In recent advertising and marketing campaigns, the government has pursued categories of tourists, such as Muslims, Israelis and gays, that are shunned in some neighboring countries. It is the only Asian country that has a government-sponsored campaign aimed at gay and lesbian travelers. It is also marketing itself to Muslims as a place with abundant choices of Halal restaurants and many prayer rooms in public places such as shopping malls. Also, while Malaysia and Indonesia, both Muslim-majority countries, bar Israelis from visiting for political reasons, Thailand has long been one of the most popular destinations for Israeli travelers, with 120,000 Israelis visiting the country in 2012. “We live in a country that is open and pretty liberal — I can’t think of a market that we wouldn’t welcome,” said Wisoot Buachoom, the director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s office in Chiang Mai.
The New York Times
A new shopping mall modeled after a Chinese-style market is planned for the southwestern area of Bangkok. The market, called Sampeng 2, will feature more than 1,000 booths of vendors selling goods such as clothing, footwear, jewelry, decorative items and souvenirs from China Town. Some of the merchandise will be sourced directly from factories in the outlying provinces, and will be traded in both wholesale and retail to the shoppers. The architectural structure of the buildings inside the 56-acre shopping complex will be partly built in Chinese style, featuring red-tiled roofs. In addition, the 56-acre complex will feature restaurants serving Thai and Chinese foods, and a fresh-water lake that will host a floating market.
Bangkok has once again been named the "World's Best City" by Travel & Leisure magazine. The Thai capital has received the honor in each of the last four years. The title of world's best city was determined by questionnaires the magazine sent to its readers. When the responses were compiled, Bangkok topped the list with a score of 90.42%, followed by Istanbul, Turkey at 89.9% and Florence, Italy at 89.8%. Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand ranked 10th with a score of 88.1%. The magazine said each city was rated according to six criteria: sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping, and value. The magazine will formally present the award to the Bangkok governor on July 18 in a ceremony in New York City.