Bangkok is still the world’s most visited city

Paris edges out London for second spot, while Singapore plays runner-up in Southeast Asia

Suvarnabhumi Airport. nhungboon/Shutterstock

With more than 22 million international overnight visitors last year, Bangkok remains the number one city on the latest annual Global Destination Cities Index.

Paris holds a distant second place on Mastercard’s 200-city ranking of tourist destinations, based on publicly available visitor volume and spend data from 2018. The French capital, with 19.10 million international overnight visitors, edges out last year’s first runner-up London, now demoted to third spot with 19.09 million visitors.

The chart-topper for six of the past seven years, Bangkok is also the third highest-ranking city in the world for tourist dollars spent. International overnight travelers shelled out USD20.03 billion last year in the Thai capital, following Dubai where visitors spent USD30.82 billion, averaging out at a staggering USD553 a day, and Makkah in Saudi Arabia with USD20.09 billion.

More: 6 of the best places to live, eat, shop and party in Bangkok

Singapore is the second most visited Southeast Asian destination, fifth worldwide. Approximately 14.67 million international overnight visitors came to the city-state in 2018, while neighbouring Kuala Lumpur hosted 13.79 million visitors for a sixth-place global ranking.

All top 10 cities on the index saw annual positive growth in international overnight visitors in 2018 except London, whose visitor numbers declined by four percent. London, Paris and Bangkok have been in the top three since 2010. Dubai currently sits in the fourth spot with 15.93 million visitors.

New York, another fixture in the top 10, recorded 13.6 million visitors in 2018. Although currently lodged at number nine, Tokyo is expected to have the largest uptick in visitors in 2019, with a growth forecast of 10.02 percent from last year’s 12.93 million.

Two Turkish cities round out the top 10, with 13.4 million people having toured Istanbul, the world’s eighth-most visited city, and 12.41 million visiting 10th placer Antalya.