Survey shows Thailand losing popularity as an expat destination

Published:  30 Nov at 6 PM
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Thailand’s overall position in the well-known HSBC Expat Insider survey has dropped in one year from seventh position to 18th, with its positions in several sub-sections of the poll dropping still further.

Once a dream destination for expats, whether working or retiring, Thailand’s reputation now seems to be on the line as regards personal happiness, quality of life, travel and transport, friendliness, settling in and safety and security. The only categories still in positive territory seem to be leisure options and healthcare, although the cost of living and childcare were also viewed favourably by respondents.

Top of the tree of the countries represented in the survey was Taiwan, popular for personal finance, quality of life, affordable healthcare and salaries. Malta came second, followed by last year's winner Ecuador and a selection of European and Antipodean countries. In the bottom 10 of the list were several Gulf States, Greece, Nigeria and Tanzania, Brazil, Mozambique and Italy.

Thailand’s reality check began with its losing 11 places in the overall result, dropping from seventh to 18th. Scores for personal happiness, safety and security and travel and transport all declined from last year’s figures, giving the quality of life section a shock demotion. The Ease of Settling In category, rated at 26th last year, dropped to 30th in 2016 due to low scores in the feeling welcome, finding friends and friendliness sub-sections. Good news was also absent in the Working Abroad category, with Thailand’s position dropping from 24th to an uncomfortable 37th place.

Better news came in the Expat Family Life sector, with its 20th position improving on its 26th spot in the 2015 survey. Another success came in the Financial Situation category, with a majority of those surveyed stating they were happy with the cost of living as well as the availability and affordability of housing. Even so, the message from expats in Thailand would appear to be ‘must try harder’.
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