Which city will be the world’s most visited in 2013? Here’s a hint: It’s a place amply supplied with Buddhist temples, delicious street food, and legions of backpackers.
Bangkok, Thailand is the correct answer. According to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkok will see the largest number of international visitors—15.98 million, to be exact—in 2013. Following Bangkok are London, Paris, Singapore, and New York, as the top five most-visited cities on the planet, respectively.
MasterCard’s Cities Index predicts how popular a destination will be each year, based on public data such as flight schedules and capacity. Last year, London took the top spot. This time, Bangkok edged to the front of the pack with a slim margin of roughly 25,000 more international visitors than London.
This year’s numbers herald the red-hot growth of the tourism industry in the Asia/Pacific region. According to a press release from MasterCard, “Of the 132 cities ranked, 42 are Asian countries. Bangkok is followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, and five of the top 10 in 2013 are in the Greater China region.”
The Index also points to a solid tourism recovery in Tokyo, which is receiving a greater number of visitors (it’s number 16 on the list) after the destination saw tourism rates dive as a result of the earthquake and nuclear disaster in 2011.
While Asia gains momentum, North America’s rankings have stayed somewhat stagnant. The top 10 destinations in North America this year haven’t changed since 2012. They are: New York; Los Angeles; Miami; Toronto; Vancouver; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Montreal, and Boston.
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