The Mastercard Global Destinations City Index 2019 just released the 200 most visited cities around the world in 2018 with travel and growth projections for 2019. Mastercard’s report is based on the number of international overnight visitors these cities receive annually. Once again, Bangkok earned the #1 spot with 22.78 million visitors in 2018. Maybe it’s the delicious food, the friendly people or the warm weather, but Bangkok has held onto to this coveted spot for four years in a row. Following Bangkok, Mastercard’s list includes many of the same famous cities we’ve all come to know and love.
Here is the list of the top 10 most visited cities around the world in ascending order.
1.) Bangkok, Thailand
With tourism steadily and consistently growing each year in this bustling city, Bangkok has been the #1 travel destination around the world for six of the seven past years. Asia, as a whole, dominated Mastercard’s list claiming 10 of the top 20 spots.
2.) Paris, France
The jewel of Europe, Paris has been fighting a losing battle with Bangkok over the past several years for the top spot of the world’s most visited travel destinations. With 19.10 million visitors in 2018, it’s visitors increased by 9.7% from the year before but it was not enough to claim this year’s #1 spot.
3.) London, United Kingdom
Overtaken this year by Paris for the #2 spot, London actually saw a decrease in tourism numbers from the year before with a total of 19.09 million international overnight visitors in 2018.
4.) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
While Dubai ranked as the #1 city for spending, it holds the #4 spot on Mastercard’s most visited city list. Almost 16 million visitors traveled to this modern desert city in 2018.
This city-state draws millions of visitors each year who come to experience its luxury hotels, tropical climate and international food scene. A total of 14.67 millions tourists visited the city in 2018 and this number is expected to increase by 4% in 2019.
6.) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Twin Towers isn’t the only draw to this affluent city. A whopping 13.79 million visitors traveled to the city last year to experience its high end shopping and natural limestone caves.
7.) New York, USA
The only North American location in the top 10, New York City dominates the region as its prime tourist destination. 13.60 million visitors walked the streets of the US’s most well known city in 2018.
8.) Istanbul, Turkey
As one of the two Turkish cities in the top 10, Istanbul moved up a spot from 2017 to take the #8 spot on the list with 13.4 million visitors in 2018. The city’s many cultural influences and beautiful architecture are a major draw for tourists.
9.) Tokyo, Japan
Recently named the world’s safest city, the mecca of Tokyo saw 12.93 million visitors in 2018. With the publicity of the 2020 Olympics creating a buzz for this high tech city, projections show Tokyo’s tourism numbers increasing by a monumental 10.02% for 2019 and likely more for 2020.
10.) Antalya, Turkey
The second city in Turkey to claim a top 10 spot is Antalya. This seemingly sleepy resort city and its Turquoise Coast welcomed 12.41 million visitors in 2018.
While some travelers may follow the mantra “the road less traveled,” it seems that most of us still love visiting well known locales and experiencing for ourselves why they are so beloved. For Mastercard’s full list of most visited cities click on the following link.