In a result that has shocked many commentators, the winner of the 2016 title of world’s most liveable city has been named as the Thai beach resort of Pattaya. Located about 100 kms southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya has a colourful history and is best known for its sex industry, with up to 4 million tourists visiting the city annually and many indulging in visits to host bars, massage parlours and related businesses.
However, in recent years Pattaya has made great progress in cleaning up its act, to the point where its once notoriously sleazy reputation has made way for a focus on more wholesome, family-orientated activities. “10 years ago, Pattaya wouldn’t have made our top 100 list of liveable cities,” admitted one of the judges on the 20 member panel that voted in the 2016 poll. “However, there have been many improvements since we first started coming here.” The judges embarked on a visit to a short-list of ten cities around the world which had been voted into the top 10, including several Asian capitals such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. “All the other cities had several positives, but we felt Pattaya was number one,” revealed the judge.
The award is sure to further enhance Pattaya’s credentials as a leading tourist destination in the region. However, the result has not been without controversy, as many commentators questioned why all 20 members of the panel were European men aged over 60. The group declined to comment, citing an important meeting at a local massage parlour.