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Hong Kong Ranked As One Of The World’s Top 10 Most Visited Cities: MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index

June 12, 2015 Destination Global No Comments Print Print Email Email

Asian cities continue their domination of the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, making up half of the top 10 destinations for international travel.


Bangkok has retained its position at number two and is catching up with top-ranked city, London. Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong round off the top 10, taking seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th place respectively. Hong Kong is also the only city in Greater China that is among the top 10 most visited destinations.

Ranked 10th globally and fifth in Asia Pacific, Hong Kong is forecast to welcome 8.66 million international overnight visitors in 2015, a 3.5% increase from 2014 with 8.37 million visitors. The city is also expected to see a 4.6% growth in international overnight visitor spend, from US$7.11 billion in 2014 to US$7.44 billion in 2015, placing it seventh in the region and 13thglobally.

Driven by insights into travel patterns, the fifth Global Destinations Cities Index provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world. More than just a travel tracker, the Index provides an understanding of how people move around the world and the importance of the world’s cities as homes, destinations and engines of growth.

London and Bangkok have topped the Index throughout the Index’s five year history. London is projected to receive 18.82 million international visitors in 2015, topping the chart again, slightly ahead of Bangkok with 18.24 million. Their rivalry is set to continue as Bangkok’s visitor numbers started to recover following civil unrest in 2014.

Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Chief Economist and Chair of the Academic Advisory Council at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, said, “Against a background of generally weak global economic growth and anemic pace of exports, a vibrant tourism sector is providing a powerful boost to income and job creation in Asia Pacific. As shown by the latest Index, Asian cities dominate among the leading destinations in the world in attracting international visitors arriving by air. Even more astonishing is that seven out of the world’s top 10 fastest growing destination cities are in Asia Pacific, which is a strong leading indicator of their continuing outstanding performance in the years to come.”

Anna Yip, head of Hong Kong & Macau, said, “Last year, MasterCard named Hong Kong one of our Priceless Cities, promising to enrich Hong Kong’s international influence as a true world-class destination. This year, it is encouraging to see that Hong Kong is once again taking a place in the global top 10 most visited destinations, which is a testament to the city’s enduring character as a top global destination for international travelers.”

Intellectual Insights: Understanding What Drives Global Cities

In 2015, it is expected that nearly 383 million overnight trips will be made by international overnight visitors between the Index’s 132 cities. In combination with urbanization – the United Nations has estimated that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050 – this represents a massive demand for goods and services. By forecasting the number of international travelers, the Global Destination Cities Index helps to highlight the infrastructure needed to meet the expectations of both locals and visitors.

Additional Highlights 

Asia Pacific

  • The Asia/Pacific ranking of the top nine out of 10 destination cities are unchanged from 2014. But Osaka moved up to 10th rank from 11th, displacing Melbourne.
  • Seoul leads in Asia/Pacific in terms of international visitor spend, with an expected US$15.2 billion, followed by Singapore with US$14.7 billion and Bangkok with US$12.4 billion.
  • The top five feeder cities to Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 2015 are all in Asia Pacific.
  • Hong Kong is projected to moveahead of Singapore and Tokyo to become the largest feeder city for Bangkok this year, accounting for around 1.5 million visitors with total expenditure hitting US$1 billion.


  • Similar to last year, London, Paris and Istanbul continue to top the rankings for Europe.
  • This year, Istanbul receives the most diverse visitors, with 50 percent of its inbound overnight visitors coming from 33 different cities.

Middle East and Africa

  • Dubai continues to be the top ranked destination city in the Middle East and Africa region, with 14.26 million visitors and US$11.7 billion visitor spend.
  • Abu Dhabi is the third fastest growing destination city overall between 2009 and 2015.

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