Despite seeing an overall drop in tourist numbers this year, Thailand remains one of the world's most popular and visited countries. The Kingdom continues to be recognised internationally as a leading destination with travel industry awards offering a useful insight into global travel trends and tastes.Â
Throughout 2010, Thailand has been recognised as one of the world's top destinations. At the beginning of the year, Thailand travel news, an independent Swedish travel trade magazinepresented its annual Grand Travel Award for the eighteenth time and Thailand ranked first for the eighth consecutive year as the World's Best Tourist Country . The prestigious award presentation ceremony was attended by 700 guests. The Kingdom also received the Go Asia Award in the Best Asian Destination category. In fact, Thailand has received the Go Asia Award for Best Destination in Asia for five consecutive years since 2005. Â
Specific destinations within the Kingdom also scooped a number of awards in 2010. Bangkok regained the top spot in Travel + Leisure's 2010 World's Best Awards readers' survey, closely followed by Chiang Mai in second place. In the Best City category, readers were asked to rate sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping and value. Â
Back in May, the results of the TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice 2010 awards saw Thailand claim four out of 10 accolades for its beach destinations. The islands of Koh 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,ahead of regional competitors such as Vietnam, the Maldives and the Philippines. Â
More recently, at The World Travel Awards in Delhi, the industry's elite - including CEOs and directors of leading travel companies, government ministers and tourist board chiefs gathered to see who would be crowned the best of the best'. Established 17 years ago, the WTA is committed to raising the standards of customer service and overall business performance throughout the international industry. Destinations in Thailand scooped awards for honeymoon, spa, golf and design. Â
Specific companies and organisations also did well this year. Thai Airwaysreceived an award for "Best Intercontinental Airline". Presented by the Norwegian Grand Travel Association. This is the sixth consecutive year that THAI has won this prestigious award. Bangkok Airways also came 3RD in the Skytrax Best Regional Airline category, whileThailand's international airport made the top 10 list in the The Skytrax World Airport Awards. With the long-awaited express rail service from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to downtown Bangkok finally open officials expect to see continued improvement for the airport's rankings. Â
Beyond hospitality, the Tourism Authority of Thailand was also voted the Best Asian Tourist Board in Germany for the second consecutive year and picked up a prestigious PATA Gold Award for its advertising clip, "Thailand Talks to the World" in the Marketing Media - Travel Advertisement Broadcast Media category. The TV ad was produced as part of the country's image restoration programme, designed to regain the confidence of foreign tourists in the aftermath of the April-May 2010 domestic political crisis. It was aired on international channels particularly in Europe, including EuroNews, CNN (Asia), BBC World News, Eurosport, and local channels in Germany, France, and the Scandinavian countries. Â
Even national awards give Thailand global exposure and one of the best publicised events is the Thailand Property Awards. This year, more than 20 companies were honoured at a glittering ceremony in Bangkok, with awards presented for categories such as Best Developer,Best Villa Development, Best Condo Development, Best Architectural Design, as well as a Green Development Award. Samui Villas and Homes Ltd won the Best Samui Agent Award.
As the world economy recovers and a more diverse range of travellers look to Asia as a holiday location, Thailand's continued recognition as a prime destination seems certain to help the country's tourism industry bounce back stronger than ever.