Asian cities continue their domination of the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, making up half of the top ten. Bangkok has retained its position at number two with 18.24 million international overnight visitors and is catching up with top-ranked city, London. Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong round off the top ten, taking seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth place respectively.
Driven by insights into travel patterns, the Global Destinations Cities Index provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities from around the world. More than just a travel tracker, the index provides an understanding of how people move around the world and the importance of the world’s cities as homes, destinations and engines of growth.
London and Bangkok have topped the Index throughout its five year history. The rivalry is set to continue as Bangkok’s visitor numbers continue to recover following civil unrest in 2014. Forecasted international overnight visitors to the top ten cities:
1. London – 18.82 million
2. Bangkok – 18.24 million
3. Paris – 16.06 million
4. Dubai – 14.26 million
5. Istanbul – 12.56 million
6. New York – 12.27 million
7. Singapore – 11.88 million
8. Kuala Lumpur – 11.12 million
9. Seoul – 10.35 million
10. Hong Kong – 8.66 million
Matthew Driver, president, Southeast Asia for MasterCard, commented, “Tourism is becoming an increasingly important source of income and employment for many Asian countries. This reflects the growing appeal of Asia as it continues to develop, led by the fast emerging ASEAN economies, China and India. As countries compete for tourist receipts, and seek to improve the visitor experience, it will be key for governments and tourist authorities to continue to invest in smarter city infrastructure while preserving and protecting the heritage – from monuments to cultural events – that makes their cities unique. In this way, Asia will be able to maintain and build dynamic, exciting, global cities, which will fast become brands in their own right, pulling people to the region.”