Asian cities dominate list of most visited global destinations, Singapore ranks 7th

Asian cities dominated the list of top ten global destinations index, with Singapore being the 7th most visited city ahead of Seoul and Hong Kong but lagging way behind second-placed Bangkok. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Asian cities dominated the list of top ten global destinations index, with Singapore being the 7th most visited city ahead of Seoul and Hong Kong but lagging way behind second-placed Bangkok. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Asian cities dominated the list of top ten global destinations index, with Singapore being the 7th most visited city ahead of Seoul and Hong Kong but lagging way behind second-placed Bangkok.

The annual index released Thursday ranked Singapore second in the list of projected visitor arrivals in the region with 11.88 million people expected to arrive in 2015, a marginal increase of 3 per cent from last year. They are expected to spend a projected US$14.7 billion.

Singapore is also ranked tenth in the list of most resilient, where Istanbul takes the top spot with the most diversified base of international visitors. Resilience is marked by how many feeder cities account for destination city's visitors.

"Singapore has much to offer.. from world-class events and entertainment to gourmet culinary experiences and luxurious hotel stays," said Deborah Heng, general manager, Singapore for MasterCard. "For Singapore to remain attractive, the key is to ensure that we continue to push the envelope with innovation and partnerships that draw tourists to stay longer and spend in Singapore."

The MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, takes into account travel patterns, importance of cities as homes, destinations and engines of growth, to provide a ranking of the 132 most visited cities from around the world.

London has topped the Index, throughout its five year history, as the most visited city in the world, with 18.84 million international overnight visitors. It has been consistently followed by Bangkok, which ranked a close second this time with 18.24 million. Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, New York formed the middle order of the top ten which was rounded off by Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong taking eighth, ninth and tenth place respectively.

Seoul took the top spot for the highest total visitor spend in the region.

Singapore has consistently been ranked in the top ten in the world destination index, but was pushed one spot down after Istanbul jumped to no. 5 this year.

The city state appeals most to visitors in the region, with Singapore's top five feeder cities all originating from Asia: Jakarta, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila and Shanghai. In terms of outbound travel, Singapore-based travelers make up Kuala Lumpur's biggest group of visitors, and Bangkok's second biggest.

Meanwhile, seven Asian cities also featured in the top ten fastest growing list by visitor number, with Sri Lanka's capital Colombo leading the pack. China's Chengdu, Taiwan capital Taipei, Japan's Tokyo and Osaka and Vietnam's Ho Chi Min City also made the list.

rupsk@sph.com.sg