Thailand Takes No. 1 Spot in New Global Beachfront Awards With an Amazing 1,250 Beachfront Hotels
The new darling of beach-lovers worldwide, Thailand is riding a crest in humanity’s age-old love affair with the beach that has helped it overtake traditional beach countries like Spain, Mexico and Greece in the new Global Beachfront Awards.
Thailand, a rising superstar in global tourism, has beaten the world’s most famous, traditional beach destinations including Spain, Mexico, USA, Greece and Turkey to take the number one position in the newly announced Global Beachfront Awards. Thailand won top spot with over 1,250 true beachfront hotels and resorts, followed by the USA with 1,016, Mexico with 943, Spain with 736 and Greece with 576.
This win follows Thailand’s meteoric, 88% rise in tourist numbers over the past five years, overriding both the global depression and its own well-publicized, internal political upheavals. Street violence and grenade attacks in Bangkok did little to slow the country’s burgeoning tourism business, which consistently outperformed all other global players by wide margins over the last five years. Figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) show that in 2013, for the first time, Thailand rose to join the world’s Top 10 most visited countries. This world-winning performance was powered by millions of international visitors flocking not to its golden temples but mainly to its beautiful tropical beaches. Last year 12 of Thailand’s 27 million international tourists visited the island of Phuket alone – and it has 12 more widely scattered beach destinations with over 30 beachfront resorts each.
Issued by The Beachfront Club, whose website maps beachfront hotels in detail not seen elsewhere, the Global Beachfront Awards claim to have accounted for over 12,000 accommodation establishments on beaches in 109 countries. The awards are a measure of the number of true beachfront accommodation establishments a country offers, and include all levels from beach bungalows to luxury, 5-star resorts. ‘True beachfront’, by the criteria of this Club, includes only those hotels directly on a beach or oceanfront with no road or traffic between the rooms and the water.
“True beachfront is the first choice of beach-lovers worldwide,” says website founder John Everingham, an Australian and long-term resident of Thailand. “Especially for those who travel halfway around the planet, and spend large sums of money seeking the perfect beach.” The website is designed, he says, to help people find beachfront hotels anywhere on the planet while avoiding the misleading advertising of hotels that pretend to be on a beach, when in fact they aren’t. “Old hotel brochures were often designed to leave out roads and make a hotel appear to be right by the sand. Today it’s still commonplace on websites,” he says. “The Beachfront Club allows users to avoid such misleading advertising.”
This photographer’s own work shooting Phuket hotels in the 1990s became the inspiration for the website. Assigned to hide roads and make the hotels look like they were right on the beach, when they weren’t, his embarrassment and motivation for the website is documented in a CNNGo story.
Measuring only true beachfront hotels might not give a complete picture of a country’s beach tourism industry, says the Everingham. “However, it provides a good look at the top end of each country’s industry. It helps show how tourism has penetrated a country’s beaches, and shows how much choice each country provides to beach-loving visitors. One old-style, large hotel with hundreds of rooms cannot satisfy as many different tastes as several smaller ones scattered on different beaches.” Smaller, more personalized hotels, boutique and creative, says this web entrepreneur, are the trend all across Southeast Asia, the region of the world with the fastest growth by far in international arrivals, according to the WTO’s figures.
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