Bangkok rates high in the business and leisure stakes
Under normal circumstances, if you saw Bangkok ranked in a survey and the numbers happened to place the Thai capital at 170th in the world and 26th in Asia, you’d be expected to think that this is not where you’d want to be.
Yet, when a company like ECA International places Bangkok in precisely those places, it’s a very good sign. Why? Simply because it means Bangkok, and by extension, Thailand, is a good, relatively inexpensive place to be assigned in international terms.
ECA International is a consulting firm providing data and software solutions to help companies organise international assignments around the globe. Basically, they’re an international human resources (HR) company, and have been operating since 1971.
As the world’s acknowledged leader in providing information and technology for the management and assignment of employees all over the world, ECA International is in a very strong position to assess the relative merits and drawbacks associated with each global destination.
So, in its 2013 annual assessment survey, Bangkok actually dropped five places on the previous year to rank at 170th. The only other Southeast Asian city that did better than Bangkok was Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian capital is now the 200th least expensive city in the world for international assignees.
It’s probably no surprise that Singapore is ninth in Asia, behind Hong Kong, and 30th overall in the world. It’s also no real surprise that Jakarta (27th) and Vientiane (28th) also rate better than Bangkok, albeit by not much.Asia’s most expensive cities are currently Tokyo and Beijing.
In an attempt to make sure their employees’ spending power is not compromised while on international assignment, multinational companies often include a cost of living allowance in their pay packages. To assist multinationals with their calculations, ECA carries out two Cost of Living Surveys per year, comparing a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 440 locations worldwide.
A regional spokesman for ECA International noted, “It’s important to remember that certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are not included in our cost of living basket. Because these costs are usually addressed separately by an expatriate’s employer, we collect this data separately.”
The good news for Bangkok in the expatriate assignment stakes is also reflected on the tourism stage as well. Back in October 2013, Bangkok was voted the Best Leisure Destination in the Asia Pacific region, according to the annual Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Travel Readers Poll. The Shangri-La was named the Best Business Hotel in Bangkok in the same poll. The awards, which started in 1991, cover 56 categories.
As well, Bangkok was rated the ‘World’s Best City’ for the fourth successive year in July 2013 following a survey by Travel & Leisure magazine. The city recorded a whopping 90.42 per cent in the survey.
All in all, it seems Bangkok has a very special niche in both the tourist and the expatriate/international assignee market, making it one of the most unique cities on the planet.