Bangkok is dynamic capital city, which is slated to welcome a whopping 15.98 million overseas visitors this year, rocketed to the top of 2013’s Global Destination Cities Index report
Thailand’s dynamic capital city, which is slated to welcome a whopping 15.98 million overseas visitors this year, rocketed to the top of 2013’s Global Destination Cities Index report.
In addition to perennial tourist favorites like London, Paris, and New York, some up-and-coming destinations like Istanbul, Singapore and Dubai also ranked in the top 10.
The report is compiled annually by MasterCard and offers a snapshot of current trends in tourism by ranking cities according to scheduled flights, visitor arrivals and spending forecasts.
Dubai and Bangkok showed the strongest growth compared to last year, with Dubai increasing its arrival numbers by 10.9 percent and Bangkok rising by 9.8 percent. Istanbul was a close third, at 9.5 percent.
“Bangkok brought with it great momentum from last year,” said Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, the author of the report. “Its ascent to number one is not only a first for Asia, it’s emblematic of the rise of the global south which encompasses much of Africa and Asia as well as South America.”
Asian cities are skyrocketing in popularity due in no small part to the rising numbers of newly-affluent Chinese travelers, who accounted for one million arrivals in Bangkok in the first quarter of 2013 alone.
Forty two of the 132 cities ranked by the report were in Asia, including not only Bangkok and Singapore, but also Kuala Lumpur (#8), Hong Kong (#9), Seoul (#11), Shanghai (#14), Tokyo (#16), and Taipei (#18).
Bangkok narrowly edged London out of the top spot by a margin of just 20,000 visitors. London, last year’s top-rated city, is slated to see 15.96 million visitors in 2013.
The report offers a dose of good news to the global tourism industry, which seems to be slowly recovering from the global economic recession of the last few years. In fact, the report notes that international visitor arrivals grew almost twice as fast as world real GDP, and cross-border spending grew 2.3 times as fast.