Bangkok was ranked the No.1 destination city worldwide for a second consecutive year
Bangkok was ranked the No.1 destination city worldwide for a second consecutive year, followed closely by London, according to the seventh annual Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI 2017) released yesterday.
Bangkok received 19.4 million international overnight visitors in 2016, which is forecast to grow 4% to 20.2 million in 2017, according to GDCI 2017.
Bangkok was also ranked fifth in terms of international overnight visitor spending, which totalled US$14.1 billion (469 billion baht).
Ranking the world's 132 top destination cities, the index analyses visitor volume and spending for the 2016 calendar year and provides a forecast for annual growth, insights on the fastest-growing destination cities, and a deeper understanding of why people travel and how they spend around the world.
Leisure was the main purpose for visitors travelling to Bangkok (88.6%), significantly higher than for business (11.4%), while the top three categories for expenditure were shopping (22.9%), accommodation (22.6%) and local services (21.5%).
The latest GDCI also provides new data on a destination's top five feeder countries, as opposed to previous indices which provided feeder cities instead.
For Bangkok, the top five feeder countries are China (34.3%), Japan (7.1%), South Korea (4.3%), India (4.1%) and the UK (3.8%).
Asia-Pacific has the most cities in the top 10 and it beat other regions in term of spending. Visitors to Asian cities in the top 10 spent $91.2 billion in 2016, outpacing Europe ($74.7 billion) and North America ($55 billion).
"As the fastest-growing region for international tourism, Asia-Pacific's travel sector will no doubt continue to serve as a key source of in-market economic growth and development," said Eric Schneider, senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific of Mastercard Advisors.
"The rise of leisure and business travel across the region presents a vital imperative for governments and private stakeholders to invest in smart networks and infrastructures that provide seamless experiences for residents, tourists and business travellers. Cities that do so will realise their potential as true global destinations, and reap the economic benefits of increased visitors and greater spending," he said in a release.
According to the index, London came a close second to Bangkok with 19.1 million visitors, while Singapore (13.1 million visitors) inched past New York (12.7 million visitors) into fifth position for the first time in three years. Seoul (12.4 million visitors) leapfrogged three spots into seventh place.
Overall, forecasts are for continued growth in 2017 except for New York, with Tokyo expecting the largest increase (12.2%).