The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic union that aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and regional stability in South East Asia. It contains 9% of the world’s population, and would rank as the seventh largest economy in the world if it were a single nation.
2015 is a pivotal year in the history of Bangkok, Thailand and South East Asia as a whole. Earlier this year, the ASEAN Economic Community was established – bringing together over 600 million people in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines in a single market with free trade and movement across borders.
Further integration will transform the area into a more competitive single market, an advocate for sustainable development, and a major player on the world stage.
Thailand is located at the strategic centre of the ASEAN Community and is set to benefit hugely from regional integration. Despite the fact that tourism makes up less than 10% of its GDP, Thailand hosted nearly 25 million visitors in 2014. The city of Bangkok has extremely well-developed infrastructure, two international airports and a vast road and rail network to welcome international tourists and business delegations.