The Global Destination Cities Index, which ranks 132 destination cities around the world in terms of total international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending, forecasts that London will be the number one place to be for tourists in 2015.
London, with 18.82 million visitors expected, came first in the study for the second year in a row.
Also for the second year in a row, Bangkok is forecast to be the world’s second top destination, and the number one in Asia-Pacific, with 18.24 million visitors expected to spend time in the Thai capital in 2015.
Bangkok lost its first place ranking in 2013, largely due to political unrest – but the MasterCard report indicates the Thai capital is showing signs of recovery and is steadily closing the gap with London. The gap is narrow. Asian cities feature heavily on the list.
Mrs Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Acting Governor and Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “This is absolutely great news, which could not come at any better time than now that Thailand is seeing a strong recovery in all tourist markets.
“I’d like to thank all concerned parties and stakeholders for their tireless efforts in building and reiterating the image of Bangkok, Thailand’s main gateway, as one of the world’s most popular tourist cities that is complete with both modern conveniences and old charms.”
The MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities from around the world in terms of international overnight visitor arrivals and spending. On the global scale for 2015, Paris ranked third with 16.06 million visitors, Dubai came fourth with 14.26 million visitors, and Istanbul was in fifth place with 12.56 million visitors.
When comparing among destination cities in the Asia-Pacific, Bangkok retained its position at number one, followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, and Hong Kong. This ranking has remained unchanged since 2013 when the Thai capital became the first Asian city to top the global list.
In terms of spending, Bangkok ranked seventh in the world and third in the Asia-Pacific, with USD 12.36 billion projected in international visitor expenditure for 2015.
Juthaporn said, “This ranking as well as a number of awards and honours that Thailand and various Thai destinations, including Bangkok, have received so far this year will certainly motivate us to work harder to welcome tourists. Under our 2015 Discover Thainess campaign, we hope to share with all our international guests the Thai way of happiness through the various aspects of Thainess; such as, Thai food, Thai arts, Thai wellness, and Thai festivities.”
Thailand expects to welcome a total of 28 million visitors generating an estimated USD 42 billion (AUD 54 billion) in 2015.
The news came at an opportune time for Thailand, with the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2015 under way in Bangkok this week.
After London and Bangkok, the next eight cities in the Top 10 Destination Cities for 2015 (by projected visitor arrivals) are, in order:
- Paris 16.06 million
- Dubai, UAE 14.26 million
- Istanbul 12.56 million
- New York 12.27 million
- Singapore 11.88 million
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 11.12 million
- Seoul 10.35 million
- Hong Kong 8.66 million
Top 10 cities for international overnight visitor spend for 2015
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
Fastest growing tourist cities
- Colombo, Sri Lanka 21.1%
- Chengdu, China 20.7%
- Abu Dhabi, UAE 20.4%
- Osaka, Japan 19.8%
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 18.0%
- Xi An, China 16.2%
- Taipei, Taiwan 14.9%
- Tokyo 14.6%
- Lima, Peru 13.9%
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 12.9%
Edited by Peter Needham in Bangkok