Friendly Thailand

Top 10 friendliest and unfriendliest countries in the world. Graphic © InterNations

Thailand has been ranked fifth among the "Top 10 Friendliest Destinations For Families Living Abroad", according to the annual Expat Insider survey conducted by InterNations, the website of expatriate networks that has 2.6 million members in 390 cities.

Based on the insights of more than 3,000 expat families given in the annual Expat Insider survey, the top 10 are Uganda, Israel, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Thailand, Greece, Australia, Mexico, Turkey and the Philippines.

According to the survey, every single expat parent in Uganda rates the friendliness of the local population towards children positively, and 68% are satisfied with the warm attitude towards families, whereas the global average is only 39%. Uganda also does well regarding children's safety as 81% rate the safety positively, which is more than, for example, in the United States (75%). Israel ranks high with regard to education and health while Taiwan also has outstanding rankings for working abroad, quality of life, and personal finances.

Costa Rica and Thailand additionally offer good leisure opportunities for children. In addition, Thailand receives high satisfactory ratings of children's health (76%) and general well-being (81%).

The survey also found the top 10 least welcoming family destinations in the world. Switzerland has the lowest ranking in this respect although 94% of expat parents are satisfied with their children's health and safety.

Russia, coming in second to last for its lack of friendliness towards families, followed by Austria, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Hong Kong, Belgium, Qatar, Italy and Czech Republic.

Resilient Tourism

Travel and tourism generated one in 10 of the world's jobs in 2016 as the sector grew by 3.3%, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

WTTC conducted the Economic Impact Report 2017 in conjunction with Oxford Economics, a global advisory firm. According to the research, travel and tourism generated US$7.6 trillion (262 trillion baht) worldwide, which is 10.2% of global GDP.

The sector supported a total of 292 million jobs in 2016, or one in 10 of all jobs in the world compared to US$7.2 trillion in GDP, supporting 284 million jobs the year before.

Additionally, money spent by foreign visitors accounted for 6.6% of total world exports, and almost 30% of total world services exports.

"This is the sixth year in a row that travel and tourism has outpaced the global economy, showing the sector's resilience and the eagerness of people to continue to travel and discover new places, despite economic and political challenges across the world," said WTTC President and CEO avid Scowsill.

He said the continuous growth underlines the significance of business and leisure travel in driving economic development and job creation throughout the world.

Southeast Asia was the region with the fastest growing travel and tourism sector in 2016, up 8.3% from the year before. It was driven by the expanding Chinese outbound market and the countries own growing markets. Latin America (0.2%), on the other hand, was the slowest growing region.

Travel and tourism is expected to grow by 3.8% in 2017, generating US$ 7.9 trillion. Over the next decade the sector is forecast to grow at an average of 3.9% per year. By 2027 it will generate more than 11% of the world's GDP and employ a total of 380 million people.


Airlines update

AirAsia has signed up as the Official Airline Partner for the 29th Southeast Asian Games and ninth Asean Para Games to be held in Malaysia.

As a Gold Sponsor, the airline will provide flights for Malaysia Organising Committee officials within the airline's Asean network for the purpose of organising the games.

"The games are a good example of what the region can achieve as one. This also marks the start of a deeper, more meaningful engagement with the sports community through our Dare to Dream platform, which will see AirAsia help more athletes from Asean and beyond realise their full potential," said AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes.

A total of 405 events in 38 sports will be contested in this year's SEA Games by athletes from all 10 Asean nations and Timor Leste from Aug 19-31.

The Asean Para Games will have 16 para-sports. The event will be held from Sept 17-23.

Hotels update

Three hotels in Thailand were ranked among top 100 Best Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure readers.

Every year the magazine asks its readers to rate hotels based on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value.

Based on the survey, the world's best hotel is Nihiwatu Resort in Indonesia, followed by the Spectator Hotel in South Carolina, Huka Lodge in New Zealand and Southern Ocean Lodge in Australia, which shares the fourth position with Montage Kapalua Bay Hotel in Hawaii.

For Thailand, the three properties listed at the world's best hotels are 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai (37th), Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai (66th) and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai (72nd).


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