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Best “Second-tier tourism province”?


BigHewer
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I was in Phattalung a while back for a few days and got to know some of the attractions in the province. Nice place. While there, I noticed the province’s tourism slogan:

”Amazing Phattalung: The champion province among the second tier tourism provinces of Thailand”

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Not the catchiest slogan, but it got me thinking, what is a second tier province? Which is the best one? And is there a third tier?

Any opinions out there?

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This is a rather interesting subject because I too have been looking at visiting some of the less visited regions. From what I see, Thailand groups cities and provinces in tiers based upon the number of visitors received. That's why NST went from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in 2019. (If it was up to me, I'd leave NST in the dumper tier.) Obviously, places like Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and the Koh Samui part of Surat Thani qualify as Tier I. I am surprised that Chiang Rai qualifies as Tier 2, but I am reminded that this is based upon number of visitors. 

I expect that  Tier 3  places would include  provinces like Nan, Loei, Sisaket and Trang. i expect that the  small islands that dot the  ocean on either side of the country's south would be on that list too. this year, i plan to visit these regions, if only to experience old world Thailand. (The catch of course is convincing some of my Thai friends to come along because I can't do this alone.)

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15 hours ago, Vigo said:

From what I see, Thailand groups cities and provinces in tiers based upon the number of visitors received. That's why NST went from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in 2019. (If it was up to me, I'd leave NST in the dumper tier.) Obviously, places like Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and the Koh Samui part of Surat Thani qualify as Tier I. I am surprised that Chiang Rai qualifies as Tier 2, but I am reminded that this is based upon number of visitors. 

I’m grateful for your post, Vigo. I didn’t know that there were set criteria, and had always assumed it was an arbitrary allocation.

Tier 1: 22 provinces including BKK metropolitan, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi. 

Tier 2: 54 provinces not exceeding 4 million visitors per year (including Phattalung).

I found a couple of links from 2018/2019. I would like to know what the definitive “Tier 1” list is. 
https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1756219/new-province-joins-1st-tier-tourism-ranks

I’ve always thought Chumphon is underrated, also Chanthaburi. As for Tier 3 (if it exists), hard to say. From my experience, perhaps Kalasin and Maha Sarakham would be in the mix.

My wife loves NST, it might even be her favorite of all.

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