Bangkok has been named as the world’s second most-visited city.
According to MasterCard’s latest Global Destination Cities Index, the Thai capital is expected to welcome 18.24 million visitors in 2015. Only London (18.82m) will attract more.
And latest list highlighted the popularity of Asia Pacific, with five of the region’s cities featuring in the global top 10. After London and Bangkok, Paris (16.06m visitors) was third, followed by Dubai (14.26m), Istanbul (12.56m), New York (12.27m), Singapore (11.88m), Kuala Lumpur (11.12m), Seoul (10.35m) and Hong Kong (8.66m).
“Tourism is becoming an increasingly important source of income and employment for many Asian countries. This reflects the growing appeal of Asia as it continues to develop, led by the fast emerging ASEAN economies, China and India,” explained Matthew Driver, MasterCard’s president for Southeast Asia.
“As countries compete for tourist receipts, and seek to improve the visitor experience, it will be key for governments and tourist authorities to continue to invest in smarter city infrastructure while preserving and protecting the heritage.
“In this way, Asia will be able to maintain and build dynamic, exciting, global cities, which will fast become brands in their own right, pulling people to the region,” he added.
Asia Pacific’s emergence was also apparent in the list of fastest growing tourism cities. The region accounted for seven of the top 10 cities, in terms of arrivals growth, led by Colombo (+21.1%) and Chengdu (+20.7%). Abu Dhabi (+20.4%) was third, followed by Osaka (+19.8%), Riyadh (+18.0%), Xi’an (+16.2%), Taipei (+14.9%), Tokyo (+14.6%), Lima (+13.9%) and Ho Chi Minh City (+12.9%).
The report added that the increasing arrivals to Asia’s cities are being driven by traffic from within the region. The top five feeder cities to Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 2015 are all in Asia Pacific.