The World's 10 Most-Visited Cities (And What It Costs to Spend a Day There)
Not everyone wants to stay off the beaten path when they’re traveling. Sometimes, you want to see what all the fuss is about. If that's you, look no further than MasterCard's annual Global Destination Cities Index, a ranking of the 162 most-visited cities across the entire world. This year's list, spotted by Lonely Planet, also includes data on how much the average overnight visitor to places like Bangkok (this year's No. 1 destination) and London (No. 2) spends there per day of their trip.
Below are the top 10 most-visited destinations according to the rankings, including how many people visited for at least a night in 2017 and the average money they spent per day they were there. (Despite its origins, the rankings are based on tourism numbers, not data from MasterCard transactions.)
1. Bangkok: 20 million visitors a year ($173 per day)
2. London: 19.8 million visitors a year ($153 per day)
3. Paris: 17.4 million visitors a year ($301 per day)
4. Dubai: 15.8 million visitors a year ($537 per day)
5. Singapore: 13.9 million visitors a year ($286 per day)
6. New York: 13.1 million visitors a year ($147 per day)
7. Kuala Lumpur: 12.6 million visitors a year ($124 per day)
8. Tokyo: 11.9 million visitors a year ($154 per day)
9. Istanbul: 10.7 million visitors a year ($108 per day)
10. Seoul: 9.5 million visitors a year ($181 per day)
Five of the top destination cities are located in East Asia, two in the Middle East, two in Europe, and one in the United States. Cost doesn't seem to be a deciding factor in many visits—Paris, Dubai, and Singapore all make the top five, though they're also the most expensive cities among the top 10.
The fact that Asian destinations see so much visitor traffic isn't terribly surprising considering that East Asia has the fastest-growing tourism industry in the world. According to The Economist, a quarter of the world's tourists head to Asia and the Pacific each year. A good portion of the world's tourists come from within Asia, too—thanks in part to rising incomes, Chinese tourists in particular spend more money traveling the world than anyone else, and account for 21 percent of the world's outbound tourists.
If any of these destinations pique your interest, check out some of our travel-planning tips to help get your itinerary settled. And if your heart is set on heading to Dubai, by all means, check out our guide to putting together an affordable vacation.
[h/t Lonely Planet]