Lonely Planet Writer

Leave your business behind; these cities are all about fun for travellers

New research has uncovered the destinations with the highest concentration of visitors travelling for leisure and Punta Cana tops the list. This probably comes as no surprise as the destination in the Dominican Republic has soft white sandy beaches and warm aquamarine waters, and its resorts offer an idyllic Caribbean seascape.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, tops the destinations where more people travel for leisure rather than business. Image: Jane Sweeney

Punta Cana heads the list of top ten cities where more than 90% of overnight visitor travel in 2017 was for purposes beyond business, such as vacation or family visits. The list includes several lesser-known destinations that cater to eco-tourists, history buffs, beach-goers and adventure seekers. The rest of the cities where a common focus is on relaxation and fun include 2. Cusco, Peru 3. Djerba, Tunisia 4. Riviera Maya, Mexico 5. Palma de Mallorca, Spain 6. Cancun, Mexico 7. Bali, Indonesia 8. Panama City, Panama 9. Orlando, US  and 10. Phuket, Thailand.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma. Image Andrei Bortnikau / EyeEm

The findings came from Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index: Play, which specifically looks at the cities that have the highest concentration of visitors travelling there for non-business purposes according to the International Visitor Survey results from national tourism boards. “Travel allows us to broaden our horizons by exploring new places, people and experiences,” said Francis Hondal, president of loyalty and managed services at Mastercard. “The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index: Play shows that special cities around the world are tapping into that trend and building a brand of fun, relaxation and enjoyment for like-minded travelers.”

Orlando came ninth in the list of destinations with the highest concentration of visitors travelling for leisure. Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts. Additional insights will be released later this year and can be found at mastercard.com.