The largest cities in the world attract business, culture and tourism, and grow in step with globalisation, which boosts both business travel and mass tourism. International visitor flows are very important for any city: they provide income for businesses directly involved in hospitality, generate employment and spark a process of cross-cultural pollination that enrich them and make them more dynamic, thereby further increasing their appeal and triggering a virtuous cycle that produces further growth.
The most visited cities in the world
In 2014, London will be the most visited city in the world, welcoming 18.6 million visitors over the year (+8%), ahead of Bangkok, which was first last year: the Thai capital will see an 11% fall in visitors, owing to the political turmoil in the country, and slips to second place, with 16.4 million visitors. Paris is in third, with growth of only 1.8%, but a total of 15.5 million visitors.
The figures come from MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index, the annual report produced by the credit card issuer that estimates travel flows (leisure and business) and their spending impact on 132 cities worldwide, based on official statistics from the individual countries, processed using specific forecast algorithms.
The ranking continues with Singapore in fourth place (12.4 million visitors), followed by Dubai with 11.9 million and a growth rate of 7.5%, which, if maintained, would see the UAE city overtake Singapore and Paris within five years. New York is sixth with 11.9 million visitors, closely pursued by Istanbul (11.6 million), which boasts the highest growth rate among the 20 most visited cities, with 17.5% more visitors than last year. The top ten is completed by Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul: with five cities among the top ten, Asia confirms its position as the new centre of world travel.