Bangkok beats out London to be ‘world’s most visited city’

Bangkok’s popularity among overnight tourists is unbeatable this year. Pic: Tore Bustad/flickr

THIS year, Bangkok is projected to welcome 21.5 million overnight international visitors compared to last year’s 18.2 million, making it the world’s most visited city after London.

According to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, Bangkok came out top in a list of 132 destinations around the world.

SEE ALSO: Bangkok is most preferred holiday destination for Indians

Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, MasterCard chief economist, told Reuters, “It isn’t a flash in the pan. Bangkok is in a strong position to be the top destination city for a long time. There’s the value for money, especially for visitors coming through high-income countries.”

However, a recent spate of bombings and a rising number of reported Zika cases could have an impact on the country’s tourism industry at large.

SEE ALSO: Thailand fears tourism impact after rise in Zika cases

The study also found that Asian cities – Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Seoul – make up half of the global top ten.

Eric Schneider, MasterCard Advisors’ senior vice president for Asia-Pacific, said that a growing middle class in Asia is fuelling the growth of global tourism, especially that of intra-Asian travel.

He added, “Asia-Pacific has been the fastest growing region for international tourism since 2005, with underlying growth momentum expected to continue especially with the burgeoning middle class in southeast Asia, China and India seeking new travel experiences within the region.”

Here’s the full list of the world’s most visited cities:

  1. Bangkok
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Dubai
  5. New York
  6. Singapore
  7. Kuala Lumpur
  8. Istanbul
  9. Tokyo
  10. Seoul
Osaka has also grown in visitor arrivals, owing to an influx from Chinese and South Korean tourists. Pic: Kristoffer Trolle/flickr

Meanwhile, Osaka marked the strongest growth in international visitor arrival in the last seven years, with a jump of 24 percent. This is followed by Chengdu, Abu Dhabi, Colombo and Tokyo.

The findings predicted that Osaka’s rapid growth could be a result of the surge of inbound Chinese and South Korean tourists.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you can do in Osaka that won’t break the bank