Thailand Wins Best Beach Awards

Some great news was announced by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently regarding four locations inside Thailand being awarded Top Asian Beach Destinations by the website Tripadvisor. This is obviously great news and something to be proud of in reaching this achievement. However, I think the spin doctors over at TAT were working a bit too hard with their press release.

For the record, here are the full Travelers’ Choice Awards 2010 as chosen by visitors to Tripadvisor. The words in bold are from the TAT press release but the Top 10 charts I took from the Tripadvisor website. I wanted to see who beat us so that we could see what is needed to regain the crown.

The results of the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice 2010 awards are in, and the beautiful islands of Thailand brought home four out of 10 awards for beach destinations in Asia. The islands of Ko Lanta, Khao Lak, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui were ranked #3, #4, #5 and #6, respectively, on the list of “Top 10 Beach & Sun Destinations in Asia.” With these honors, Thailand became the most-awarded Asian country in the category, besting Vietnam, the Maldives and the Philippines.

Top 10 Beach & Sun Destinations in the World

1. Providenciales
2. Tulum, Mexico
3. Byron Bay, Australia
4. Cook Islands
5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
6. Huatulco, Mexico
7. Negril, Jamaica
8. Culebra, Puerto Rico
9. Boracay, Philippines
10. San Diego, California

As you can see, no beaches in Thailand were featured in the Top 10 for the World. We have to click through to the list for Asia to find Thailand.

Top 10 Beach & Sun Destinations in Asia

1. Boracay, Philippines
2. Maldives
3. Ko Lanta, Thailand
4. Khao Lak, Thailand
5. Ko Phangan, Thailand
6. Koh Samui, Thailand

7. Miyakojima, Japan
8. El Nido, Philippines
9. Ishigaki, Japan
10. Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

In other award categories voted on by TripAdvisor users, Thailand fared equally well. In “Top 10 Culture & Sightseeing Destinations in Asia,” the Thai cities of Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Ayutthaya all made the list-with Bangkok also being named to the “Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations in Asia.” And the islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Samui were both named the “Top 10 Romance Destinations in Asia” and the “Top 10 Relaxation & Spa Destinations in Asia,” with Chiang Mai also awarded the latter.

As before, we are not in the lists for Top 10 World but only in the category for Asia. We really should be number one here.

Top 10 Culture & Sightseeing Destinations in Asia

1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
2. Kyoto, Japan
3. Luang Prabang, Laos
4. Beijing, China
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
6. Ubud, Indonesia
7. Yangshuo County, China
8. Xi’an, China
9. Bangkok, Thailand
10. Ayutthaya, Thailand

See what I mean about our neighbours not only catching us up, but also overtaking us. Sometimes we forget that other countries have strong cultures too. The next one is for food which I think we would all agree is our number one strength. But, our positioning here is very embarrassing.

Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations in Asia

1. Sapporo, Japan
2. Hakodate, Japan
3. Seminyak, Indonesia
4. Hong Kong, China
5. Hoi An, Vietnam
6. Taipei, Taiwan
7. Kyoto, Japan
8. Fukuoka, Japan
9. Bangkok, Thailand
10. Singapore, Singapore

Top 10 Romance Destinations in Asia

1. Maldives
2. Jimbaran, Indonesia
3. Hakodate, Japan
4. Ko Lanta, Thailand
5. Ubud, Indonesia
6. Kyoto, Japan
7. Koh Samui, Thailand
8. Boracay, Philippines
9. Hoi An, Vietnam
10. Langkawi, Malaysia

Top 10 Relaxation & Spa Destinations in Asia

1. Ubud, Indonesia
2. Koh Samui, Thailand
3. Maldives
4. Miyakojima, Japan
5. Seminyak, Indonesia
6. Ko Lanta, Thailand
7. Chiang Mai, Thailand

8. Ishigaki, Japan
9. Boracay, Philippines
10. Nusa Dua, Indonesia

“We are immensely proud to have Thailand recognized so extensively in such diverse categories by the members of the TripAdvisor community,” says Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) – New York. “It is particularly gratifying for Thailand to be awarded for its many facets, including beaches, cultural sites, food and spas.”

Although this and the other awards are good news, they are not as good as they should be or have been in the past. Our standards are slipping which is something we cannot afford at this present time. I think many of us are guilty of resting on our laurels when we receive these awards. The plaques look good on the wall, but unless we actually do something to protect and correctly develop these tourist destinations, then we are going to find that our neighbouring countries will quickly catch us up.

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