Bangkok has overtaken London as the globe’s top travel destination in the latest annual ranking from Mastercard.
The global payments and technology firm said tourism in the Thai capital has provided a huge boost for the country in the past year – visitor numbers are up 9.6%.
A 2014 coup dented exports and consumer confidence yet tourism thrived – even bomb blasts in Phuket and Hua Hin in August had little impact on the sector.
The 2016 rankings included 132 cities, with Bangkok – the ‘city of angels’ – being the most visited in the Index of Mastercard Global Destination Cities, beating London, Paris and Dubai, among a host of other major attractions.
Bangkok in a strong position
Mastercard Chief Economist Hedrick-Wong told Reuters that Bangkok is in a “strong position” to be the top destination for some time, adding that visitors can get great value for money.
A record 33 million people are expected to visit Thailand this year, driven by a rise in the number of Chinese tourists.
Bangkok is anticipated to see 21.47 million international visitors pass through the city before the year is out, ahead of the 19.88 million that are set to visit London.
The city is renowned for its cuisine, with restaurants and street food vendors to be found on nearly every street corner.
Main tourist spending locations
Paris was third in the ranking – which focused on projected visitor volumes and spending estimates for the current year – with the French capital set to welcome just over 18 million tourists in 2016.
Istanbul dropped from fifth to eighth on the list, with the Turkish city noting growth of only 0.3% and a vastly reduced tourism spend when compared to other cities of just $7.5 billion.
That compares with Dubai, where international visitor spend was highest, at a projected $31.3 billion and London where tourists will spend $19.8 billion.
Undoubtedly rocked by the attempted coup in July, Istanbul was the only city in the top ten not to have a visitor spend of more than $10 billion.
East Asian shopping experiences
Mastercard also revealed that Osaka, in Japan, has seen significant overall growth in tourist numbers in the seven years.
It was one of several East Asian cities that saw travellers allocate a significant portion of their budget to shopping – those in Seoul, Osaka, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai all put aside anything between 28.6% and 58.7% of their money for this purpose.
Those in London kept 46.7% of their budgets for shopping – the only exception in Europe and North America where spending was so high.
If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your Long Haul Travel Insurance in advance.
Date Created: 23/09/2016