2013’s most visited city? It’s not N.Y., London or Paris
If current travel patterns persist throughout 2013, Bangkok will overtake London as the world’s most-visited international city.
That’s according to the?Global Destination Cities Index, a forecast issued this week by MasterCard. The 3-year-old index ranks cities in terms of international visitor arrivals of at least one overnight stay, and by the amount of money those visitors spend in the destination city.
While Bangkok beat out London by only a slim margin (15.98 million estimated international arrivals vs. 15.96 million), travel to the Thai capital was up more than 18% in 2011 and 2012 and it’s predicted to rise almost 10% this year, the report says. The city ranks No. 4 in cross-border spending.
The calculations are based, in part, on weekly flight frequency, passenger capacity and the number of occupied seats, or load factor, to 132 cities.
In terms of spending by international visitors, New York retains its top spot with an estimated $18.59 billion, followed by London, Paris, Bangkok, Singapore and Tokyo.
For the most part, it’s same-old, same-old in terms of where international travelers are headed. Other than Bangkok surpassing London, the top 20 global destinations remain the same. London is No. 2 and Paris remains in the No. 3 spot, though the report predicts it’ll see a slight dip in international arrivals this year.
Only two U.S. cities made the top 20: New York (at No. 5 with 11.5 million international visitors) and Los Angeles (at No. 20 with 4.8 million).
Other takeaways: In what the report terms the “rise of the global south,” 11 of the 12 cities with the greatest increase in air travel connectivity are in Asia and the Middle East.
Another top city in terms of the increase in international visitors: Dubai, with an increase of almost 11%.