Students from Princess of Naradhiwas University wear colourful costumes during the annual parade on Wednesday. AFP
Bangkok ranked first in 2018 for the fourth straight year as the city with the most international visitors, according to an annual report by Mastercard released Wednesday.
With almost 23 million international visitors last year, the Thai capital outpaced both Paris and London, which were second and third with just over 19 million visitors.
Other top cities in order were: Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Istanbul, Tokyo and Antalya, Turkey.
The report pointed to broad increases in international travel, with the total number of international visits up 76 per cent since 2009.
Nine of the top 10 cities saw increases in 2018 compared with the prior year. London was the exception, with a drop of four per cent.
Dubai topped the list in consumption, with travellers spending an average of $553 per day and visitors spending a total of nearly $31 billion. Makkah, Saudi Arabia and Bangkok were second and third as far as spending.
Established in 2011, the Global Destination Cities ranks 200 cities based on visitor arrivals and cross-border spending.
Despite Bangkok's longtime reign atop the list, the Thai tourism industry has faced headwinds, with arrivals dropping 1.03% year-on-year in May before recovering to grow 0.89% in June from a year earlier.
Tourism accounts for about 12% of Thailand's economy.
A general view of agricultural land is seen through the window of an airplane of EgyptAir after the rain, over Bangkok on Wednesday. Reuters
However, weaker Chinese economic growth and a boat accident last year led to a drop off in Chinese arrivals in Thailand in the first half of this year.
The downturn in the number of visitors from China was partially offset by Indian arrivals.
Thailand expects to welcome 2 million Indian tourists in 2019, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, told Reuters, adding this was one year earlier than its target.
In August, the government extended a waiver of a 2,000 baht ($65) fee for visa-on-arrivals for tourists from 18 countries including those from China and India.
A growing middle class and increasing wealth in populations and the rise of low-cost airlines will make travel more accessible, Minor Hotels Chief Executive, Dilip Rajakrier, said in an email.
"Given only less than 10% of the China's total population having passports today. The potential of the Chinese market will never fade," he said.
Tourists will have to stay for at least 30 days, with the first 14 days in quarantine in a limited vicinity of their hotel, before they can visit other areas.
Here young elephants are "broken" to interact with tens of millions of tourists who visit Thailand every year, many eager to capture social media-worthy encounters of the kingdom's national animal playing sports, dancing and even painting.
At Bangkok's Reclining Buddha temple Krairath Chantrasri says he is a proud custodian of a 2,000-year-old skill - the body-folding, sharp-elbowed techniques of Thai massage, which this week could be added to UNESCO's prestigious heritage list.
Hotels on Thailand's most popular holiday island have been forced to slash prices with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as tourist chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht.
A mecca for fitness aficionados and aspiring MMA fighters, Bhupesh, an accomplished MMA fighter and the proprietor of this high-end fitness haven, has become a formidable name in the industry, organizing significant MMA events and fostering upcoming talent.
“These findings highlight the potential advantages of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for ASCVD in the general population.”
While hosting an Oprah Daily panel on the obesity and weight crisis, she said that it happened when she was shopping.
Conan, a six-month-old stray, joined the security team of the Worldwide Corporate Center in the capital Manila several months ago. He is one of the lucky moggies unofficially adopted by security guards across the city, where thousands of cats live on the street.