Asian Cities Dominate Top 10 Destinations for International Travel


Asian cities continue their domination of the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, making up half of the top 10 destinations for international travel. Bangkok has retained its position at number two and is catching up with top-ranked city, London.

Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong round off the top 10, taking seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th place respectively. Hong Kong is also the only city in Greater China that is among the top 10 most visited destinations.

Ranked 10th globally and fifth in Asia Pacific, Hong Kong is forecast to welcome 8.66 million international overnight visitors in 2015, a 3.5% increase from 2014 with 8.37 million visitors.

The city is also expected to see a 4.6% growth in international overnight visitor spend, from US$7.11 billion in 2014 to US$7.44 billion in 2015, placing it seventh in the region and 13th globally.

Seoul leads in Asia/Pacific in terms of international visitor spend, with an expected US$15.2 billion, followed by Singapore with US$14.7 billion and Bangkok with US$12.4 billion.

The top five feeder cities to Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 2015 are all in Asia Pacific.

Hong Kong is projected to move ahead of Singapore and Tokyo to become the largest feeder city for Bangkok this year, accounting for around 1.5 million visitors with total expenditure hitting US$1 billion.

London and Bangkok have topped the Index throughout the Index’s five year history. London is projected to receive 18.82 million international visitors in 2015, topping the chart again, slightly ahead of Bangkok with 18.24 million. Their rivalry is set to continue as Bangkok’s visitor numbers started to recover following civil unrest in 2014.

“Against a background of generally weak global economic growth and anemic pace of exports, a vibrant tourism sector is providing a powerful boost to income and job creation in Asia Pacific,” said Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Chief Economist and Chair of the Academic Advisory Council at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.

“As shown by the latest Index, Asian cities dominate among the leading destinations in the world in attracting international visitors arriving by air. Even more astonishing is that seven out of the world’s top 10 fastest growing destination cities are in Asia Pacific, which is a strong leading indicator of their continuing outstanding performance in the years to come.”

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