 2013 that third-quarter growth was driven by strong gains in tourism.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was pleased with an international tourism survey that ranked Bangkok as the world’s best-value long-haul city break in 2017.

He was impressed after being briefed that visitors can spend the longest holidays with the cheapest budget in Thailand’s capital.

The survey conducted by Post Office Travel Money was published on the websites of British newspapers, including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph, on Aug 5. It reported visitors to Bangkok can spend the lowest budget on qualified services for accommodation, food, transport and tourist attractions compared with cities in other countries. The average total expenses for three days in Bangkok were about £317 (13,700 baht), the survey said.

Bangkok was also lauded as a vibrant city with attractive activities and culture as well as various sightseeing sites, particularly temples and palaces.

Gen Prayut said the survey was in accordance with the government’s policy to encourage foreigners to extend their stay and spend more money in the country in order to boost the economy.

To enhance Thailand’s tourism, several measures to promote tourism have also been devised, including exemption of visa fees, extension of stays for long-stay foreigners, providing convenience for foreign visitors and crackdowns on tourism scams such as zero-dollar tours. The prime minister also focused on issues relating to tourism and insisted problems must be solved.

For example, he ordered authorities to urgently find a solution after many tourists were forced to endure long waits at immigration checkpoints due to insufficient officers recently.

The problem was later solved and received compliments from the public, Gen Prayut said.

The survey analysed the cost of 11 items: a cup of coffee (regular filter) at a cafe/bar; bottle of beer/lager (330ml local brand) at a cafe/bar; Coca-Cola/Pepsi (330ml bottle/can) at a cafe/bar; glass of wine (175ml house) at a cafe/bar; three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of house wine; return bus or train transfer from airport to city centre; sightseeing on a city bus/boat tour; top tourist heritage attraction; top museum; top art gallery; and three nights’ four-star accommodation (weekend) for two adults.

Besides Bangkok, other cities ranked among the world’s best-value long-haul city breaks were Tokyo, Japan (£331); Beijing, China (£337); Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (£361); Cape Town, South Africa; Singapore; Washington DC, the US; Toronto, Canada; New York and Boston, both in the US, with costs of £711 and £823 respectively.

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