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Mastercard reveals planet’s most visited cities

Despite the challenges it’s faced, in particular recent bomb blasts in its southern region, Thailand continues to punch above its weight in tourism terms – and particularly robust is capital Bangkok, which has just been revealed as the world’s most visited city.


According to the sixth Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, with 21.5 million visitors, Bangkok beat out London (19.9m), Paris (18m), Dubai (15.3m) and New York (12.8m) as the most popular metropolis for international overnight visitor arrivals.


Image Reuters


While Aussie cities once again missed out on a top spot for arrivals (for the seventh straight year), tourists to Australia do continue to spend big whilst here, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.


Landing a place among the top 20 destinations for visitor expenditure, Sydney can expect to see travellers fork out more than AU$8.48 billion in 2016, while Melbourne visitors are forecast to spend AU$6.55 billion.


“Australia’s geographical location makes it difficult for our cities to compete based on visitor numbers, but it is extremely impressive that when it comes to spending, Sydney and Melbourne are notable contenders globally and regionally,” Mastercard Australia Country Manager Andrew Cartwright said.


“When visiting our most popular cities, tourists are clearly utilising the opportunity to spend big on shopping trips and local experiences.”


Overall, Asia dominated the most visited list, with five cities featuring in the top ten.


In terms of visitor growth, Osaka, Japan has shown the highest upward trajectory since 2009 (24%), followed by Chengdu (20.1%) and Abu Dhabi (19.8%).


“Asia Pacific has been the fastest growing region for international tourism since 2005, with underlying growth momentum expected to continue especially with the burgeoning middle class in Southeast Asia, China and India seeking new travel experiences within the region,” Mastercard Asia Pacific senior vice president Eric Schneider said.


The top ten most visited cities:

1.     Bangkok – 21.47 million 

2.     London – 19.88 million

3.     Paris – 18.03 million

4.     Dubai – 15.27 million

5.     New York – 12.75 million

6.     Singapore – 12.11 million

7.     Kuala Lumpur – 12.02 million

8.     Istanbul – 11.95 million

9.     Tokyo – 11.70 million

10.   Seoul – 10.20 million


The top ten fastest growing tourist cities by CAGR (2009-2016):

1.     Osaka – 24.15 percent

2.     Chengdu – 20.14 percent

3.     Abu Dhabi – 19.81 percent

4.     Colombo – 19.57 percent

5.     Tokyo – 18.48 percent

6.     Riyadh – 16.45 percent

7.     Taipei – 14.53 percent

8.     Xi’an – 14.20 percent

9.     Tehran – 12.98 percent

10.   Xiamen – 12.93 percent


Published: 23 September 2016

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