With the global economy buzzing, the annual growth of international overnight visitors to the top 10 destination cities (except for Seoul) was up in 2017, the Mastercard Destination Cities Index shows.
The forecast for 2018 indicated across-the-board growth, with Istanbul expecting the largest uptick in visitors. The study analyzed 162 countries globally.
With roughly 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok remained in the top visitor spot and is unlikely to be beaten due to a strong projected growth of 9.6 percent for 2018.
The research found that not all cities were equal in terms of the amount visitors have spent in the local economy. Dubai continued to be the top-ranking destination city based on overnight visitor spending. Last year, the city’s 15.79 million visitors parted with a whopping $29.70 billion.
“Reaffirming its standing as a destination of choice for global travelers, Dubai has once again secured top rankings in Mastercard’s annual Global Destinations Cities Index. With its dynamic range of tourism, leisure, lifestyle, hospitality and business offerings, the emirate continues to attract visitors from across the globe…,” Girish Nanda, General Manager for UAE and Oman at Mastercard was cited as saying by Al Bawaba News.
The UAE capital was followed by a newcomer Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, where visitors spent some $18.45 billion or an average $135 a day.
London and Singapore came in third and the fourth, with visitors spending $17.45 billion and $17.02 billion respectively. London continued to dominate Europe in the shopping expenditure of international visitors. People spent more money in London than any other European city, representing 49 percent of visitors’ expenditure.
With efficient transport systems in place just 4.6 percent of budget was spent on transit in Singapore which is the second most visited city in Asia-Pacific.
While Bangkok is the most popular destination overall (with 20.05 million visitors last year) those visitors spent just around half of what was spent in Dubai. The city is forecast to enjoy an increase of a further 13.8 percent in visitor spending in 2018.
With 13.13 million travellers, New York bagged the sixth position in Mastercard’s index. It had an average length of stay of 8.3 nights and average spending per day of $147. In total, visitors splashed $16.10 billion there last year.
Romantic getaway destination Paris stood third with 17.44 million international visitors. It had an average length of stay of 2.5 nights and average spending of $301 per day. Visitor spending is forecast to increase by 16 percent in 2018.
Palma de Mallorca ($11.96 billion spent), Tokyo ($11.91 billion), and Phuket ($10.46 billion) were also among the top ten cities by visitor spending.
“International travel is crucial to many urban economies, enriching the lives of both residents and tourists. The bar is rising for cities to innovate to provide both a memorable and authentic experience,” said Miguel Gamiño Jr., executive vice president, global cities for Mastercard.