Its official. London has lost its crown as the world’s top-ranked destination city. Having held on to the top spot for two years, that accolade has now gone to Bangkok. The re-ranking is included in an annual report produced by Mastercard, whose Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index has just been published.
The index covers things such as visitor volume and spend estimates for each calendar year. For 2016, it predicts that Bangkok will receive 21.47 million international overnight visitors, just pipping London, which is predicted to attract 19.88m and Paris, who’ll claim bronze position by saying ‘bienvenue’ to 18.03m.
Dubai, now lying in fourth place with 15.27m has done a good job in overhauling New York, which drops to fifth place, saying ‘howdy’ to just 12.75m.
It’s a stunning turnaround for the city whose international airport was closed to visitors only a few years ago due to political instability and public unrest. Its tourism department has worked hard since then to welcome back tourists of all types, be they back packers – for whom Bangkok is their natural first port of call as they start their South East Asian ‘pilgrimages’, top end luxury seekers, beach lovers or value for money holiday makers.
A combination of a cheap currency, an abundance of accommodation (that caters to all sized wallets) and easy accessibility from just about anywhere in the world has seen Bangkok grab the top spot this year.
Building all those shopping malls clearly paid off for Dubai as it jumped into the top ranked city for spending. A whopping US$31.3billion was rung up there beating London into second place, whose international visitors only managed to hand over a miserly US$19.8billion. And most of that in Harrods, no doubt.
The Index makes a nod at up and coming cities too. Not surprisingly, the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa have become increasingly important to the global economic landscape. So watch out for Osaka, which showed the strongest growth in international visitors over the last seven years, together with Chengdu, Abu Dhabi, Colombo, and Tokyo rounding out the top five.
You can check out 2016’s top ten most popular cities to visit and read the full report from Mastercard here.