But where they visit, and where they drop the most cash, are different destinations
These hot travel destinations will keep adventures spicy in the years ahead.
Mastercard is out today with its annual Mastercard Destination Cities Index list, and the top global destinations — in terms of total travelers — over the course of 2016 include Bangkok (19.41 million visitors), London (19.06 million visitors), Paris (15.45 million visitors), and Dubai (14.87 million visitors).
In terms of cities where the tourists spent the most, Dubai came out on top, raking in $28.5 billion in tourist dollars last year. New York came in second, with $17.02 billion, and London came in third, with $16.09 billion in tourist income over the course of 2016.
The third aspect of Mastercard’s findings address the “cities of tomorrow,” which the credit card company foresees will be all over travelers’ itineraries in the years ahead. These cities include Osaka, Japan; Chengu, China; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Hanoi, Vietnam, among others, all of which have experienced explosive increases in tourism over the years from 2009 to 2016.
Mastercard’s Global 10 Top Destination Cities:
1. Bangkok – 19.41 million visitors (in 2016)
2. London – 19.06 million visitors
3. Paris – 15.45 million visitors
4. Dubai – 14.87 million visitors
5. Singapore – 13.11 million visitors
6. New York – 12.70 million visitors
7. Seoul – 12.39 million visitors
8. Kuala Lumpur – 11.28 million visitors
9. Tokyo – 11.15 million visitors
10. Istanbul – 9.16 million visitors
“I think maybe what this is telling us is that the places that used to be exotic are not anymore,” said Pavia Rosati, founder of digital travel magazine Fathom. “It’s no longer considered a crazy trip to go to Thailand,” she added, speaking of Bangkok’s place at the top of the list.
“We want our trips to be as meaningful as possible, and in some cases, that might mean going a little bit further afield to an unexpected place,” Rosati told Moneyish. “Bangkok is a really big hub, it’s easy to get there, they have a fantastic airport, and it’s a terrific gateway to the rest of Asia. It’s a major gateway to go to Bhutan, for instance.”
The same can be said of other cities on the list like London and Paris, both key waypoints to access the rest of Europe, and Dubai, which is a hub for travelers visiting the Middle East. “These are places that are seeing a ton of traffic, and are cities that have invested a ton in their airline industries in the last several years,” Rosati added. “This [research] is also the cumulative effect of these governments saying we are going to invest in the infrastructure to make getting there [easy].”
As far as the cities that will likely be attracting more visitors in the coming years, destinations like Chengdu, China, have long been regarded as leaders in growth and innovation. Previous research by the US-based Milken Institute pegged the city as China’s best economic hub, beating out economic powerhouse Shanghai and political capital Beijing.
And Abu Dhabi is another glittering example. In 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that it intended to invest $100 billion in growth and development over the course of five years, and had the greatest sovereign wealth of any city on earth. What’s more, the city plays host to a range of cultural and educational landmarks, like the French Louvre Museum’s outpost in the Middle East, and a New York University satellite campus where students can pursue four-year degrees.
Mastercard’s Destination Cities of Tomorrow:
4. Abu Dhabi
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