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99 problems, but this beach ain't one

Life's a beach, especially if you're holidaying in Thailand.

Life’s a beach, especially if you’re holidaying in Thailand.

Thailand has taken the crown from the USA for having the most hotels truly set on beaches, according to a survey of more than 11,000 hotels in 109 countries.

Already as an Aussie-favourite holiday destination, Thailand’s win is only expected to further catapult the nation to global stardom, and perhaps sway holidaymakers away from traditional beach destinations such as Mexico, Spain, Greece, Turkey and indeed USA.

Mexico_KarryOn

Mexico

The Global Beachfront Awards saw Thailand winning the top spot with over 1,250 true beachfront hotels and resorts, followed by the USA with 1,016, Mexico with 943, and Spain with 736 and Greece with 576.

The new Global Beachfront Awards are issued by The Beachfront Club, a website that maps all beachfront hotels on the planet in detail not seen elsewhere. ‘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 – presumably why Australia didn’t even rank in the top 10.

global_beachfrontclub_KarryOn“True beachfront is the first choice of beach-lovers worldwide” website founder John Everingham, an Australian and long-term resident of Thailand, said.

“Especially for those who travel halfway around the planet, and spend large sums of money seeking the perfect beach.”

Miami_KarryOn

Miami’s South Beach

The website is designed, he said, 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.”

Tourism to Thailand has enjoyed a steady 88% growth over the past five years, overriding both the global depression and its own well-publicised, internal political upheavals. For the first time in 2013, Thailand was placed on the world’s Top 10 most visited countries on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) list.

Greece_KarryOn

Greece

“The world-winning performance was powered by millions of international visitors flocking not to its golden temples but mainly to its beautiful tropical beaches,” according to The Beachfront Club.

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, The Club said.

“Bangkok is a hugely popular stopover that now attracts many millions of visitors annually, but the number of those visitors continuing north to Chiang Mai and other cultural destinations is just a small fraction of those heading south to Thailand’s now-famous beaches,” it states on their website.

While Everingham admits measuring only true beachfront hotels does not give a rounded image of the country’s beach tourism industry, he said “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.”

Spain_KarryOn

Spain

Smaller, more personalised hotels, boutique and creative are trends spotted all across Southeast Asia, the region of the world with the fastest growth by far in international arrivals, according to the WTO’s figures.

The Club has also revealed its Global Destination Beachfront Awards, which counts the total beachfront accommodations in a single beach destination within any country. Once again, Thailand triumphs as Koh Samui’s 270 qualified hotels overtakes the 250 in Riviera Maya, Mexico, while Crete Island in Greece comes in third with 194, and Mallorca in Spain follows with 187.

Where’s your favourite beach destination?