Bangkok world’s top tourist destination this year: MasterCard

SUCHAT SRITAMA | THE NATION September 23, 2016


BANGKOK is expected once again to rank as the world’s top tourist destination this year, but revenue will remain behind that of other cities, according to findings of a MasterCard survey released yesterday.

30295964-01_bigBased on MasterCard’s survey conducted during the first three months of this year, Bangkok is forecast to be the top-ranked destination city for overnight visitor arrivals, ahead of London, Paris, Dubai, New York, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Tokyo and Seoul.

MasterCard predicted that Bangkok would welcome 21.4 million visitors this year, London 19.8 million, Paris 18.0 million, Dubai 15.7 million and New York 12.7 million.

“The outstanding strength for Bangkok is a total experience for tourists that means foreigners love to visit the city because they can enjoy many activities and taste Thai foods and experience a unique culture,” Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic adviser at MasterCard, said yesterday.

MasterCard said the key metric was international visitors, in which Bangkok achieved the top position in the three-month survey. Dubai ranked first in the Middle East and Africa region (and fourth globally). London is the top-ranked in Europe in terms of international visitors, and second globally. Lima is top-ranked in Latin America. New York tops North America (ranked fifth globally).


In terms of visitor spending, also a critical metric, Dubai made a quantum leap to become No 1 in the world, based on a new estimate provided by the Dubai government. London ranked second in terms of visitor spend, followed by New York, Bangkok and Paris.

Since 2011, MasterCard’s surveys have found that Bangkok was the top destination except in 2014 because of political turmoil.

Yuwa said that despite Bangkok’s top ranking in terms of international visits, revenue would remain behind other cities including London, perhaps because of lower costs here.

He said that according to MasterCard’s findings, revenue for Bangkok would be US$14.8 billion (Bt513 billion) this year while London would earn $19.8 billion. Tourists’ average spending per trip for Bangkok is $691 and for London is $994.

Top five foreign sources of visitors to Bangkok are China, Japan, the United States, India and Germany.

Asia dominated this year’s survey in terms of fastest-growing destination cities. Osaka has shown the strongest growth in international visitors over the last seven years, followed by Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan province. Other fast-growing destinations from 2009-2016 are Abu Dhabi, Colombo, Tokyo, Riyadh, Taipei, Tehran and Xiamen.

MasterCard said London’s top ranking in Europe was because partly because it is a major feeder city for other destinations on the continent.

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