Bangkok, Hangzhou: ‘cities to watch’

GainingEdge's Competitive Index 2020 selects China water city and Thai capital among destinations making special progress for hosting international conventions

BANGKOK and Hangzhou have been selected as Asia’s “cities to watch” in the third edition of consultancy GainingEdge’s Competitive Index of the world’s convention destinations.

Singapore takes the crown as the leading competitive destination in Asia Pacific with Paris topping the global list and New York the leading city in the United States.

Six cities were selected for special mention as they impressed researchers by effectively leveraging their competitive advantages.

Thai capital Bangkok and the scenic east China city of Hangzhou were among those that stood out as cities to watch as they had strong local industries and convention bureaus.

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As one of the Top 20 destinations in the index, Bangkok experienced the strongest growth, jumping 10 places to eighth place, while it was ranked second in Asia Pacific and 13th globally by association conference organisers’ body ICCA.

“Clearly Bangkok has improved its product as well as its meeting results and now it is a top global convention destination,” a spokesman for GainingEdge said.

The report also added a note of caution for cities that emphasise that leverage tourist appeal over its universities, technology, business and other areas of expertise.

“Engaging its intellectual capital could help [Bangkok] navigate the current global crisis, the impacts of which will likely be greater for cities which bank on strong destination appeal.”

More on Hangzhou here

Report author Milos Milovanovic, who heads GainingEdge Analysis and Research (GEAR), said a dependency on destination appeal could be “an issue” for Bangkok compared to cities recognised as intellectual and scientific hubs.

The 2020 edition of the list was extended to 101 cities that have hosted 87 or more international convention over the past three years as reported by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

Hangzhou emerged as a new destination in the international convention business with a 74th place in the ICCA top 100. The city, famous for West Lake, a new CBD and cultural attractions, is ranked 37th globally by ICCA and 13th in Asia in terms of destination competitiveness.

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The report attributed Hangzhou’s rise in the rankings to the city’s “strong infrastructure and new development projects in the city”.

“With a strong creative and digital economy, it could be a great example to other Chinese and Asian cities on how to leverage competitive advantages to improve their competitive position.”

The other cities on GainingEdge’s watchlist are Lisbon, Portugal; Prague, Czech Republic; Athen, Greece, and the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

The report can be downloaded here.

Top image: New developments along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya, including IconSiam

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