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Thailand is top Asia-Pacific tourist stop thanks to Chinese

Thailand is top Asia-Pacific tourist stop thanks to Chinese

THURSDAY, January 28, 2016
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Singapore - Chinese tourists can't seem toget enough of Thailand, with visitor numbers to the SoutheastAsian kingdom surging over the past year at one of the fastestclips in the Asia-Pacific region.

In a year that saw the Thai military government grapple with an outbreak of the deadly flu-like MERS virus as well as the bombing at a major shrine, Chinese tourists helped turn Bangkok in to the region's most-visited destination in 2015, according to the first-ever MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index published on Wednesday.
All three Thai destinations in the 10 most-visited list -Phuket was ranked fifth, Pattaya eighth - recorded more than 10 percent year-on-year growth in international arrivals, outpacing other locations like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which were at No.2 and No.4, respectively.
In 2016, the Thai government expects Chinese visitors tomake up a larger proportion of the record 32 million people forecast to visit. "What's ultimately driving Thailand is the Chinese," said Matthew Driver, MasterCard's Asia-Pacific group executive for products and solutions, told Reuters.
The survey ranked 167 islands, towns and cities in 22 countries across the Asia-Pacific. Japanese destinations recorded the fastest growth in 2015, the index also showed, as the weaker yen continued to attract Chinese tourists in droves. Tokyo was the second-most visited city, with Osaka rounding off the top 10.//Reuters