#Bangkok Tops The World’s Most Visited Cities

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

#Bangkok Tops The World's Most Visited Cities

For the first time in three years, an Asian city is expected to welcome more tourists than any other city in the world.
Bangkok, Thailand will be the number one destination for tourists in 2013, according to MasterCard’s new Global Destination Cities Index.
It beat out major destinations like London, Paris, New York, and Dubai with an anticipated 15.98 million international arrivals in 2013.

The Thai capital tops this year’s Global Destination Cities Index just published by MasterCard, the first Asian city to do so. It had 15.98 million international visitors who spent at least one night. London, last year’s No. 1, was a close second with 15.96 international visitors. Other Asian and Middle Eastern cities are also leading the trend in air travel growth.
International visitors to Bangkok increased by 9.8 percent in 2012, the index says. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, one of the index’s authors, says that “Bangkok has been able to tap into what we call ‘origin cities,’” feeder cities for international visitors. Bangkok’s top five feeder cities are Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, its within easy reach of China’s fast-growing markets, and it remains a big draw for visitors from Europe and the Middle East.

Those international visitors spent, too. Although New York was No. 5 in terms of international visitor numbers, it was tops in revenue from those visitors, US$18.6 billion, followed by London with $16.3. Bangkok was in fourth place with $14.4 billion.

Hedrick-Wong and co-author Desmond Choog looked principally at “air travel connectivity,” the number and frequency of flights to international destinations, among 132 of the world’s leading cities. “Of the 12 destination cities showing the fastest increase,” their report says, “all are located east and south of Istanbul with the exception of Moscow.” The growth trend looks likely to continue in Asia and the Middle East. If current trends continue, Istanbul and Dubai will enter the top five in international visitors by 2016. “The world’s most important destination cities are benefiting from this powerful trend.”

The report calls international travel and cross-border spending “very resilient” despite the otherwise sluggish recovery since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

Apart from New York, the only city in the Americas to make the top 20 was Los Angeles, at No. 20.

One place seemingly bypassed by increased visitor traffic despite otherwise strong economic growth: “India is underrepresented among Asian cities,” says Hedrick-Wong. He attributes this to “underinvestment in infrastructure:” namely airport facilities in secondary and tertiary cities which make it difficult for international visitors to reach them. And once visitors arrive, he says, hotel infrastructure also lags behind other countries.

The report concludes that “The benefits of international tourism frequently exceed what can be computed in dollar and cents.” Visitors, and the money they spend on experiences they can’t get at home, are “powerful catalysts for nurturing and driving the growth of creative industries and urban cultures, while preserving the past. [They] affect the very quality and dynamism of urban culture itself.

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