MasterCard's third annual Global Destination Cities Index has revealed that Bangkok tops the list of the world's favourite travel hotspots, with a projected 15.98 million visitors in 2013.
Thailand's capital enjoyed the highest international visitor numbers in 2013, with Paris, Singapore and New York also competing for the top spots – but this is the first year that an Asian city has reached the index's peak, with Bangkok edging out London, last year's winner, by 25,000 visitors.
The MasterCard Index is calculated by ranking cities by the number of their total international visitor arrivals, and examines cross-border spending by these visitors in the destination cities.
Interestingly, the index also highlights an encouraging trend for the Asia/Pacific region as 42 of the 132 cities ranked are Asian countries.
As Ann Cairns, President of International Markets at MasterCard Worldwide says: “With the rise of the Asia/Pacific region, this year's index reflects the rebalance that the globe is undergoing in large part because of the rise of emerging market.”
Indeed, Bangkok's Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Tourism Authority of Thailand, believes the nation's tourism slogan ‘Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You' is particularly apt given Bangkok's rise to the top of the rankings.
Furthermore, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and author of the report, puts Bangkok's success down to its momentum from 2012 and points to the rise of the Global South as being instrumental in the city's achievement.
From a business perspective, the findings represent yet another shot in the arm for Bangkok's hospitality, transport and food and beverage industry, as tourists from around the globe flock to Thailand's capital to sample its unique cultural offerings.