It’s critical for us to understand how travel impacts cities and destinations for the better and the challenges it poses, to ensure local leaders have the information and solutions they need to succeed
– Carlos Menendez
The Global Destination Index – an annual study looking at the world’s most visited tourist destinations – has ranked Bangkok, Thailand, as the world's most visited city globally.
The research, conducted by Mastercard, shows Bangkok as the world’s most visited global tourist destination four the fourth straight year, with 22.78 million international overnight visitors – a figure forecast to grow by 3.34 per cent in 2019.
For the first time in more than a decade, London (19.09 million) has lost its status as Europe’s most popular tourist destination, with nearby Paris (19.10 million) now the new number one city on the continent.
In the Middle East, Dubai is the top-ranked city with 15.93m international overnight visitors. The city, which had set a target of 20 million visitors by 2020, does, however, have the lowest growth forecast for the calendar year at 1.68 per cent.
Marking the 10th edition of the annual report, three key trends were highlighted.
The first was consistent and steady growth of people travelling internationally over the last decade, with expenditure growing on average 7.4 per cent.
The sustained dominance of major cities was also recognised, with London, Paris and Bangkok dominating the top three spots since 2010.
The final of the three trends was the rise of Asia-Pacific international travellers, with visitors from that part of the world rising 9.4 per cent since 2009 – the largest increase of any region. Europe, by comparison, saw the second-highest rise, up by 5.5 per cent.
"In today’s interconnected world, travel has become an important part of how we work and how we live," said Carlos Menendez president of Enterprise Partnerships for Mastercard.
"It’s critical for us to understand how travel impacts cities and destinations for the better and the challenges it poses, to ensure local leaders have the information and solutions they need to succeed."
Top 10 Global Destination Cities in 2018
International Overnight Visitors/Growth Forecast for 2019
1. Bangkok – 22.78 million/3.34 per cent
2. Paris – 19.10 million/2.24 per cent
3. London – 19.09 million/3.47 per cent
4. Dubai – 15.93 million/1.68 per cent
5. Singapore – 14.67 million/4.0 per cent
6. Kuala Lumpur – 13.79 million/9.87 per cent
7. New York – 13.60 million/2.94 per cent
8. Istanbul – 13.40 million/8.14 per cent
9. Tokyo – 12.93 million/10.02 per cent
10. Antalya – 12.41 million/8.14 per cent