If you enjoy hefty, information laden reports from financial institutions then you already know MasterCard recently published the 2015 Global Destination Cities Index data. For everyone else, I want to do a quick rundown of what I consider the highlights of the report. Let’s start with the 10 most visited cities (requires one or more overnight stay).
Visitors (blue) are counted in millions and tourism revenue (red) is counted in billions USD. London took the top spot with 18.82 million visitors and Hong Kong took the 10 spot with 8.66 million. Five of the top 10 cities were located in Asia and three of the cities were located in Europe. The other two were Dubai, in the middle east, and New York City. I thought it was interesting that Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong all made the top 10 even though they are essentially city-states.
Bangkok was the only top 10 city where the average tourist spent less than $1,000 (hello backpackers!). Despite the heavily depreciated baht (Thailand’s currency), Bangkok saw the highest percentage increase in spend per visitor of all cities in the top 10 – over 11%.
Colombo, Sri Lanka was the fastest growing city of the 100+ reviewed by the Index. This was primarily attributed to the end of the civil war and the beautiful beaches. The report also congratulated Tokyo for impressive growth despite being the 11th most visited city.
In 2015, I counted as a visitor in Bangkok, New York City and Hong Kong. I have never “visited” Dubai, Istanbul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Seoul. Looks like I found five more marathons to run.