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Pattaya Daily News

12 November 2010 :: 08:11:55 am 45749

Amazing Thailand Still Rules, OK!

The new HSBC Expat Experience 2010 report maintains for the majority of expats (57%) enhanced career opportunities and increased financial gain were their key reasons for becoming an expat, despite the fact that the expected quality of life often doesn’t compare with more halcyons spots. In this respect, Thailand scores extremely highly in terms of the availability of romance, excellent lifestyle and ready availability of accommodation, not to mention the climate and fabulous beaches and scenery.
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November 11: The compilers and commentators of the latest report by HSBC on Expat Experience 2010 are apparently surprised to find that, despite all the recent mayhem in Bangkok, Thailand is still regarded as amazing by Western retirees and other expats who continue to flock to these shores. Old Thailand hands could have saved them the cost of the survey. They know that no matter what happens here, coups, riots and bloody crackdowns etc., Thailand remains one of the most attractive destinations worldwide, with the chance of a superb lifestyle and attractions galore.

The report maintains that Thailand consistently ranks highly as one of the world’s friendliest nations where expatriates find it easy to integrate, to find affordable accommodation and ‘even find love’, they say tongue in cheek. Marketing agencies and hidebound commercial concerns consistently play down this aspect, which as we who have living here for any length of time can tell them is often the main reason for people coming here, particularly males, for lest we forget love makes the world go round and it’s in all too short supply back in the West, especially for single Baby Boomers, who seem condemned to a lovelorn existence for the most part, back home.

This writer remembers all too well the visions conjured up by the accounts of the mutineers of the Bounty, jumping ship straight into the accommodating arms of the dusky maidens of the South Seas. Yet here those dreams become reality as the golden girls flock down from Isaan to find romance in the equally avid arms of the ever-renewed presence of expats, largely Western. Let’s face it, without this perennial attraction merry-go-round, Pattaya would still be some obscure mediocre fishing village. Yet it is largely this merry-go-round which fuels the property and gold-shop market.

In terms of top love destinations, the report does acknowledge that Thailand proves to be the most romantic destination globally, with 69% of single expats having found a partner since relocating. With many of these being retirees, the attractions of balmy climate and the ready availability of quality medi-care (if increasingly expensive) are an added bonus, but the salient fact is that it’s the care takers who matter most. Where back in the West could the average Baby Boomer find a loving, often young, partner to take care of them in the twilight of their lives? It must save the Western health care service millions, just imagine the cost otherwise! We Westerners really struck lucky with the Oriental proclivity for fancying older blokes!

Thailand (47%) and Canada (42%), are consistently the most popular destinations for ‘expat lifers’. Expats based in these countries are also the most likely to have stayed for five years or more already (Thailand 56%, Canada 47%). The differential is obviously a climatic variable, plus the love factor, of course. European countries also rank highly for retirement, particularly Spain (38%), and France (33%). Thailand is on a par with South Africa (both 24%), whereas Canada plummets to 17%. I suspect one of the reasons that Thailand doesn’t attract even more retirees is the distance factor and the fact that those who are getting on in life are less adventurous.

The key findings of the report are:

* Emerging economies remain on top for expat finances
* Russia is home to the wealthiest expats, followed by the Middle East
* The wealth gap continues to widen between the East and Mainland Europe
* The BRIC countries (Brazil*, Russia, India and China) are emerging as expat hotspots
* Expats are repatriating a significant proportion of their wealth
* Stresses of Eurozone woes reflected in expat sentiment.

Those seeking financial gain are attracted to the well-paying destinations like Saudi Arabia (85%), Qatar (83%) and Russia (76%). However, these countries cannot remotely compare when it comes quality of life (Saudi Arabia 20th, Qatar 19th and Russia 24th out of 25 countries). Experience shows that once they have made a mint, rich expats quickly vacate these barren climes and head off to the more accommodating venues of Thailand and Spain. Bahrain and Bermuda both scored particularly well for quality of life, scoring 2nd and 5th respectively on the quality of life league table, but the latter especially is radically more expensive than Thailand, for instance, where one can find comparably lavish accommodation for far less and thus allow one’s financial resources to go much further.

For the ladies, the situation is somewhat different. Their emotional life carries higher priority, with almost 50% of women saying they were concerned about re-establishing their social life in their new country before moving out, compared to only 37% of men. Likewise, 44% of the women expats expected to miss their family and friends, compared to 29% of the men.

Many female expats accompany their partners who have gained employment abroad. The burden of establishing a new home invariably falls upon them, with its consequent stresses. This was one of the reasons given for their urgent desire to re-establish social connections as soon as possible.

No matter what the nationality, gender or age, Thailand still ranks highly as an expat destination par excellence and will long continue to do so.

Reporter : PDN staff   Category : Tourism News

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