Bangkok Takes Title in 2016 Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index

Report adds insights into purpose of travel and local spend

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BANGKOK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#gdci16–Bangkok is the top-ranked destination city by international overnight
visitor arrivals according to the annual Mastercard
Global Destinations Cities Index
released today.

The Index provides more than a ranking of the 132 most visited cities
around the world. It projects visitor volume and spend estimates for the
2016 calendar year, while delivering a deeper understanding of how
people travel and spend around the world. As cross-border travel and
spending continue to grow at a faster pace than the world GDP, the
world’s cities continue to be engines of broader economic growth.

According to the study, Bangkok is projected to receive 21.47 million
international overnight visitors in 2016, just ahead of second-ranked
London. Forecasted international overnight visitors to the rest of the
top 10 cities include:

• London – 19.88 million visitors


• Kuala Lumpur – 12.02 million visitors

• Paris – 18.03 million visitors

• Istanbul – 11.95 million visitors

• Dubai – 15.27 million visitors

• Tokyo – 11.70 million visitors

• New York – 12.75 million visitors

• Seoul – 10.20 million visitors

• Singapore – 12.11 million visitors


The biggest surprise in this year’s Index is Dubai’s jump to the top
rank based on international visitor spending of US$31.3 billion, far
exceeding the second ranked London estimated at US$19.8 billion.

“The way people travel and spend across borders indicates just how
interconnected and important the world’s cities are,” said Ann Cairns,
President of International Markets, Mastercard. “As the planning and
experience of the trip become increasingly important, Mastercard is
bringing all these pieces together seamlessly through innovation and

Fastest Growing Destination Cities Ranking

The difference between the global top 10 and the fastest growing top 10
destination cities suggests that Asia Pacific and the Middle East and
Africa have become increasingly important to the global economic
landscape. Many cities measured on the Index have increasing growth
trajectories, indicating the growing interest in both visiting and
living in cities.

Osaka has shown the strongest growth in international visitors (24.15
percent) over the last seven years. Other cities that made the
forecasted top 10 fastest growing cities include:

• Chengdu – 20.14 percent


• Taipei – 14.53 percent

• Abu Dhabi – 19.81 percent

• Xi’an – 14.20 percent

• Colombo – 19.57 percent

• Tehran – 12.98 percent

• Tokyo – 18.48 percent

• Xiamen – 12.93 percent

• Riyadh – 16.45 percent


New Insights into Purpose of Travel and Local Spend

For the first time, the Index explores whether visitors travel for
business or leisure as well as insights into how international visitors
spend, including dining, lodging and shopping. The 2016 Index shows that
among the top 20 cities, more people travel internationally for leisure,
except to Shanghai. Visitors to the top 20 overwhelmingly spent more
while shopping, as opposed to dining, except in Europe, where meals
captured greater share of spend in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Istanbul,
Milan, Paris, Prague and Vienna.

Identifying Regional Trends

The Index provides insight into top destination cities in each region,

  • Asia Pacific – The region dominates both the global top 10
    (five cities) and Top 10 fastest growing destination cities (seven
  • Europe – London, ranked second globally and first in the
    region, is the top feeder city in terms of visitor and spending volume
    for all other cities that round out the top European destinations:
    Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona and Amsterdam.
  • Latin America – Lima is both the top destination and fastest
    growing city in the region, with 4.03 million visitors (ranked 32nd
    globally) and a growth rate of 9.9 percent (ranked 15th
    globally). However, the rankings are very different in terms of
    overnight visitor spend; Punta Cana leads the region with US$2.95
    billion followed by Mexico City (US$2.27 billion).
  • Middle East and Africa – Dubai is the top ranked destination
    city in the region (ranked fourth globally), while Abu Dhabi is the
    fastest growing in the region with a growth rate of 19.81 percent.
    This marks the United Arab Emirates as both the most visited and
    fastest growing country in the region for the second year in a row.
  • North America – New York, ranked fifth globally, is the top
    destination city in the region. It significantly surpasses the rest of
    the region in overnight visitor spend at US$18.25 billion. Nearly 90
    percent of New York’s international visitors are from outside North
    America, led by London, Paris, Sao Paulo, Toronto and Beijing.

Mastercard understands the significant role that cities play as centers
of commerce, reflected in efforts to deliver technologies that provide
greater efficiencies and convenience for governments and people. One
example is the broad adoption of contactless payments by transit systems
like London and Chicago. The insights from this report can also help
airlines, hotels and other merchants create smarter, more relevant and
customized experiences for their customers.

Download the full report here:

About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms
of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals
and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination
cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2016.

Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor
arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination
cities, using custom-made algorithms; paying special attention to
eliminate the hub effects for destination cities such as Singapore,
Dubai, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard
volumes or transactional data.

About Mastercard

is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the
world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers,
financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more
than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions
make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running
a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more
efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews,
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Mastercard Communications:
Ryan Erenhouse,