Every year, MasterCard releases it’s travel study, the Global Destination Cities Index, which ranks 132 worldwide cities according to total international cross-boarder spending and overnight visitor arrivals. The Global Destination Index does more than just list the cities with the most visitors per year, it explains what factors help bring a city to achieve the No.1 spot, as well as what might cause a city to lose their spot. All this ultimately points to what is positively or negatively effecting a city’s growth.
This year, London was able to retain its No.1 spot on the Index for the second year in a row. Bangkok had been in the lead back in 2013, but fell back a spot due largely to political disorder.
It’s projected that London will welcome 18.82 million international overnight visitors. While the runner up, Bangkok, will see “only” 18.24 million.
London doesn’t just hold the top rank for most international visitors, it’s also the city that receives the most income from visitor spending. An estimated $20.23 billion is predicted to be spent in London during 2015.
Eric Schneider, group head of MasterCard Advisors, Asia-Pacific, said,
“This is an impressive achievement and it is similar qualities that have kept them both at the top. Despite their size, they are both relatively easy to navigate for a tourist, and even in Bangkok, English is often all you need to get around. [I]t’s the unique and seemingly limitless heritage, from temples to palaces in Bangkok or churches and castles in London, that keep enticing tourists to make the trip.”
Asia dominates the charts by having 5 cities listed in the top 10, Bangkok (2), Singapore (7), Kuala Lumpur (8), Seoul (9) and Hong Kong (10). However, Asia seems to lack diversity. The Index shows that most of the top groups of tourists arriving to some of these cities are from Asia-Pacific regions.
Here’s the full list of the top destination cities for 2015:
By projected visitors:
1. London 18.82 million
2. Bangkok 18.24 million
3. Paris 16.06 million
4. Dubai, UAE 14.26 million
5. Istanbul 12.56 million
6. New York 12.27 million
7. Singapore 11.88 million
8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 11.12 million
9. Seoul 10.35 million
10. Hong Kong 8.66 million
By projected visitor spending:
1 London $20.23 billion
2 New York $17.37 billion
3 Paris $16.61 billion
4 Seoul $15.24 billion
5 Singapore $14.65 billion
6 Barcelona, Spain $13.86 billion
7 Bangkok $12.36 billion
8 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia $12.02 billion
9 Dubai, UAE $11.68 billion
10 Istanbul $9.37 billion