Asia Pacific dominates global top 10 travel destinations

Bangkok – Asia Pacific rules in the recently released MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index with five out of the top 10 destinations for international travelers from the region, up from four in the previous year.

The five are Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul are among the global 10.

While Bangkok reigns supreme on the top 10 list in Asia it lost to London globally, slipping to second spot.  The Thai capital overtook London in 2013 as the top ranked destination city in the world, but London regained the position this year with an 8% growth in visitors, versus an 11% decline in Bangkok due to the Thai political situation.

Matthew Driver, president, South-east Asia, MasterCard is optimistic that Bangkok would regain its top spot in the foreseeable  future.

Global 10 top destination cities by international overnight visitors (2014)

London  (18.69 million)
Bangkok  (16.42 million)
Paris  (15.57 million)
Singapore  (12.47 million)
Dubai  (11.95 million)
New York  (11.81 million)
Istanbul  (11.60  million)
Kuala Lumpur (10.81 million)
Hong Kong (8.84 million)
Seoul (8.63 million)

The Index shows that other Southeast Asian cities also show promising growth rates, with Jakarta projected to see growth of 18.8%, followed by Hanoi (15.1%) and Manila (14.3%). Kuala Lumpur, despite a marginally lower projected growth rate of 13.1%, makes it to Asia Pacific’s top 10 for international visitors by sheer arrival numbers.

The Malaysian capital city also boasts the second highest growth rate in the Global top 20.

At US$14.3 billion, Singapore took over Bangkok’s top spot for international visitor spend in Asia Pacific, up 7.6% from last year. The city state’s projected visitor arrivals expenditure per city resident stood at US$2,600, beating out London’s US$2,378 and second only to Dubai.

On the prevalence of Southeast Asian markets in the top 10, Driver said, “This Index serves as a gauge for understanding the global economy and travel driven connectivity and capacity across the world. The prominence of the South East Asian cities on the Index demonstrates the importance that trade and tourism plays in these economies, all of whom have clearly benefitted from a deliberate and on-going investment in travel capacity and infrastructure.”

A regional overview

Europe: London, Paris and Istanbul continue to represent Europe in the global top 10 by number of international overnight visitors.  This year, 67% of London’s international visitors are from other European cities – a strong indication of the continent’s strengthening economy.

Barcelona and Amsterdam are the remaining regional leaders, with Amsterdam climbing one place to 12th overall on the global rankings.

Latin America: Lima built on its position as 2013’s fastest growing top 10 Latin American city, retaining the top spot on the regional line up.  Punta Cana, a new entry to the list of cities covered, replaces Santiago in Dominican Republic and joins the list of top 10 as the number four destination city for visitors this year, displacing Caracas.  Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, all mainstays on the rankings, round out the regional top five.

Middle East and Africa: Retaining its position as the top regional destination, Dubai is also one of the fastest growing cities in the global top 10, far outpacing other Middle East markets with nearly US$11 billion in visitor spending.  If growth continues at current rates, Dubai would overtake Paris and Singapore to be the third leading global destination within five years. Riyadh, Johannesburg, Abu Dhabi and Cape Town wrap up the regional leaders.

North America:  New York continues to pace the group, serving as the sole North American representative on the global top 10 list. Also unchanged from 2013 are Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto and San Francisco’s position in the regional top five.  Chicago is forecast to be the fastest growing city in North America, both in terms of visitors and international spend this year.

Now in its fourth year, the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index provides an overview and ranking of the 132 of the most important global cities. Source: WIT

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