For the first time, Bangkok, Thailand's capital, is top of Travel + Leisure's World's Best City list following its 2008 World's Best Awards readers' survey. This further strengthens Bangkok's image as a major tourist destination in the world.
The win does not come as a surprise for Bangkok. The city has always been a consistent placer in the top 5 for the last three consecutive years on the US-based travel magazine's list, but its 13th Annual World's Best Awards Readers' Survey Results announced July 10, 2008, marked the first time that the Thai capital was able to snatch the top ranking.
According to Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, (TAT) "Bangkok deserves the top ranking in the world's best city survey because it has everything to offer to different types of visitors, from its modern infrastructure and world-renowned hospitality and service, to our rich culture and to-die-for cuisine."
The opening of Suvarnnabhumi International Airport just three years ago was a sign of Thailand's strong commitment to the tourism industry. The new airport link due to be operational in the near future confirms the city's commitment to constantly upgrading its infrastructure for the greater convenience of all visitors to the country. To provide an added dimension to the already rich culture in the capital city of Thailand is the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, which stands to become one of the city's major attractions.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration(BMA) is keen on further uplifting the overall image of the city. Mr. Apirak Kosayodhin, Governor of Bangkok, said that the survey results will influence the decision making of visitors who are considering a visit to Thailand during the high tourism season during the last quarter onwards. Currently, the BMA's campaign is emphasizing on the ‘Five Charms of Bangkok': culture, the Chao Phraya River, shopping, nightlife and cuisine.
The city of Bangkok has always been a perennial winner of tourism awards given by international organisations, and consistently scores high in readers' surveys conducted by leading travel magazines such as Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler.
Bangkok was named World's Best City 2008 with a score of 87.61, ahead of Argentina's Buenos Aires, last year's runner up, and Cape Town, South Africa, which jumped from no. 10 in 2007.
Being voted the best city in the world secures the capital's top position in the 10 Best Asian cities, fending off the challenge by Kyoto which climbed up to second place from no. 6 in last year's survey. Thailand's Chiang Mai has retained its no. 3 ranking for two successive years, remaining as one of the most preferred choices among visitors to Thailand after Bangkok.
All winners of the Travel + Leisure 2008 World's Best Awards will be honoured in New York City on 24 July.