Top Tourism Cities

Top Tourism Cities

Tourists in Yaowarat. Photo: SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUN

Bangkok has the fifth largest tourism revenues in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The Asia Pacific City Travel & Tourism Impact report looks at the contribution of travel and tourism to city economies and job creation. The study covers 65 cities, 21 of which are in Asia-Pacific.

It found that Shanghai is the city with the largest travel and tourism gross domestic product (GDP) contribution in the world, at US$30.2 billion.

Strong growth has been fuelled by the Chinese domestic market and infrastructure investment such as the 2010 World Expo. Shanghai accounts for 11% of China’s overall travel and tourism GDP contribution.

Second largest city in terms of annual tourism GDP contribution is Beijing (953 billion baht), followed by Tokyo (671 billion baht), Shenzhen (625 billion baht), Bangkok (605 billion baht), Guangzhou (508 billion baht), Hong Kong (485 billion baht), Singapore (412 billion baht), Macau (405 billion baht) and Chongqing (316 billion baht).

The WTTC also forecasted that Chongqing will see the fastest tourism increase in 2026 with 14% growth per year. Second on the list will be Guangzhou (13.1%), followed by Shanghai (12.8%), Beijing (12%), Chengdu (11.2%), Manila (10.9%), Delhi (10.8%), Shenzhen (10.7%), Kuala Lumpur (10.1%) and Jakarta (10%).

The report also found that eight cities contributing more than 25% of their country’s travel & tourism economy are Auckland, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul and Sydney.

Visit www.wttc.org.

BEST PASSPORTS

Singapore has become the first country in the world where its passport holders can visit 159 countries either visa-free or by obtaining a visa on arrival.

Paraguay removed visa requirements for Singaporeans, making Singapore’s passport the world’s most powerful, according to the Passport Index of Arton Capital, a global advisory firm for residence and citizenship solutions.

According to the company, the index ranks national passports of 199 countries and territories by cross-border access. It applies a “visa-free score” calculating from the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival. It also takes the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme into account.

In the past, the top 10 most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years. Since early 2017, the number one position was shared with Singapore, which was steadily going up.

The Thai passport is ranked in 54th position where 72 countries offer visa free and visa on arrival for Thai passport holders.

At the bottom of the ranking is Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia.

Visit passportindex.org.

AIRLINES UPDATE

Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways have introduced Apple Pay as an option of mobile payment. Passengers can securely pay for their tickets, travel insurance, excess baggage and other purchases by using mobile apps.

With Apple Pay, the debit or credit card details of passengers are not stored on the mobile device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique device account number is assigned, encrypted and stored in the secure element of the mobile device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.

In addition, Singapore Airlines also introduced Android Pay for Android phone users.

For Android Pay, the card details and billing addresses of passengers are already stored in their Android Pay accounts. Passengers do not need to fill up the payment information while using the mobile payment method.

Qatar Airways will launch direct flights to Penang in Malaysia on Feb 6 next year.

The airline will fly three times per week to the island with Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

The flight will depart from Doha at 2.30am and will arrive in Penang at 2.30pm (local time). The return flight will depart from Penang at 8.30pm and will land in Doha at 11.20pm. The travel time is about seven hours.

Visit qatarairways.com.

HOTELS UPDATE

Well Hotels & Resorts has signed a contract with Chon Buri-based Ban Sabai Rim Taley Company to manage two hotels in Pattaya.

Costa Well Resort Pattaya is a new property located on Na Jomtien 56 in Sattahip District. It features 110 rooms with choices of a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and two-bedroom duplex types. Other facilities are meeting rooms, a ballroom, restaurants, two rooftop salted swimming pools and on-site spa.

The hotel was soft-launched earlier this year with 46 outdoor Jacuzzi rooms and suites. It plans to fully open all the room types by the end of this year.

Costa Village Well Pool Villa Pattaya, on the other hand, is renamed from Costa Village Pattaya. Located on Jomtien 9, the boutique resort offers nine villas and a restaurant.

Visit costavillagepattaya.com.

Avani Sunset Coast Samui Resort & Villas will be open in September next year.

Located on Taling Ngam Beach, the resort will feature 39 rooms, 19 pool villas, a restaurant, two swimming pools, pool bar, fitness centre, spa, meeting and event facilities. The resort is about 40-minutes drive from Samui International Airport.

Visit minorhotels.com/en/avani/samui.


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