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Destinations with the most tourists per square mile

Think of the world’s busiest tourist destinations. You’d be forgiven for conjuring images of London or New York, perhaps Bangkok or Singapore. 


Palma de Mallorca


But places truly bursting with tourists aren’t necessarily the destinations with the highest number of total visitors. 


In fact, the three cities with the highest number of tourists per square mile aren’t even major global cities, new data has revealed. 


Travel insurer Columbus Direct took 25 of the world’s most visited towns and compared the number of travellers they welcomed with the sizes of the cities; it found that the city with the most tourists per square mile was Thai hotspot, Phuket. 


An Australian traveller drawcard, the southern Thai city receives over 9 million visitors each year, which equates to some 5,090 visitors per square mile. To put this into context, Australia lures around the same number of visitors each year ... but is the world’s sixth largest country. 


Following Phuket in the index are Palma de Mallorca (2,918 tourists per sqm) and Pattaya (2,762), while the first major city on the list, Paris, comes in at fourth (1,174). 


Overall, Bangkok boasts the highest number of visitors in the world - over 20 million - but is only the 12th most densely populated tourist city (91 tourists per sqm). 


And what of those mega-cities? Singapore placed ninth, New York tenth, London 13th, Hong Kong 14th, Tokyo 17th and Dubai 18th.


Interestingly, tourist magnet Bali finished in last position on the list, with just ten tourists registered per square mile. 


View the full rankings here.

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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 11 October 2019

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