Thailand has again emerged as the world's best "brand" in terms of value for money, according to the 2008 Country Brand Index (CBI), the third consecutive year it has won this accolade.

Thailand's ranking as the "Best Country Brand for Value for Money" was announced on 11 November, 2008, at the World Travel Market, the premier annual exhibition of the global travel trade. The same Brand Index also ranked Thailand third in the category of "Friendly Locals and Authenticity".

The Brand Index hailed the Kingdom thus: "Famous for its authentic culture, spectacular beaches and noteworthy nightlife, Thailand is also one of the most affordable destinations in the world."

CBI, now in its fourth year, is a comprehensive study of approximately 2,700 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries conducted by FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, in conjunction with public relations firm Weber Shandwick's Global Travel and Lifestyle Practice.

This year's index includes rankings and trends as well as travel motivations, challenges and opportunities within the worlds of travel, tourism and country branding.

Thailand is listed in the top 10 in seven categories, namely:

* 1st in the "Best Country Brand for Value for Money" - Offering the most in return for the price you pay.

* 3rd in the "Best Country Brand for Friendly Locals" - Welcoming citizens who make visitors feel comfortable.

* 3rd in the "Best Country Brand for Authenticity" - Delivering distinctive, genuine and unique culture and experiences.

* 4th in the "Best Country Brand for Nightlife" - Noteworthy bar, nightclub and late-night scene.

* 4th in the "Best Country Brand for Shopping" - Accessible, diverse and abundant retail choices.

* 10th in the "Best Country Brand to Extend a Business Trip" - Where travellers want to extend business travel into a personal vacation.

* 10th in the "Best Country Brand for Desire to Visit / Visit Again" - The country travelers would most like to visit or return to.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mrs Phornsiri Manoharn commented, "In today's difficult economic times, to be considered the best value-for-money destination is perhaps the best brand image Thailand could enjoy.

"It will certainly go a long way towards helping Thailand remain a first-choice destination in terms of future travel for holiday and meetings/incentives."

In addition, TAT also received the "Best Stand Feature" award at the WTM 2008 for its impressive reception area and its breathtaking floral display. Judges also liked the grand signage and praised its excellent use of graphics. The overall effect was to show Thailand in all its glory as a truly amazing holiday destination.

International visitor arrivals to Thailand during January-July 2008 (classified by nationality) totaled 9.14 million, up 12.65% over the same period of 2007. In 2008, TAT is projecting 15.48 million international visitors arrivals, up 7% over the projection for 2007, with tourism revenue projected at 600 billion Baht.

The UK is the top performing source market from Europe. In January - July 2008, UK visitors arrival to Thailand (by nationality) totalled 497,620 up 1.27% over the same period of 2007. UK visitor arrivals are projected at 907,000 in 2008, and may well cross the one million mark in a few years.