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Bangkok is the world’s most visited city again, fourth year in a row

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Bangkok is again the world’s most-visited city for the fourth consecutive year, beating out Paris and London. The rankings are compiled annually by Mastercard. Welcoming around 22.7 million international visitors, Bangkok ranked as the top destination for global travellers this year.

Many of Bangkok’s visitors originate from these top five destinations, listed in order: Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, India and the United Kingdom. Popular attractions include the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and for a day trip outside the city, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

According to the listing, Bangkok was host to more than 22 million international overnight travellers. Paris and London were in second and third place with just over over 19 million overnight stayers each. Other Asian cities in the Top 10 include Singapore at #5 and KL at #6, and Tokyo at #9. South east Asia’s other popular tropical destination, Bali, came in at #19.

The Mastercard Index, which expanded this year to look at global 162 cities, is not simply a ranking of the top travel destinations. Based on visitor volume and spend for the 2018 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2019.

London was the only city in the top 10 cities to score a drop in international overnight visitors declining almost 4%. Tokyo is forecast to have the largest growth in arrivals this year, an increase of 10% to more than 14 million.

Phuket and Pattaya also scored in the top 20 most popular locations this year, #14 and #15 respectively.

Thailand’s tourism industry on some measures accounts for about a fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product. A boom in the sector fizzled this year as the baht strengthened and the global economy slowed.

Top 10 cities ranked by 2018 visitor numbers

1. Bangkok, Thailand: 22.78 million international overnight visitors

2. Paris, France: 19.10 million international overnight visitors

3. London, England: 19.09 million international overnight visitors

4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 15.93 million international overnight visitors

5. Singapore: 14.67 million international overnight visitors

6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 13.79 million international overnight visitors

7. New York City, USA: 13.60 million international overnight visitors

8. Istanbul, Turkey: 13.40 million international overnight visitors

9. Tokyo, Japan: 12.93 million international overnight visitors

10. Antalya, Turkey: 12.41 million international overnight visitors

Read the full report HERE.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday

Maya Taylor

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PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha will receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, while Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will receive the Chinese jab. According to a Bangkok Post report, Sopon Mekthon from the sub-committee on vaccine management says both politicians will receive their vaccines at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute. On Monday, the vaccination of priority groups in specific provinces will get underway.

Speaking about the arrival of the long-awaited vaccines yesterday, Anutin said the first batch would be distributed free of charge, with costs covered by the government.

“The vaccines are for Thais and those living in the country. Anyone who charges for the vaccine will face legal action.”

Thailand has taken delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab and 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The arrival of the AstraZeneca jab took many by surprise, with no mention of its imminent arrival, unlike the PR hoopla surrounding the arrival of its Chinese counterpart. Another 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine are expected next month, followed by a further 1 million in April. After that, the rest of Thailand’s vaccines will be from AstraZeneca, with 26 million locally-manufactured doses expected to be available from May to June and another 35 million after that.

Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived this week as a result of a commitment by the pharmaceutical giant to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“The AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Thailand must receive a lot release certificate from the Department of Medical Sciences before distribution to priority groups designated by the Department of Disease Control.”

Meanwhile, Thares Karasnairaviwong from the Department of Health Service Support says over 1.5 million village health volunteers are educating local residents about the importance of vaccination and establishing how many people fall into the priority groups who will be first to be inoculated.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Day trip to Bangkok’s closest island – Koh Si Chang | VIDEO

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Day trip to Bangkok’s closest island – Koh Si Chang | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Ko Si Chang (or Koh Sichang) is a district of Chon Buri Province, Thailand. It consists of the island of Ko Si Chang and its adjoining islands. Ko Si Chang is in the Gulf of Thailand, 12 kilometres off the shore of the Si Racha District coastline. It’s the closest island to Bangkok and a popular weekend away for Bangkokians. Pangrum takes us on a quick visit to the island with today’s latest Thaiger Vlog.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand acknowledges wildlife markets could be dangerous to humans

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Thailand acknowledges wildlife markets could be dangerous to humans | The Thaiger

The Thai Ministry of Public Health is being praised after seemingly doing an about face over whether Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market could be the source of Covid‐19. After health officials denied that the World Health Organisation was investigating the market, a recent Facebook live press conference saw the Ministry acknowledging that wildlife trades may endanger public health.

The recent investigation by the WHO of Wuhan, the province in China where Covid19 is thought to have originated, has concluded that the virus most likely did not come from a laboratory, and instead, came from animals supplied by Chinese wildlife breeding farms, or from infected animals traded somewhere in Southeast Asia. As Chatuchak Market is arguably the region’s largest illegal wildlife trade market, a Danish virologist on the WHO investigation team pointed towards the Bangkok market as a potential source of the Covid19 virus.

Now, the Thai Ministry of Public Health is going to collaborate with the Ministry of Environment and its Department of National Parks to closely inspect Chatuchak market, and roll out a joint plan to increase wildlife protection and stop the wild animal trade in markets.

Southeast Asia has historically supplied most of China’s wildlife trade, which the virologist sees as worrisome. As commercially traded animals can carry pathogens that could compromise a human’s immune system. For example, in 2019, zebras that were legally imported into Thailand, carried a small fly species that jumped to local horses, causing African Horse Sickness. The mortality rate was over 90%, causing over 600 horse deaths.

Some animals are especially susceptible to viruses hosted by bats, such as the SARS virus. That virus jumped from a civet cat that was infected by a bat. Other viruses that are thought to have jumped from bats to other animals include rabies and Ebola. Minks and Pangolins have also been discovered to carry a coronavirus and are still being commercially traded in Southeast Asia today.

In a spotcheck carried out by Freeland, a global nonprofit organisation, Chatuchak Market is still selling ferrets, coati, civets, polecats, mongoose, raccoons, meerkats, scarlet macaws, capybara, african gray parrots, cougars, multiple species of turtles, snakes, rodents and lizards from Latin America, Africa and Australia.

SOURCE: Freeland

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