Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai Round Out Top Five, As Tourism Gets a Boost
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London tops the list as the destination of choice for international travellers for the third time in four years, according to the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index released.
Now in its fourth year, the index provides a ranking of the 132 most travelled cities from around the world.
Rounding out the top five cities are Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai, which are benefitting from a surge in international travel fuelled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel. The index also indicates this surge will continue, even with more technology and collaboration tools available to businesses.
According to the study, London is projected to receive 18.7 million international visitors in 2014 – 300,000 more visitors than the 2013 top destination city Bangkok. Forecasted visitors to the rest of the top five cities include:
- Bangkok – 18.37 million
- Paris – 15.57 million visitors
- Singapore – 12.47 million visitors
- Dubai – 11.95 million visitors
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “With over eighteen million visitors this year there are also eighteen million reasons why London is set to become the most visited city on the planet. Our city perfectly combines history, heritage, arts and culture, not to mention vast amounts of green space and major events that are the envy of the world.”
“The index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel,” said Ann Cairns, president of International Markets, MasterCard. “The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs. For London in particular, being recognised once again for its place as the top destination will further boost this city’s ability to continue to be a global leader, whether it is hosting events that shine a spotlight on this city to draw in further investment or inspiring those within to drive economic growth. And, that’s where we come in. Every day, we help consumers and businesses maximise all of the travel opportunities available to them, including a safe and secure way to pay no matter where they are across the globe.”
Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) commented on the report; “I am delighted to see MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index return for a 4th year. It’s fascinating to see once again that the top 20 cities all have one thing in common – great aviation connectivity. This year the commercial aviation industry celebrates its centenary year and as we move forward it is clear that aviation connectivity will continue to be the key to future prosperity, not just for the established aviation hubs like London, Dubai, and Bangkok, but also emerging centres such as one of this year’s new entrants, Lima. I expect the increasing links between developing markets to bring forward even more new entrants in the coming years, and I’m looking forward to more and more passengers accessing the benefits of flight in the coming decade and beyond.”
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Identifying Priceless Trends
Across the globe, a few key trends stood out, including:
- Asia/Pacific – The region is home to half of the top ten destination cities, with Seoul achieving this status for the first time.
- Europe – This year, 67 percent of London’s international visitors are from other European cities – a strong indication of Europe’s strengthening economy.
- Latin America – Lima built on its position as 2013’s fastest growing city, taking the top spot on the Latin America line-up for the first time.
- Middle East and Africa – Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the global top ten, on track to overtake Paris and Singapore within five years.
- North America – The region has been fairly consistent since the creation of the index, with Chicago forecasted to be the fastest growing American city this year.