Bangkok, capital of the Kingdom of Thailand since 1782, had been long known by foreign merchants as a dynamic port on the way to Ayutthaya. Today, Bangkok continues to attract worldwide travellers both for business (14.4%) and leisure (85.6%). It was, in fact, ranked the first destination by the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, 2016.
One of the largest ASEAN cities, Bangkok is determined to face the future with innovative projects such as One Bangkok, an integrated district focused on environmental sustainability and smart-city living.
But how promising is the city in terms of business and tourism attractiveness? How well does it perform in terms of sustainability? How influential is it worldwide?
In our Bangkok city guide:
- Bangkok’s business and tourism attractiveness;
- Bangkok and sustainability;
- How attractive for digital nomads?
- Bangkok’s global influence.
Bangkok’s business and tourism attractiveness
One of the biggest assets for many of the ASEAN countries, as shown by the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (2017), is tourism. Most of them are ranked above the 50th position in this specific pillar and tend to prioritize tourism in their development agendas.
This is definitely Bangkok’s case. Although not specifically included in the TTCI as this index evaluates countries and not cities, Thailand’s rank (34th out of 136) gives an idea of how important and well-developed tourism is in the Kingdom’s capital.
Third in the region after Singapore and Malaysia, Thailand was also labelled one of the 10 fastest growing destinations for leisure travel spending. Its best performing indicator was tourist service infrastructure (16th) and its less performing one was environmental sustainability (122nd).
As for Ease of Doing Business (2018) the country was ranked 26th out of 190 with an overall score of 77.44. Above it in the region are Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Thailand managed to increase its score by 5.68 points for 2018 and made it to the top 10 improvers thanks to its advancement in post registration processes, transaction security and land administration system.
Bangkok and sustainability
However promising the business and tourism landscape, Bangkok has a harder time performing in sustainability indexes. Ranked only 67th among 100 in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index (2016), the city doesn’t make it to the top half in either of the three areas comprised in the index: it is ranked 64th for People, 79th for Planet and 53rd for Profit.
The Green City Index (2012) doesn’t give it a good mark either as it places it below average in terms of sustainability performance of Asian cities. Singapore, as well as Japanese and Korean cities were found to perform better than Bangkok.
How attractive for digital nomads?
As Bangkok is becoming an increasingly popular destination to go to, so is it for digital nomads. The Nomad List considers the city very affordable, with a great nightlife and great WiFi possibilities. One should, however, bear in mind that it can get very hot and rainy in Thailand’s capital city, and it can get very busy in traffic.
The city is not doing very well in terms of the natural environment, especially air quality. Unfortunately, there is not much more data to be found online about digital life in Thailand’s capital.
Global influence and reputation
In terms of global influence, although it reported a large gain in Cultural Interaction in the Global Power City Index (2017), Bangkok’s performance is still remarkably low: ranked 33rd among 44 cities globally, with an overall score of 908.8/1800. Its cultural uplift, where it reached the 13th rank, was possible thanks to an increase in the number of international conferences it hosted, the number of museums and number of visitors from abroad.
As for reputation, the Kingdom’s capital didn’t perform any better: it was ranked 49th among 56 cities in the City RepTrack (2017) as opposed to Thailand as country, which enjoyed 22nd position in the country ranking.
Bangkok ranks 59th in the 2018 World’s Best Cities report. Here, its strongest pillars are programming of events (16th) and promotion (17th) which shows that as a destination, the city is doing a good job at achieving positive media coverage and references. Bangkok’s lowest-performing asset is people where it ranks 133rd .
As for innovation, this year Bangkok ranks 106th in the Innovation Cities index. With that, Bangkok has shown an important 12-position improvement in its performance as a hub for innovation.
Last updated September 2019
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