MasterCard: Bangkok world number three in foodie spending

Bangkok ranks third in the world for spending on food and drinks by tourists, and sixth in the world for spending by tourists on shopping, underscoring the Thai capital’s appeal, according to global credit card company MasterCard, which released its latest Global Destination Cities Index released last week.

As earlier reported, Bangkok was named the number one destination for overnight visitors for the third consecutive year in the same MasterCard survey, with Phuket finishing in 12th place and Pattaya in 18th place. Thailand was the only country to have three destinations in the top 20.

Thailand’s savory and original cuisine has had a growing worldwide profile for decades. In recent years, however, Bangkok’s menu of cuisines on offer has become increasingly international, cosmopolitan and varied. The increasing variety and quality have contributed to making the Thai capital a leading destination for “foodie” travelers.

The variety covers the full spectrum from fine dining to street food. Within the last few years, Michelin has begun rating restaurants in Thailand, and one Bangkok restaurant, Gaggan, has been named the best restaurant in Asia for four consecutive years by Restaurant magazine.

Virtually every major street in Bangkok is home to vendors and selling street food, and tourists of every income level invariably sample the fare. The reputation of Thai street food is so strong that even Michelin reviewed and rated several well-known street food establishments.

In the MasterCard survey, visitors spend $3.37 billion on dining in Bangkok in 2018, or 20.6 percent of their travel budgets. Dubai was ranked first at $5.94 billion or 20 percent of visitors’ budgets, followed by Palma de Mallorca in Spain with $3.78 billion or 31.6 percent of visitors’ budgets. Singapore and London also made the top 10, but with lower percentages of visitors’ budgets.

Bangkok has long been known as a shopper’s paradise, and the capital came in sixth in the world for visitors’ spending on shopping in the MasterCard survey. Visitors spent $3.75 billion on shopping or about 23 percent of their travel budgets.

The bargains were better in Bangkok, as visitors to London, Seoul, and Tokyo spent more than 40 percent of their travel budgets at the shops in those cities.

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