For the fourth consecutive year, a report has named Bangkok as the number one destination for travellers, with more than 22 million international overnight visitors descending on the city in 2018.

Hemmed in by a dark cityscape beneath a golden sunset is a brilliant square of vibrantly coloured stalls at the Chatuchak Weekend Market
Bangkok in Thailand has come in first position again in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index .Image: Preecha Makjan/500px

Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index ranks 200 cities on visitor volume and spend data, and it found that Dubai tops the spend list with travellers parting with $553 (€498) on average per day there. The good news for the travel industry is that the number of international overnight visitors has grown by 76% since 2009, and the forecast for 2019 indicates across-the-board growth. Over the past decade, the one constant has been continual change, as more people are travelling internationally and spending more in the cities each year.

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Visitors spent the most per day in Dubai in 2018. Image: GMDUB/Shutterstock

According to the report, the top ten cities ranked by overnight visitor numbers included 1. Bangkok (22.78m) 2. Paris (19.10m) 3. London (19.09m) 4. Dubai (15.93m) 5. Singapore (14.67m) 6. Kuala Lumpur (13.79m) 7. New York (13.60m) 8. Istanbul (13.40m) 9. Tokyo (12.93m) and Antalya (12.41m). All of the top ten cities saw more international overnight visitors in 2018 than the prior year, with the exception of London, which decreased by almost 4%. London, Paris and Bangkok have been among the top three since 2010, with Bangkok as number one for six of the past seven years.

Paris came in second place for visitor numbers in 2018. Image: Chalermkiat Seedokmai

Another finding in the report is that while there has been significant movement in visitors to smaller cities, the top 10 has remained largely consistent. Cities in the Asia-Pacific region have seen the largest increase in international travellers since 2009, growing 9.4%, and Europe, which saw the second highest growth, was up 5.5 %. “In today’s interconnected world, travel has become an important part of how we work and how we live,” says Carlos Menendez, president of Enterprise Partnerships. “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.” 

London has been in the top three cities for visitor number for the past ten years. Image: GagliardiImages/Shutterstock

You can read the full report here.

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